The curtain went up on the 2016 PIAA Baseball and Softball postseason Monday as 24 district teams began the battle for state gold. Well, 22 of them did as both the Plum and Blackhawk baseball teams are on hold fore their Round One game until Tuesday. It was a so-so start for district teams as the WPIAL went 5-5 in baseball and 6-6 in softball. Here are the summaries from the eleven First Round state playoff games heard here Monday on MSA Sports.
A special thanks to Sean Meyers, Johnny Lee, Steve Nagler, Jake Holmes, Lou Rood, James Dotson, Mike Azadian, Todd Brown, Jason Tennant, Mark Uriah and Bob Gregg for their help on these recaps.
PIAA BASEBALL Class AAAA First Round:
Hempfield Spartans 5 – Norwin Knights 1
Stunning the undefeated Plum Mustangs to claim the Quad-A WPIAL Championship last Wednesday was unquestionably the pinnacle of the Norwin Cinderella season, but the Knights’ campaign ended in less than storybook fashion, as they fell to section rival Hempfield Area for the third time this year. The Spartans took an early lead, and never relinquished it, en route to a 5-1 win in the PIAA first round at Greater Latrobe High School. In the triumph, the Spartans plated a run in the top of the first, when Isaiah DiAndreth drew a one-out walk, advanced two bases on a throwing error by Norwin starting pitcher Ryan Weaver, and scored on an RBI groundout from Jordan Fiedor. The Spartans (18-7) added to their edge in the second inning, as Mitch Golden picked up a two-out single, and scored on a triple that was smoked off the bat of Justin Wright. The Knights trimmed their deficit in the bottom of the fourth, as they scored their only run courtesy of a balk by Hempfield’s pitcher Matt Tarabek. Aside from that miscue, though, the Hempfield hurler was impressive, as he yielded just three hits in five innings. Weaver worked into the fourth frame for Norwin (16-8), and was replaced by Chad Coles, one of the heroes of the Knights’ title run. Coles was impressive, again, until the Spartans’ bats finally solved him in the latter stages of the contest. Hempfield added a key insurance run in the sixth when Golden tripled and Wright doubled to pull ahead 3-1, and the Spartans scored twice more in the seventh frame, as well. Tarabek gave way to Zayne Zalich, who made quick work of the Knights over the final two stanzas. While the history-making season concluded for the Knights, the Spartans advance to the quarterfinals, where they await the winner of Plum and Erie McDowell.
PIAA BASEBALL Class AAA First Round:
Bellefonte Red Raiders 2 – Chartiers Valley Colts 1
Monday afternoon at Fox Chapel High School, the AAA District 6 and District 7 Champions met in the first round off the PIAA Baseball Playoffs. In the end, it would prove to be a fun bus ride back to Centre County as the surprising Bellefonte Red Raiders from District 6 continued on their post season roll and defeated the Chartiers Valley Colts by the score of 2-1. Chartiers Valley, coming off an impressive win in the District 7 Championship over the Blackhawk Cougars, looked like they would continue where they left off last week. In the bottom of the first, Dante Panucci hit a towering drive off the left field fence for a one out triple off Bellefonte starter Dom Mellot. He would soon score the first run of the game as Cole Horew would drive Panucci in with a base hit of his own and the Colts would lead 1-0. Joe Sibeto would single behind Horew and the Colts looked to have a big inning early on. However, DH Tristen Zimmer would line into an inning ending double play and Bellefonte would escape this early threat by Chartiers Valley. Bellefonte would tie the game up in the top of the second inning. After Chartiers Valley starter