In the long term, Palisades’ defeat in Monday’s opening-round PIAA Class 3A state baseball game will be a significant line in their athletic history as being their first appearance in the tournament.
In the short term, it has the potential to be the first step in the elevation of the program.
The Pirates, who were coming off their first District 11 title, dropped an 11-3 decision to District Two runner-up Scranton Prep at Saucon Valley High School Monday afternoon.
Palisades finished with an overall record of 16-9, and the Pirates will graduate only three seniors, Jon De Nato and pitchers Will Guthier and Bela Pavlinsky, from the unit.
DeNato, who also was a member of the school’s district champion football squad, was grateful for both seasons. He went 2-for-4 against Scranton Prep, and he finished the year with a .449 average.
“It was a great year for me in sports,” said DeNato. “Baseball was my cherry on top. It’s not how I wanted to end the season, but I couldn’t have asked for more.
“Over the years, we have battled with many obstacles, but we also have pushed through them. I have an amazing team and coaches. They will be missed, but I know they will do well in the years to come.”
Head coach Gary Koenig watched his team fall behind 2-1 after one inning, and later 5-1 after four innings. He knew it might not be a good day for his team and junior starter Jaden Newton. The Pirates left five runners in scoring position.
“I really didn’t know what to expect because I knew very little of them (Scranton Prep),” said Koenig. “I was kind of surprised about how well they hit Jaden as well as they did.
“I thought Jaden threw well. He felt like he didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled through. If we hit and have Jaden on the mound, we should be able to win. We put the ball in play, and we didn’t have the timely hits.”
Newton, who sported a 10-1 record before the contest, also didn’t downplay Scranton Prep’s assault.
“It just wasn’t our day, and that team was very good,” said Newton, who went 4.2 innings and allowed seven runs. “They just handed it to us.
“I felt confident coming into today, but they got a couple of hits and kept going on like a rollercoaster. At times, I felt like I had stuff clicking, but it fell apart.”