2024 WPIAL Class 4A baseball championship preview: North Catholic vs. Indiana

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | 4:02 PM

2024 WPIAL Class 4A baseball championship

No. 6 North Catholic (16-4) vs. No. 9 Indiana (13-9)

4 p.m. Wednesday at Wild Things Park, Washington

How they got here: North Catholic defeated No. 11 Elizabeth Forward, 8-0, in the first round; No. 3 West Mifflin, 4-0, in the quarterfinals; and No. 2 Thomas Jefferson, 12-4, in the semifinals. Indiana defeated No. 8 Central Valley, 4-1, in the first round; No. 16 Blackhawk, 5-0, in the quarterfinals; and No. 4 Montour, 11-0 in five innings, in the semifinals.

WPIAL titles: North Catholic 4 (1995, 2005, ’07, ‘18); Indiana 0

Coaches: Andrew Przybylek, North Catholic; Dan Petroff, Indiana

Players to watch: Blake Primrose, North Catholic; Ben Ryan, Indiana

Extra bases: North Catholic and Indiana met twice in the regular season as Section 4 teams. North Catholic won both matchups, 2-1 and 3-2, on April 22-23. North Catholic’s Owen Beatrice had a two-run single in the first game, and Tommy Karoly hit a go-ahead home run in the rematch. … Indiana is making its first appearance in the WPIAL baseball finals. The Little Indians reached the semifinals last season. North Catholic senior Blake Primrose is a St. Joseph’s baseball recruit. He has a team-best .475 batting average and 27 RBIs. Other top hitters are junior Josef Safar (.411, 22 RBIs) and senior Ryan Shantz (.421, 18 Rs). North Catholic has seven batters with an average of .349 or better. Tommy Koroly has a team-high 25 runs. North Catholic starters Tommy Schafale (8-0) and Caden Williams (7-0) are both undefeated. Schafale, a senior, has a 0.99 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 11 walks in 56 1/3 innings. Williams, a junior, has a 1.69 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 15 walks in 37 1/3 innings. … Indiana third baseman Ben Ryan is a Quinnipiac recruit. The senior leads the team in batting average (.434), RBIs (24), extra-base hits (13) and home runs (six). Ryan also pitches and has a 0.52 ERA in 13 innings over nine appearances. Senior second baseman Trevor Smith is batting .373 with a team-best 21 runs as the leadoff hitter. Indians pitcher Greg Minnick is a Texas Tech commit. The right-handed junior is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA, 60 strikeouts and 20 walks in 29 1/3 innings. Senior RHP Ryan Okopal is 6-1 with a 2.62 ERA, 38 strikeouts and 23 walks in 24 innings. Sophomore Sullivan VanHoose has a 1.50 ERA in 23 1/3 innings over 11 outings.

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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