In a contest that lasted 2 hours, 58 minutes, Conestoga, committing one error compared to the five it had in the district final, earned its first state crown. In 1985, the squad reached the semifinals before bowing to District 4's Montoursville, 4-3, at Shippensburg University.
Spring-Ford was denied a title for the second time in four seasons. In 2008, the Rams reached Altoona, the former championship site, before bowing to District 7's Canon-McMillan, 10-2.
Down by 3-1, Spring-Ford forced extra innings with one run in the sixth and one in the seventh. In the seventh, Ricky Gorrell evened things with an RBI single to left field that brought Patrick Medley (leadoff single up the middle) home from second base.
Gorrell and James Hoff had opened the seventh with back-to-back singles. After Gorrell was wiped out on a 5-2 fielder's choice, Cody Clarke singled home courtesy runner Randy Margolis.
Conestoga's Austin Little, a senior lefthander, lasted 52/3 innings. He scattered six singles, fanned two, and walked one. Mike Cowell picked up the win in relief.
Spring-Ford starter Mike Oczypok, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound senior righthander, came in with a 14-0 record. In seven innings, he gave up 10 hits, struck out six, and walked walk.
Conestoga (22-4) went ahead, 3-1, in the fifth. Designated hitter Jake Carr, who produced two doubles and three RBIs in a semifinal rout of District 7 titlist Seneca Valley, singled to left to drive in Ryan Richter, who had tripled to right-center.
The Central League cochampions could have added a few more runs in the fifth. With two outs, after Tom Richter was plunked by a pitch, Shea Rosadino singled to load the bases. Oczypok escaped the jam by fanning Luke Mogle on a 3-2 pitch.
The Rams (25-5) threatened in the fifth, with runners on first and second and no outs. But after Little notched his first strikeout of the evening, shortstop Richter snagged Tom Grablewski's flare and stepped on second base to double up Sean Larkin (leadoff single).
In the Pioneers' first at-bat, Scott Williams drove home Brian Cizek (walk, moved to second on a passed ball) with a single down the third-base line, and Brendan O'Reilly knocked in Margolis with a double in the same direction.
Conestoga 2001000003 - 6161
Spring-Ford 0100011000 - 3111
WP: Matt Cowell. LP: Sean Larkin. 2B: C-Brendan O'Reilly. 3B: C-O'Reilly, Ryan Richter.
Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019 or firstname.lastname@example.org.