**Note: This article originally published on GameTimePA.com**
HORSHAM — One of the unique things about high school baseball is the fact a single player can take control of the game both on the mound and at the plate. Hatboro-Horsham’s Eric Lane did just that Monday, as he carried his team to a 6-1 win over Haverford in the first round of the District 1-AAAA playoffs.
Despite giving up a first inning run, Eric Lane the pitcher didn’t allow another hit until the sixth inning. In all, Lane pitched six innings of 1-run ball, allowing four hits and striking out eight while walking just two.
“It was kind of the Eric Lane show for a little bit today,” Hatboro manager Pete Moore said. “He really took the team on his back, and that really doesn’t surprise me. He had a playoff game last year where we lost but he hit a home run in that game.”
Speaking of playoff home runs, Eric Lane the hitter pulled a two-out, three-run home run over the right field fence in the fifth to give his team a lead they wouldn’t give back. The senior went 2-for-4 on the day with the homer, three RBIs and a run scored.
“We had first and second, two outs. Two guys had really good at bats, Alex Kleidon had like an 8-pitch at bat, so that was huge,” Lane said. “I just needed to get them home, so I was looking for a fastball to hit and I got one.’
Despite the swing that gave the Hatters the lead, Moore thought the important frame in his team’s win occurred during Haverford’s run-scoring inning.
“The key for us, I thought, was that first inning,” Moore said. “When they got one run on the board and we kept it to a straight number, didn’t let them get a crooked number, and kept the game in reach. With the way that Eric was throwing we had a lot of confidence he was going to hold them down.’
Holding down Hatboro for the first 4 2/3 of the game was Haverford pitcher Scott McKenna. He went six innings as well, allowing three earned runs on nine hits.
Even though the Fords season ended Monday, they had nothing to hang their heads about after the game.
“We came off a three win total last year in our league for a 10-win total (this year),” Haverford manager Paul Bogosian said. “We were seven games better this year than we were last year…I’m proud of these guys. The seniors are a great group of leaders that we’re going to miss.’
The lone run for Haverford was knocked in by Nick Cerelli, who scored Kevin Maloney in the first after he hit a one-out double.
“It’s a shame, the way we ended it, but I gotta look at the whole picture and the picture is if you told me we were gonna be here I would have told you to get your head examined.’
Hatboro’s three insurance runs in the sixth came unearned off McKenna, but Hatboro put a motto they’ve had all year long into practice to force those runs home.
“There’s some guys that wouldn’t get all of a ball like that in that situation and be disappointed,” Moore said. ‘˜’˜Alex (Kleidon) didn’t do that. As soon as he put the ball in play he was off and he busted it down the line, putting pressure on them to make a play. We’ve talked all year about respecting 90 and that paid off there…really love the way our guys ran the bases all year and it paid off for us today.’
Up next for the 13th-seeded Hatters is the 4th-seeded North Penn Knights on Wednesday, in what may be the best matchup of the second round. Each team protected their home field with a win during the regular season — the rubber match will be at North Penn.
“This team has really looked forward to the opportunity to make a run in the playoffs,” Moore said. “We’re looking forward to getting another crack at North Penn on Wednesday. We split the season series and, in a way, it’s a shame we have to meet up this early in the tournament. But we know one of our two schools is going to be playing to get into the state tournament on Friday.
“They’re a very well-coached and well-rested team at this point, and we’re a very confident team as well. It’s gonna be a battle that we’re really looking forward to.”
One of Hatboro’s many seniors wasn’t as diplomatic.
“We have to come out and be ready on Wednesday,’ Lane said. ‘˜But they should be scared to play us.”
District 1-AAAA Playoffs – Round 1
Hatboro-Horsham 6, Haverford 1
Haverford — 100 000 0 — 1 4 1
Hatboro-Horsham — 000 033 x — 6 9 1
WP: Eric Lane — 6 IP 4H 1R 1ER 2BB 8SO — 96 pitches
LP: Scott McKenna — 6 IP 9H 6R 3ER 3BB 4SO — 96 pitches
S: Ryan Murphy — 1 IP 0H 0R 0ER 0BB 0K
Hatboro-Horsham: Lane 2-4, 3 RBI, R; Crookham 2-3, 2 R, BB; Blyler 2-3, R; Thomas 1-3, R; Barron 2-3
Haverford: Cerelli 1-3, RBI; Maloney 1-2, R, BB