Pine-Richland Sweeps Past North Allegheny for First 6-A Baseball Title
Thursday, June 1, 2017 | 11:02 PM
For the third time this year, the Pine Richland Rams defeated the North Allegheny Tigers. This win came at Wild Things Park and resulted in their 5th WPIAL title and the first-ever 6-A WPIAL Baseball Championship. The Rams got a sterling pitching performance by Ryan Okuda, who got the win the first two times these two teams met as well.
Both Okuda and his mound opponent, Bobby Brown, cruised through the first three innings, putting up zeros and rendering their opposing hitters ineffective early on. It was the Tigers that broke onto the scoreboard first in the top-half of the 4th inning. With one out, Okuda hit Alex Mesaros with a pitch. Bobby Brown then singled to left field. After a fielders choice which put runners at 1st and 3rd with two outs, Andrew Turzai singled home Mesaros to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
But, the lead was short-lived as the Rams would tie the score, 1-1, in the bottom half of the 4th. With one out, Jacob Maggi doubled to left-center field. After a Josh Johnson single put runners at 1st and 3rd, Alex Lamondola would ground into a fielders choice which scored Maggi. The Tigers were able to get out of further trouble after Caiden Wood was able to turn a 5-3 double-play off the bat of Jeremy Burnstein to end the threat.
The Rams would take their first lead an inning later when Craig Kunkel would triple to lead off the 5th inning. Kunkel’s pinch runner, Nick Montenari, would come around to score on a one-out double off the bat of leadoff hitter, Joey Bolick, giving the Rams the 2-1 lead.
Pine Richland would score what would be a very important insurance run in the bottom of the 6th inning. Maggi led off the inning with an infield single and went to 2B on the throwing error by Mesaros. Due to an injury, Maggi left the game for pinch-runner Jacob Weinberg, who advance to 3B on a groundout. Lamendola was then intentionally walked to put runners at 1st and 3rd. Lamendola took off for 2nd, trying to steal and when Tigers’ catcher, Alec Whipkey faked the throw to 2B, he was able to throw behind Weinberg and pick him off. However, Burnstein would come up with the big, two-out hit when he drove home Lamendola with a 2-out single into right field.
North Allegheny wouldn’t give up without a fight in the top of the 7th inning. With two outs, Jack Lehew drove a ball over the leftfield wall to cut the lead to 3-2. Caiden Wood then followed with a single but Okuda was able to get pinch hitter, Juliano Capretta to strike out to end the game.
Okuda pitched a complete game 5-hitter and struck out eight Tigers for the win. Bobby Brown, the tough-luck loser pitched six innings, giving up 8 hits and struck out two. Pine Richland, with their WPIAL Championship will take on the 3rd place team from District 3 in a game that will take place at Latrobe High School (6p). North Allegheny will face the District 6 champion in a game that will be played at Bald Eagle High School (4p).
North Allegheny Tigers : 0 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 0 – 0 – 1 = 2 5 1 4
Pine Richland Rams : 0 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 1 – 1 – X = 3 8 1 5
WP: Ryan Okuna (7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K)
LP: Bobby Brown (6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)