5 pitchers to watch in WPIAL baseball playoffs
By: Chris Harlan
Monday, May 14, 2018 | 7:51 AM
Here are five pitchers to watch when the WPIAL baseball playoffs start Tuesday.
Will Bednar, Mars, junior
With a fastball that reaches the 90s, Bednar is piling up strikeouts. The 6-foot-1 right-hander and Ohio State recruit already has 76 in 38 1⁄3 innings. He posted double-digit strikeout totals in his last five starts, a stretch that included consecutive 15-strikeout games. Despite that velocity, he's walked only eight. He's 6-0 with a 0.55 ERA for Mars, the fifth seed in Class 5A. Opponents are batting .163 against him. The Planets face No. 12 Trinity at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Seneca Valley.
Marshall McGraw, Central Catholic, senior
It's probably safe to say Central Catholic wouldn't be seeded first in Class 6A without McGraw. The Section 1 champion Vikings won 14 games this season. McGraw won nine. The right-hander emerged as the team's ace and finished the regular season with a perfect 9-0 record, one save and a 1.04 ERA. He struck out 43 and walked 21 in 47 innings. The Vikings drew a first-round bye, so it's likely McGraw will face either Butler or Upper St. Clair in the quarterfinals.
Justin Meis, Bethel Park, senior
Meis doesn't offer many free passes. The 6-foot-3 right-hander has walked only six batters in 39 1⁄3 innings this season for Bethel Park, the second seed in Class 6A. In comparison, the Eastern Michigan commit has struck out 42. That's part of the reason why Meis is 5-1 with a 1.42 ERA. It also helps explain why Bethel Park has won 14 in a row entering the playoffs. Opponents are hitting just .229 against him. The Black Hawks drew a first-round bye and will face either North Allegheny or Penn-Trafford in the quarterfinals.
Connor Ollio, Butler, senior
The North Carolina recruit makes Butler a tough playoff matchup for both Upper St. Clair in the first round and maybe top-seed Central Catholic in the quarterfinals, if his team makes it there. The right-hander is only 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA in five appearances, but has 37 strikeouts in 20 1⁄3 innings. He's also a solid two-way player with a .373 average and .484 on-base percentage. No. 8 seed Butler faces No. 9 USC at 7 p.m. Tuesday at North Allegheny.
Zach Rohaley, Canon-McMillan, senior
The Wheeling Jesuit recruit is 8-1 with an 0.88 ERA for the Big Macs, who drew the fourth seed in Class 6A. The 6-foot-1 right-hander has struck out 62 and walked only 11 in 48 innings.