5 players to watch in WPIAL baseball playoffs

Monday, May 14, 2018 | 7:45 AM

Here are five position players to watch when the WPIAL baseball playoffs start Tuesday.

Mark Black, Serra Catholic, sophomore

Black is a catcher with a bright future. His immediate future could include a WPIAL Class 2A title. The St. John's commit is batting .629 with five home runs, 42 RBIs and 35 runs, leading a powerful Serra Catholic lineup that has outscored its 20 opponents 243-20 this season. His on-base percentage is .701. Serra is seeded first in Class 2A bracket.

Kyler Fedko, Vincentian Academy, senior

Fedko will join his brother Christian at UConn next season, but first he'll try to accomplish a goal that has eluded Vincentian Academy for years: winning a WPIAL baseball title. The Royals reached the WPIAL semifinals in 2016 when both Fedkos were in the lineup, but lost in the quarterfinals last season. This year, Fedko is batting .614 with six home runs, 33 RBIs and 30 runs in 17 games for the WPIAL's top seed. The infielder has a .702 on-base percentage. Vincentian received a first-round bye.

Austin Hendrick, West Allegheny, sophomore

Hendricks has almost as many walks (13) as hits (15), a testament to how cautiously teams pitch the standout sophomore. Still, the left-handed hitting outfielder is batting .484 with 18 runs and 12 RBIs in 13 games for West Allegheny, which drew a first-round bye as the second seed in WPIAL Class 5A. The Mississippi State commit was ranked as the nation's top player in his graduating class by Perfect Game. Hendrick also pitches for West A, which seeks its fourth WPIAL title since 2007.

Troy LaNeve, Pine-Richland, junior

Defending champion Pine-Richland seems to be heating up just in time for the WPIAL playoffs, and LaNeve also has found a spark. The Vanderbilt commit went 6 for 12 with four runs and nine RBIs in a three-game span against North Allegheny, Shaler and Knoch last weekend. Combined, the Rams outscored them 28-8. The infielder lifted his season average to .327 and his OBP to .426. Sixth-seeded Pine-Richland faces No. 11 Peters Township at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Boyce Mayview Park in Upper St. Clair.

Michael Turconi, Blackhawk, senior

Turconi is the latest star for Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia, who guided future first-round draft pick Brendan McKay to similar success just a few years ago. Turconi, an infielder and pitcher (5-0, 0.67 ERA), will try to lead the Cougars to consecutive WPIAL titles. The team is seeded first in the Class 4A bracket and drew a first-round bye. Turconi is batting .609 with 24 RBIs in 17 games. He's also walked 16 times.

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

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