Jordan Choman started it all off with a no-hitter against Lake-Lehman. Tony Molitoris shut down division champ Meyers.
Choman pitched a three-hitter with eight strikeouts to knock off undefeated Lakeland in the district title game. Molitoris needed just 60 pitches to shut out Tamaqua in the PIAA opener.
Holy Redeemer’s two senior pitchers just kept finding ways to top each other this postseason.
Both of them combined to outlast Oley Valley in the state quarterfinals — Choman got the win and Molitoris picked up the save. Molitoris then delivered what coach Chris Ritsick called the game of his life in the semifinals, shutting out powerhouse Loyalsock.
In reaching the PIAA Class 3A championship, Choman and Molitoris share 2017 Times Leader Baseball Player of the Year honors in helping the Royals to the best season in their young history.
And though the campaign ended with a loss to Central out of District 6 in the state final, no one affiliated with the program will forget the four-week show these pitchers put on this spring.
“Me and (Tony) growing up, since the age of 8 we’ve played with each other,” Choman said after the final game. “So for us to go back and forth like that, especially during the playoffs, it was just fun to see us one-up each other in a friendly way.”
And they gave each other a boost. Look no further than the first week of states when Molitoris’ 60-pitch effort kept him eligible to step in as a reliever three days later to close out the second round.
After dusting off Tamaqua, Molitoris gave a little smile when asked about any “competition” between the two.
“I guess a little bit,” Molitoris said. “We joke around about it. It’s a good feeling. I’m OK with him winning and me right behind him.”
It started in the regular season as Molitoris turned in a sparkling 0.90 ERA in 31 innings, striking out 33 and walking just seven. Choman struck out 20 in 23.2 innings to go with a 2.07 ERA.
In the playoffs, the duo recorded a 1.40 ERA over 45 innings, going 6-1 with five complete games, 32 strikeouts and 10 walks against some top competition.
“To go through the district playoffs and the state playoffs, coming into the (championship) with a one-something ERA, was fun to watch,” Ritsick said. “And they earned it. A great senior class, and they deserved all of it.”
Molitoris and Choman were backed by fellow seniors Tim Cavanaugh, Cade Flanley and Robb McClay as everyday starters who provided plenty of key hits and big defensive plays to make all of those pitching numbers stand up.
Juniors Tom Borum, Mykolas Bozentka, Tucker Ell and Sean Wills were just as important to the lineup at every step, helping deliver district gold and state silver.
“This team means the world to me,” Choman said. “There’s nothing I can say except thank you to them. They mean everything to me, and I’ll never forget these memories.”