Ross Wilkerson retired the first two Red Raiders, a walk to Garret Rieter and singles by Dylan Dietrich and Colton Byrd would allow Bellefonte to even the score 1 a piece. Dom Mellot would retire Chartiers Valley in the second and then give way to Dom Masullo who would keep Chartiers Valley off the board for the rest of the game. Masullo and Wilkerson were both outstanding till the 6th Inning. The Red Raiders were able to manufacture a run in the top of the inning. Tanner Helms led off by getting hit with a pitch, took second on a fine sacrifice bunt by Cade Fortney and scored on a single by Storm Smith. Chartiers Valley was able to respond in the bottom of the inning, but despite 3 walks to load the bases by Masullo, he was able to get out of the jam by getting Steve Alauzen looking to end the threat. Cole Horew came in to pitch for Chartiers Valley in the seventh and held serve, but Masullo, after giving up a 2 out walk to Brady Gulakowski,, was able to retire Dante Panucci on a deep fly ball to centerfield to end the game. Bellefonte will move on to play Erie Cathedral Prep later on in the week. Chartiers Valley finishes a fantastic year as the District 7 (WPIAL) Champion for the first time in school history
PIAA BASEBALL Class AA First Round:
Riverside Panthers 2 – Martinsburg Central Maroon Dragons 1
Riverside’s Vinnie Loccisano was nearly perfect in mastering the Martinsburg Central Dragons this afternoon at Fox Chapel HS in leading his team to an opening-round PIAA playoff victory. Loccisano only gave up one hit and didn’t walk any Dragon hitters, and faced just one hitter more than the minimum all day long. Loccisano struck out six. Loccisano got all the support he’d need in the 4th inning as the Panthers would score both of their runs. Jason Dambach and Kolby Wolf led off the inning with solid singles. After two fly outs, Dambach would take 3rd base and Kolby Wolf stole 2nd base. Braden Bentel would deliver the big, 2-out single that would score both Dambach and Wolf. Dragon starter, Cordell Bowser, pitched well enough to win, giving up 2 runs on five hits in the five innings he pitched. Jacob Muthler had the only Dragons’ hit. With the victory, Riverside will now take on the winner of Moniteau/Girard on Thursday afternoon, time and location to be determined.
PIAA BASEBALL Class A First Round:
Serra Catholic Eagles 4 – Portage Mustangs 3
WPIAL Class A Champion, Serra Catholic defeated District 6 runner-up Portage by a final score of 4-3 on Monday afternoon at Greater Latrobe High School. In the top of the second, Portage took an early lead. Nathan Teno led off with a double and Ben Herman reached on an error in the next at-bat for the Mustangs. After two strikeouts, Nate Piontka surrendered a two-RBI double to his mound opponent Luke Dividock which made the score 2-0. That score held until the fourth when Serra Catholic tied the game after three hits and opportunistic baserunning. Ryan Anselmino scored on a wild pitch and Ben Davis was credited with an RBI after a throwing error. Davis came on in relief in the fifth and shut down the Mustangs until the seventh when Dividock crushed a triple to right center which scored catcher Tom Randazzo which forced the Eagles back against the wall. In the bottom half, Jason Cerniglia capped off his 4-4 day with an RBI single which plated Anselmino and set the stage for Noah Kinser with runners on the corners and one out. Kinser showed bunt for the first pitch and missed, the second pitch Kinser made contact and scored Zach Bowen from third and put Serra Catholic in to the PIAA quarterfinals. Dividock suffered the loss for Portage while Davis came away with the win. The Eagles await their opponent set for Thursday afternoon.
