Top Stories of 2014: #2 - Loyalsock Township Repeats as PIAA Class AA Champion

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

With a 5-1 win over Central in the PIAA class AA championship game, Loyalsock Township (23-5) became the sixth team to repeat as state champion since the PIAA moved to a four-classification system in 2005 ('05-'06: Christopher Dock Mennonite in A and Riverside in AA; '08-'09: Camp Hill in A; '11-'12: Riverside again in AA; '12-'13: West York Area in AAA). After going 22-3 on their way to capturing the 2013 crown, however, the sailing wasn't as smooth for the Lancers the second time around.

Loyalsock DogpileThe 2014 squad started the season just 4-3 and lost co-ace pitcher Luke Glavin, a Duke recruit, to injury. After a second defeat at the hands of eventual PHAC Division II champion Hughesville, LT found itself sitting at 8-5 and in the unexpected position of playing the role of hunter, instead of hunted. As one might expect from a championship-caliber club, the Lancers responded, ripping off fifteen straight victories to end the season, predominantly on the strength of a Glavin-less pitching staff that allowed zero or one run in ten of those wins. Kyle Datres was a workhorse for coach Jeremy Eck during the four-game state tournament run, as the North Carolina recruit pitched 26 of the Lancers 28 innings during that stretch.

The obvious question becomes: can they do it again? Perhaps expecting another title in 2015, especially given the cruel nature of single-elimination tournaments, is unfair (just ask West York Area, which, as the 1-seed in the District III class AAA tournament, drew one of the top pitchers in the state in the first round and saw its chance at a three-peat go poof at the hands of the 16-seed). However, Loyalsock is set up about as well as any team could expect to be. The Lancers graduated only four seniors off the 2014 club, and will return three ACC-bound players (Glavin, Datres, and Wake Forest commit Jimmy Webb), two others headed to Shippensburg (Tommy Baggett and Evan Moore), plus 1st-team PHAC Division II all-star Joey Balawajder and sophomore ace-in-waiting Andrew Malone. Assuming the role of the hunted once again, this program has a legitimate chance to make history next spring.

Top Stories of 2014

#3 - Depth of 2015 Class Shown in Early Signing Period
#4 - Banner Year for the Pioneer Athletic Conference
#5 - La Salle's Joe Parisi Retires on Top
#6 - Five PA Players Selected in MLB First-Year Player Draft
#7 - WPIAL Title Drought Continues
#8 - Acceleration of the Recruiting Process
#9 - Duffy One(-Title)-and-Done at Pope John Paul II
#10 - Sub-.500 Seneca Valley Makes Run to State Semifinals
#11 - PBR PA Moves Office to Manheim
#12 - PBR Recruiting Essentials Unveiled

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