2022 WPIAL Class 2A baseball championship preview: Serra Catholic vs. Neshannock

Monday, May 30, 2022 | 3:39 PM

WPIAL Class 2A baseball championship

1-Serra Catholic (22-0) vs. 7-Neshannock (17-6)

1:30 p.m. Tuesday at Wild Things Park, Washington

On the air: Trib HSSN (video)

Road to the finals

Serra CatholicThrough their first 21 games of the season, the top-seeded Eagles were undefeated and had outscored their opponents by an average of 10.9 runs per game. That included a 9-4 victory over No. 16 Beth-Center in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs and a 13-3 win over No. 8 Laurel in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, things got interesting. Serra Catholic needed a one-out RBI single by outfielder Max Rocco in the bottom of the seventh to come away with a 6-5 victory over No. 5 Riverside.

NeshannockEach of the past two seasons, Serra Catholic was knocked out of the WPIAL playoffs by Seton LaSalle. This year, Neshannock made sure it wouldn’t happen again. Sebastian Coiro threw a complete-game two-hitter and the seventh-seeded Lancers knocked out the second-seeded Rebels, 3-1, in the quarterfinals. Before that, Neshannock battered No. 10 Bentworth, 11-5. After it, they knocked off No. 6 Burgettstown in 12 innings, 5-3.

Secret to their success

Serra Catholic — In the playoffs, Serra Catholic’s pitching has been good and its offense has been great. Zach Karp pitched in every game and allowed five earned runs in 12.2 innings, striking out a dozen. Standout sophomore shortstop Zach Black is 5 for 8 with a home run and five RBIs in three games. Senior third baseman Matt Bisceglia is 5 for 10 with six RBIs.

Neshannock — The Lancers have outperformed their seed thanks to some dominant pitching performances and a deep lineup with no easy outs. Coiro pitched in the quarterfinals and semifinals, allowing a total of two earned runs in 13 innings, striking out 17 and walking not a soul. Among a handful of offensive standouts, freshman Jake Rynd has gone 5 for 11 and junior outfielder Luke Glies is 5 for 12 with four RBIs.

Championship factoids

Serra Catholic — It’s hard to call a program long suffering when it has won a WPIAL championship as recently as 2016, beating Greensburg Central Catholic, 6-3, to claim gold, but the term might apply to Serra Catholic. The Eagles have had so many near-misses in recent years. They lost in the semifinals in 2021 and 2017 and in the finals in 2018 and 2019. Serra Catholic also won back-to-back WPIAL titles in 2009-10.

Neshannock — Much like Serra Catholic, Neshannock finds itself in a championship drought only if graded on a curve based on the high standards the program set in the recent past. Neshannock has won six WPIAL baseball titles with the first coming in 1991. The Lancers won in 2002 and 2004 and went back to back in 2011-12 before claiming their most recent title in 2015. The only active schools with more WPIAL championships are North Allegheny (eight) and McKeesport (seven).

Jonathan Bombulie is the TribLive assistant sports editor. A Greensburg native, he was a hockey reporter for two decades, covering the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for 17 seasons before joining the Trib in 2015 and covering the Penguins for four seasons, including Stanley Cup championships in 2016-17. He can be reached at jbombulie@triblive.com.

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