PIAA SOFTBALL Class AAAA First Round:
Hempfield Spartans 4 – Latrobe Wildcats 0
Hempfield, the 1st seed from District 7, scored two runs in the bottom of the 4th and added insurance runs in the 5th and 6th to defeat Latrobe, District 7 #3 seed, 4-0 behind the 5-hit shutout pitching of Morgan Ryan in PIAA AAAA Softball 1st round playoff action at Cal U ‘s Lilley Field. It was a pitcher’s duel through the first 3 ½ innings as Ryan held Latrobe to 3 hits, 1 walk and 5 runners left on base heading into the bottom of the 4th. Meredith Carr and Ashley Pagliei held Hempfield to just 1 hit, 1 walk and 2 runners left on base through the first 3 innings. The bottom of the 4th looked like more of the same for Latrobe until Madi Stoner walked with 2 outs. Autumn Beasley came in as a courtesy runner for the Spartan catcher and advanced to 2nd base on Taylor Blevin’s single to center, her second of the game. Kaylee Bloom then crushed a ball to the left center field gap going all the way to the fence and scoring the two base runners to give Hempfield a 2-0 lead. Latrobe Head Coach brought in her third pitcher in the game as sophomore R. ebecca Tatone took to the circle. But after hitting the first batter she faced and walking the second, Co ach Pinto brought back the original starter Carr who was able to get a ground out to end the inning. After Ryan set down the Wildcats 1-2-3 in the top of the 5th, Alexa Pastor led off the bottom of the inning with a single to left and advanced to 2nd on a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt by Jenna Osikowicz. Pastor scored when Ryan ripped a single to left and Hempfield upped its lead to 3-0. Ryan again set Latrobe down in order in the 6th and the Spartans added another insurance run when Jordan Sterlin reached on fielding error on the pitcher and scored on Ali Belgiovane’s RBI double to the left center field gap making it 4-0. Latrobe threatened in the top of the 7th following Aimee Siecinski’s 1 out walk and Nicole Dunlop’s double to left center put runners on 2nd and 3rd with one down. Ryan was able to get Jess Tatone to ground out to Belgiovane at 1st. When Siecinski tried to score from 3rd on the play, Belgiovane fired a strike to Stoner who applied the tag for a game ending double play. Morgan Ryan picks up the win for Hempfield while Ashley Pagliei is charged with the loss. Hempfield swept the season series from their WPIAL Section 1 AAAA rivals, winning both regular season matchups and in the PIAA Playoffs. Latrobe finishes the season at 17-7 and loses only Seniors Reilly McCracken and Jess Tatone from the squad. Hempfield moves to 22-2 on the year and into the PIAA AAAA Quarterfinals where they will take on the winner of the Baldwin-Erie McDowell 1st round game.
PIAA SOFTBALL Class AAA First Round:
Bellefonte Red Raiders 3 – Mount Pleasant Vikings 2
In a PIAA first round battle between a pair of district champions in Class AAA with talented young pitching in the circle, it was District 6 champion Bellefonte who squeaked out the victory over District 7 champion Mount Pleasant by a final score of 3-2. The Lady Raiders jumped early, as junior Tara Baney took the second pitch of the game deep over the right field fence to give Bellefonte the early 1-0 lead. That lead would hold until the third inning, when Ava Gnibus reached on a hard grounder that bounced off of the third baseman’s glove. She would score later in the inning on a Meadow Uncapher two-out single to knot the game at 1-1. Bellefonte would fight back in the fifth with four hits, including doubles by Taylore Maurer, Jordan Rockey, and Alexis Wetzler, to retake a 3-1 lead. The Lady Viking defense came up big in the inning with a double play on a sacrifice bunt attempt, limiting the damage to just two runs in the frame. That double play was the third in as many innings for the Mount Pleasant defense. They then cut the lead in half in the most bizarre of fashions in the bottom of the sixth inning. Nikki Klejka drilled a one-out double and moved to third on a single. Maddie Kromer laid down a safety squeeze, which was fielded by third baseman Rianna Trexler. She pump-faked to first, getting Klejka to bite and get caught in a rundown. When applying the tag, however, the ball fell to the ground and Klejka was able to scamper in time to make the score 3-2. Tara Baney would shut down the Lady Vikings from there, retiring the final five batters in order to end the game. Baney led the way for Bellefonte, going 2-3 with the HR and 2 RBI. She gave up only two unearned runs on five hits, while striking out six and walking two. Uncapher took the loss for Mount Pleasant (13-6), scattering three runs on nine hits, walking three and striking out three. She also led offensively, going 2-3 with an RBI. Bellefonte advances to the quarterfinals on Thursday to take on Yough, an 11-1 victory over D-10 champion General McLane.
