5 pitchers to watch in WPIAL baseball playoffs

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 13 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 13 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 13 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.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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