Greensburg Central Catholic baseball looks to extend dramatic postseason

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Friday, June 8, 2018 | 10:04 PM


Like a roller coaster ride at Kennywood, the past three games for Greensburg Central Catholic have had their ups and downs.

But at the end, the Centurions ride has ended with a one-run victory.

Greensburg Central Catholic coach Dennis Reist said he wouldn't mind if this ride continued for another week.

If that's the case, the Centurions would be playing in the PIAA Class A championship game at Penn State.

The task for the underdog Centurions (16-6), like in the previous two PIAA games, will be to defeat a district champion, this time WPIAL champ Vincentian Academy (18-4).

The semifinal game will be 4 p.m. Monday at Wild Things Park in Washington.

GCC defeated rival Jeannette, 8-7, to qualify for the state tournament and owns wins against District 9 champion DuBois Central Catholic, 4-3, and District 6 winner Homer-Center, 12-11, in nine innings in the PIAA playoffs.

The Centurions rallied from a five-run deficit in the top of the seventh inning to beat Homer-Center, aided by six walks, a hit batsman and a single.

Bryce Kurpiel doubled home the winning run in the ninth, and Ethan Bailey picked up the win in relief.

“It's been a lot of fun,” Reist said. “These kids are keeping me young. Patience is part of the reason for our success. That's something they learned from playing in close games last year.”

GCC is getting contributions throughout the lineup.

A late-season player switch strengthened the defense and gave Reist more options.

The move was shifting Thomas Voelker from left field to third base and inserting Ben LaCarte into the outfield.

Voelker has made some great plays at third base, with a diving catch to rob a DuBois Central Catholic player a single and an impressive tag on a runner trying to advance in the same game.

He also has become a solid hitter. He is hitting .377 with a team-high eight doubles. He also has scored 25 runs and has 25 RBIs.

Kurpiel is GCC's top hitter with a .585 batting average, 28 runs scored and 31 hits and 23 RBIs. Pitcher Antonio Cavallo is hitting .455 with a team-high 26 RBIs. He's 5-2 with a 4.48 ERA.

“Thomas is a football player and wasn't sure he wanted to play baseball,” Reist said. “But we got him to come out, and I believe he's having a lot of fun. The entire team is having a lot of fun.”

Vincentian has it all, according to Reist: good hitting and solid pitching. The Royals have posted two 10-0 victories — over Jamestown and Oswayo Valley — in the state playoffs.

They are led by Kyler Fedko, who is hitting .648 with eight home runs and 39 RBIs. He has scored 42 runs and has 35 hits, including a team-high 13 doubles.

Senior Stephen Turzai is 7-0 with a 1.04 ERA. Senior Nathan Christian is 4-0 with a 3.32 ERA.

“Baseball is a funny game,” Reist said. “If we can keep it close, you have a chance. That's all we're asking for.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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