West Allegheny Indians 3 – Punxsutawney Chucks 2
Amy Nolte singled home the eventual game-winning run and turned two outstanding defensive plays, leading WPIAL runner-up West Allegheny to a 3-2 win over District 9 champion Punxsutawney in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs Monday at Brockway High School. Ashley Seamon took a perfect game two outs into the fifth inning, but needed some big help in the seventh to hold on to the win. West Allegheny (20-2) didn’t have a hit until Mackenzie Partyka’s one-out double one-hopped the fence in rightcenter field in the fourth. Jillian Weber ran for her and scored on back-to-back wild pitches thrown by Kylee Lingenfelter. Nolte, just a sophomore, turned in her first stellar play in the field, diving to snare Lingenfelter’s bloop base hit attempt in the bottom of the inning. The Indians used another wild pitch to add a run in the sixth. Lexi Cogis, one of only two seniors on the WA roster, doubled to right-center. Partyka was intentionally walked. Carli Eger, the other senior, lofted a fly ball to center, advancing the runners one base. Cogis scored on an 0-2 count wild pitch, putting the Indians up, 2-0. Punxsutawney (13-7) got back-to-back two out singles in the sixth but could not score. Taylor Cummings led off the WA seventh with her second base hit of the game and was sacrificed to second. After a strikeout, Nolte lifted a soft line drive over the shortstop, scoring Cummings, giving the Indians a 3-0 lead. Alli Ishman singled up the middle and was doubled to third by Sam Satterlee. Morgan Adamson’s base hit scored Kate Horner who ran for Ishman. Morgan Van Leer singled to left, scoring Satterlee. An error put the tying run at third and winning run at second with nobody out. Mallory Cameron grounded to second. Nolte faked a throw to first, enticing Adamson to break for home. The throw home was perfect with Brooke Wilson putting on the tag for the first out with runners at first and second. Brayden Woodrow grounded to Partyka who threw to Nolte covering at second for a force out, putting runners at the corners with two down. Lingenfelter’s grounder to short was bobbled, then corralled by Cummings who beat Woodrow to the bag at second to end the threat and the game. Seamon got the complete-game win, allowing two runs on seven hits, striking out four and did not walk a batter. Four of the seven hits came in succession in the seventh. All of them came after two outs in the fifth. Lingenfelter was charged with three runs on five hits, one intentional walk and six strikeouts. But the sophomore uncorked four wild pitches, three of them leading to WA runs. West Allegheny will take on Donegal in Thursday’s semifinals. The District 3 champions topped Nueva Esperanza, 15-0, in the opening round.
PIAA SOFTBALL Class AA First Round:
Ellwood City Wolverines 10 – Bald Eagle Eagles 0
At North Allegheny High School in AA PIAA State softball playoff first round action. The WPIAL district seven champion Ellwood City Wolverines remain undefeated with a 10-0 victory in five innings over the Bald Eagle Area Eagles. The Wolverines scored 2 runs in the bottom of the first. A walk, and an error followed by an Ariana Garroway 2 RBI double gave them the 2-0 lead. Behind the pitching of Skyla Greco things would be easy for Ellwood City. She had minimal trouble thru the first 3 innings stranding 3 runners on 2 hits and a walk. The Wolverines would plate 6 runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning to take a commanding 9 run lead. They would send 10 girls to the plate, the first 7 would reach base, on 5 hits a walk, and a hit batter. The first 6 batters would all score. All of the runs would score with no outs. Camille Maine had the big hit doubling in 2 Runs. Ellwood would score their tenth run and walk off the win in the 5th inning. Reagan Mittler led off with a double, then Natalia Greco would double. A run scoring error off the bat of Brooke Magill would plate the winning run. Greco would get the win getting 12 of the last 14 batters she would face. She went 5 innings., striking out 7, walking 1, giving up 2 hits, and allowing only 4 runners to reach base. Anna Ferrucci scored 3 runs for the Wolverines, Garroway would have 2 RBI going 2 for 3, Maine went 2 for 3 with 2 doubles, and Mittler 2 for 3 to pace the Ellwood City attack. The Wolverines remain undefeated at 21-0 and will face the winner of Moniteau and Everett on Thursday June 9th at a sit and time to be determined. The Eagles finish their season as the runner up in District 6 with a 15-6 record
Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties 6 – Steel Valey Ironmen 5 in 8 Innings
Philipsburg-Osceola oercame a five-run deficit to stun Steel Valley 6-5 in eight innings at Beard Field at Nittany Lion Softball Park in the first round of the PIAA Double-A softball playoffs. Steel Valley had everything going their way, scoring the first five runs of the game, scoring a run in the first, and two a piece in both the third and fourth innings. Morgan Farrah paced the offense for Steel Valley, recording three hits. It looked like the district six champion Mounties would be eliminated in the first round, as they were down 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but Haylee Hayward and Chelsey Henry hit back-to-back home runs to tie the game. P-O won it in the eighth on a walk-off RBI double by Hayward which scored Maggie Peck for the game-winner. The Mounties improve to 22-2 on the season, and advance to the PIAA Quarterfinals where they will take on South Park, while Steel Valley saw their season end with a record of 16-7.
