2023 TribLive HSSN Baseball All-Stars

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 | 9:40 PM

This was a historic spring for WPIAL baseball teams, starting with Riverside’s undefeated run to a state championship, something no other WPIAL team had ever accomplished.

But the Panthers weren’t the only ones celebrating a milestone win. Among the others, Mt. Lebanon won consecutive WPIAL titles for the first time in school history, and Shaler celebrated its first state championship in more than 40 years.

Those accomplishments and more are recognized here in the TribLive HSSN Terrific 10 baseball all-stars.

Terrific 10

David Shields

Mt. Lebanon, so, P/OF

Shields threw two no-hitters this season, his biggest being in the WPIAL finals as the Blue Devils won a second consecutive Class 6A title. The left-hander went 5-2 with three complete games, two shutouts, a 0.94 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 67 innings. He limited opponents to 32 hits and 16 walks for a 0.71 WHIP. The Miami (Fla.) commit also batted .338.

Jack Natili

Peters Township, sr., C

Natili was one of the top sluggers in the WPIAL. The Rutgers recruit led the league with nine home runs in 22 games this season. He batted .451 with eight doubles, 29 RBIs and a 1.508 OPS. Seven times he drove in multiple runs in a game, including a season-high six RBIs in one win. Defensively, he had a .990 fielding percentage with only one error. The Indians reached the WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinals.

Gio LoNero

Seton LaSalle, jr., SS/P

LoNero, whose first name is DiMaggio, was the leading hitter on a high-scoring WPIAL championship team that totaled 210 runs in 26 games. The North Alabama commit batted .565 with 30 runs, 31 RBIs and 17 extra-base hits for a 1.591 OPS. The Rebels went 17-5-1 and won the WPIAL Class 2A title. LoNero earned the final five outs on the mound in the finals. He had a 0.43 ERA in 16 1/3 innings.

Christian Lucarelli

Riverside, so., P

Lucarelli played a leading role in Riverside becoming the first WPIAL baseball team to win a state title with an undefeated record. The right-hander went 8-0 with a 1.15 ERA and was the winning pitcher in both the WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A championship games. He struck out 119 batters in 60 2/3 innings, and allowed only 21 hits and 39 walks for a 0.98 WHIP. The Panthers finished with a 25-0 record.

Austin Lafferty

South Park, sr., OF/P

Opponents had trouble keeping Lafferty off the bases. He batted .509, reached base in 65% of his at-bats and had a 1.702 OPS. The Akron recruit ranked among the WPIAL leaders with 31 RBIs, 30 runs and six home runs. He struck out only seven times in 76 plate appearances. On the mound, he went 5-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched.

Miguel Hugas

Shaler, sr., P/OF

Shaler won WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A titles this spring behind Hugas, who was a two-way star. Hugas went 11-0 as a pitcher with a 0.71 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 78 innings. As a hitter, he batted .444 with five home runs, 11 doubles, 31 runs and 34 RBIs. He homered twice in the state finals as the Titans won their second PIAA title and first since 1980. He signed with Alabama and is a likely candidate for next month’s MLB Draft.

Mason Horwat

Avonworth, sr., P/1B

The Penn State recruit was a two-way standout for the Antelopes. On the mound, the right-hander had a 5-0 record with a 0.93 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings. Opponents batted .126 against him, earning only 14 hits and 14 walks. As a hitter, Horwat batted .375 with 25 RBIs, 19 runs and four homers among his 10 extra-base hits. His team reached the WPIAL 3A semifinals and PIAA first round.

Evan Holewinski

Bethel Park, sr., P/1B

Holewinski makes the Terrific 10 for a second year in a row. Already known as a standout pitcher, the Kent State recruit showed off his hitting skills with a .440 batting average, eight home runs and 38 RBIs for the WPIAL Class 5A runner-up. On the mound, the right-hander went 4-2 with a 0.96 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings.

Matthew Delvaux

Mt. Lebanon, sr., P/DH

When Delvaux was asked to pitch, he often kept the ball until the game was over. The right-hander went 6-1 with five complete games, three shutouts and a 1.21 ERA. The Mercyhurst recruit struck out 45 batters and walked only 12 in 52 innings for a 0.94 WHIP. He played a key role in Mt. Lebanon’s postseason success by pitching the Blue Devils to wins in the WPIAL and PIAA Class 6A semifinals. He also batted .313 as the team’s No. 3 hitter.

J.D. Costanzo

North Allegheny, jr., P

Costanzo averaged almost two strikeouts per inning with some of the best swing-and-miss stuff in the WPIAL. The left-hander had 91 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings, helping North Allegheny reach the WPIAL Class 6A finals. He went 6-4 with a 1.84 ERA and allowed only 30 hits and 22 walks. Costanzo is committed to West Virginia. He had 15 strikeouts in one start this season and 12 Ks in two others. At a hitter, he contributed two home runs.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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