A-K Valley WPIAL baseball playoff capsules: Games of Monday, May 20
Sunday, May 19, 2019 | 5:34 PM
WPIAL baseball quarterfinals
14-Highlands (11-8) vs. 6-Beaver (11-7)
4:30 p.m. Monday at Pullman Park, Butler
Winner plays: Winner of 2-Yough and 7-South Park on Wednesday in semifinals
Coaches: Jeff Campbell, Highlands; Noah Medich, Beaver
Players to watch: Zac Kuniak, sr., OF, Highlands; Alec Berg, sr., P, Beaver
Extra bases: Highlands, playing in the WPIAL postseason for the first time since 2003, advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-4 win over Thomas Jefferson. It was the biggest upset by seed in the first round of the baseball and softball postseason. The Golden Rams are in the midst of their first winning season since 2007. Kuniak, a Slippery Rock recruit, hit a three-run triple against TJ. … Beaver, coming off a 5-0 win over Belle Vernon, reached the postseason for the first time since 2014. The Bobcats are a senior-heavy team: 14 of their 17 players are seniors. Berg, who has a 1.96 ERA, allowed one hit and two walks in six shutout innings against Belle Vernon. Kiski Area baseball coach Aaron Albert coached Beaver from 2017-18 and is a former Highlands football assistant.
1-Freeport (13-5) vs. 8-Waynesburg (12-5)
6 p.m. Monday at Latrobe
Winner plays: Winner of 4-Steel Valley (10-8) and 12-Beth-Center (8-9) on Wednesday in semifinals
Coaches: Ed Carr, Freeport; Jamie Moore, Waynesburg
Players to watch: Jarrett Heilman, jr., P, Freeport; Luke Robinson, jr., P, Waynesburg
Extra bases: Freeport claimed the top seed after winning its final seven regular-season games and taking the Section 1-3A championship. The Yellowjackets, making their fourth consecutive postseason appearance, are seeking their first playoff win since a 2013 first-round victory over Brownsville. Heilman is having a dominant junior season, with a 6-1 record and 83 strikeouts in 52 innings. … Waynesburg is coming off an 8-1 first-round win over Freedom, its first postseason victory since 2011. The Raiders tied McGuffey for second place in Section 3-3A. Robinson dominated Freedom, striking out nine and allowing just one unearned run in six innings. He also leads Waynesburg with a .465 batting average and has 19 RBIs. Sophomore Tyler Switalski is hitting .385 with 23 RBIs.
7-Burrell (12-4) vs. 2-Hopewell (13-5)
7 p.m. Monday at Boyce Mayview Park
Winner plays: Winner of 3-Keystone Oaks (13-4) and 11-Ellwood City (8-9) on Wednesday in semifinals
Coaches: Mark Spohn, Burrell; Mike Shuleski, Hopewell
Players to watch: Tyler Mock, sr., C, Burrell; Jake McGovern, jr., P, Hopewell
Extra bases: Burrell advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals for a third straight season with a 10-2 win over McGuffey in the first round. The Bucs lost in this round last season to South Side. A win over Hopewell would put the Bucs into the semifinals for the first time since 2010, when they finished as WPIAL runner-up. Mock’s two-run single helped spark Burrell to a five-run fifth inning against McGuffey. The Bucs scored nine runs in the fifth and sixth. … Hopewell, a WPIAL semifinalist and PIAA quarterfinalist last season, finished 11-1 in Section 2-3A, winning the title by three games. The Vikings’ lone Class 3A loss this season came against New Brighton. McGovern dominated on the mound (6-2, 1.39 ERA) and at the plate (.426, 25 RBIs) this season.
11-St. Joseph (8-7) vs. 3-Union (13-3)
2 p.m. Monday at Pullman Park, Butler
Winner plays: Winner of 2-Vincentian Academy (11-3) and 7-Bishop Canevin (10-8) on Wednesday in semifinals
Coaches: Kurt Krebs, St. Joseph; Bill Sanders, Union
Players to watch: Tyler Wood, jr., P, St. Joseph; Nate Meeks, jr., SS, Union
Extra bases: St. Joseph is coming off a 10-1 first-round win over Monessen, believed to be the first playoff victory in school history. Before qualifying this spring, the Spartans last made the WPIAL playoffs in 2000. St. Joseph jumped on Monessen early, scoring three runs in each of the first two innings. The Spartans are led by their underclassmen: Wood, who has 46 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings and a .553 batting average; junior Dom Fellowes (.512, eight RBIs) and sophomore Hayden Mallin (.359, 16 RBIs). … Union won the Section 1-A championship, its lone loss coming to runner-up Quigley Catholic. The Scotties started 1-2 but won 12 of their final 13 games. After allowing 25 runs in its first three games, Union gave up just 28 in its last 13. Union has moved one place up the WPIAL rung the last three seasons: fourth in 2016, third in 2017 and runner-up last season. Four Union hitters are hitting better than .400, led by Meeks (.540) and Seth Pinkerton (.509), and seven players have at least 10 RBIs.
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, [email protected] or via Twitter .