Matt Barnes celebrates after Langley won the City League baseball championship yesterday at PNC Park, beating Allderdice in the final. Barnes improved to 10-2.
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Not many local baseball fans can say they have fond memories of PNC Park.
Matt Barnes is an exception. Barnes, a senior right-hander, led Langley to a 5-1 victory against Allderdice yesterday for the City League championship at PNC Park.
Barnes scattered five hits and struck out 11 to lead Langley (17-5) to its second City League championship in the past four years.He was the Mustangs' starting third baseman when Langley claimed the City title at the same venue in his freshman year.
"To play in a Major League Baseball stadium is something that we all dream about," Barnes said. "I knew I had to bring my 'A' game because there's something about playing at PNC Park which is going to bring out the best in everybody."
The win avenged Langley's semifinal loss to Allderdice (12-5) last year when Barnes lost, 1-0, despite pitching a one-hitter. Barnes said revenge was not among his motivating factors.
"I just tried to stay focused on this game," Barnes said. "As a team captain, I feel it's always been my job to lead this team to a City championship. I just tried to do my best, and fortunately it came out successful for us."
Langley scored a run in each of the final five innings, gradually pulling away against freshman pitcher J.R. Leonardi, who was victimized by four Allderdice errors. Two of the four runs he gave up in six innings were unearned.
Langley led, 1-0, in the third when Brian Sites hit a book-rule double that bounced over the left-field wall. Courtesy runner Chuck Morris scored on a double by Doug Ruckert that was lost in the sun by Allderdice left fielder Brian Tobin.
The Dragons tied it in the bottom of the third. Tyler Graham hit a one-out triple to left-center field and scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Leonardi.
Allderdice did not mount a serious offensive threat for the remainder of the game. The bottom five players in the batting order were 0 for 15.
The only player who reached base in the lower half of the order was Miller McCormick, who did so on a dropped third strike. But the fourth inning ended when McCormick was caught trying to steal second.
Langley got the decisive run in the fourth. Sites reached base on a dropped third strike. Running again for Sites, Morris scored after Luke Barnes, Matt's brother, singled and Graham made an error at second base when he could not handle Jonathan Mock's hot smash. That gave Langley a 2-1 lead, and it was all the Mustangs needed.
"I felt if I could hold them to three or four runs, our team would score enough to win," Barnes said.
Langley defeated Allderdice, 22-2, in three innings earlier in the season. Mustangs coach Leo Rauterkus was not expecting another one-sided victory, but was confident his team would prevail.
"That first game gave us some confidence to beat a good team like Allderdice, but I was expecting a tight ballgame."