PIAA SOFTBALL Class A First Round:
West Greene Pioneers 12 – Clarion Bobcats 2
Offensive explosions have become synonymous with West Greene softball this season. In the first round of the PIAA playoffs, it took a while for the explosion to happen, but once it did, the Pioneers used a 9-run fifth inning to induce the mercy rule in a 12-2 win over Clarion at California University’s Lilley Field on Monday. The Bobcats put West Greene in unfamiliar territory with 2 runs in the top of the first inning. Sadie Rudesyle drove in Keanna Over from third base with a single and then later, Johnna Rapp would score on a double steal. It was the first time the Pioneers have trailed in the postseason and only the fifth game all year in which they trailed at some point. The lead for Clarion was short-lived however as West Greene tied it in the bottom of the first after Madison Lampe drove in her twin sister McKenna with a triple and then scored on a Madison Renner groundout. Clarion stranded a runner at third in the second inning and that was the last time the Bobcats would have a runner in scoring position. The Pioneers stranded a couple in the second, and scored a run in the third on a Renner RBI single to take a 3-2 lead. That was still the score heading into the bottom of the fifth and then the explosion happened. Madison Lampe led off with a double. Lampe moved up to third on a Renner flyout and scored on a passed ball. Bailey Bennington then started the real rally when she was hit by a pitch. Kaitlyn Rizor singled and Lexie Mooney had a bunt single to load the bases when the Bobcats failed to cover first base. After a strikeout, Mackenzie Carpenter drove in two with a single and Savannah Pettit followed with a 2-run double to extend the lead to 8-2. McKenna Lampe singled in Pettit and then Madison Lampe stepped to the plate for the second time in the inning and blasted one over the fence in left-center to put the Pioneers up 11-2. Renner followed with a solo homerun to center to walk-off with a 12-2 win with the mercy rule. The Pioneers had 11 batters in the fifth inning and scored their 9 runs on 8 hits. For the game, Madison Lampe was just a single shy of the cycle, going 3-for-3 plus a walk. She scored 4 runs and drove in 3. In addition to the game winning homerun, Renner got the win inside the circle, limiting Clarion to the 2 runs on just 3 hits. She struck out 6 and walked 3. The loss went to Rudesyle, who struck out 3 and walked 3. West Greene advances to the PIAA Quarterfinals to face Saegertown on Thursday.
Conemaugh Valley Blue Jays 12 – Chartiers-Houston Buccaneers 7
Conemaugh Valley erased an early 3-2 Chartiers Houston lead with a nine-run bottom of the third, on their way to a 12-7 win and a spot in the PIAA Softball quarter-finals. The Blue Jays sent 13 batters to the plate in the third. Melanie Lint singled and tripled in the inning, driving in three runs. Tessa Gunsby added a two-run double, and also had three RBIs in the game. Lint, The Blue Jays starting pitcher, picked up the complete game victory, striking out nine. The Buccaneers scored four runs in the top of the fifth , to cut the deficit to four, but Conemaugh Valley added a single run in their half of the fifth. Macie Kesneck and Kasey Scears each had a hit and two runs scored. Scears also added an RBI for the Bucs (14-9) who saw their season come to an end.