By BEN OVIATT
UNIVERSITY PARK - Elk County Catholic lost the PIAA Class A State Baseball Championship in heartbreaking fashion Friday, 2-1 in extra innings at Penn State's Medlar Field.
After a lengthy rain delay, the Crusaders battled District 1 Champion Devon Prep through eight and a half innings before an Elk County Catholic throwing error allowed Chris Bauers to score the game winner while attempting to steal third.
Devon Prep was held to one official hit in the win.
ECC starter Brandon Schlimm struck out 11 batters over seven innings of work, walking three and hitting two. Schlimm - a St. Bonaventure signee - threw a complete game shutout in the PIAA semifinals on Monday, leaving him with a maximum of seven innings left for Friday's game.
The Crusaders' lone run came in the top of the fourth when Jonathan Dippold beat out an infield single to score Ivan Wortman, who was hit by a pitch to start the inning.
A walk and two hit batters loaded the bases for Devon Prep in the bottom of the sixth and a fielder's choice tied the game at one. ECC failed to score in the top of the ninth despite having runners on first and second with only one out.
It was the second consecutive year a District 9 team appeared in the Class A final after Johnsonburg took first in the state in 2013.