Acclaimed senior class accomplished plenty for North Allegheny baseball

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Saturday, June 8, 2024 | 11:01 AM


The worst day for any high school baseball coach is cut day, says North Allegheny’s Andrew Heck. That’s when the roster gets whittled down before the season opener.

But in his mind, there is also a close second. That’s whenever the season ends short of the state finals. For North Allegheny, that day came June 3 as the WPIAL champion Tigers lost 2-0 to Wilson of PIAA District 3 in the first round of the state playoffs.

Heck gathered his team on the outfield grass for a season-ending talk.

“I told them (the second-worst day) is not reaching your ultimate goal of a state championship and having to have that talk,” Heck said. “It’s more so with the seniors than the underclassmen. The underclassmen get to stick around. We know what we’re fighting for as we move forward and go on.

“But more importantly, it’s from the senior end of things.”

This year’s senior class has left a successful legacy. North Allegheny won its league-best ninth WPIAL title behind a productive group of seniors who won 49 games over a three-year span.

The team went 17-7 this season.

Five seniors started in the WPIAL finals: pitcher David Posey, third baseman Owen Schall, outfielder Matthew Parreaguirre, first baseman Cole Hammer and catcher Andrew Dixon. Senior pitchers Charles Mau, Cole Suba, Greg Schmidt and JD Costanzo all worked innings this year.

The most experienced of the group was Posey, a Navy baseball recruit and a four-year varsity player. Posey pitched a remarkable no-hitter in the finals for his second WPIAL title. The Tigers also won the WPIAL his freshman year, and the team celebrated 72 wins combined in his four seasons.

Posey went 6-0 on the mound this year with a 2.39 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 38 innings. He also ranked second on the team with 15 RBIs.

The right-hander struck out 11 in the WPIAL Class 6A final for a 1-0 win over Mt. Lebanon.

“He’s probably going to leave this place as one of the most-decorated and storied baseball players in North Allegheny history,” Heck said. “The only thing he doesn’t have is a state championship. He has a runner-up (in 2021). But he’s got two WPIAL championships and a no-hitter in a WPIAL championship game.

“That’s a really, really good resume.”

Schall was the team’s leader with 20 RBIs, tied for first with 26 hits and finished the year with a .371 batting average. He either drove in a run or scored one in 16 of the team’s 22 games.

Heck described the catcher position as a “huge” question mark entering the season, but Dixon proved himself with the bat and glove. He batted .324 with 12 RBIs, but more importantly guided the pitching staff to a 3.06 ERA.

“It was unbelievable what Andrew Dixon did this year,” Heck said. “I can’t put into words his performance that helped us get here.”

Parreaguirre returned from a shoulder injury a year ago to bat .371 with 26 hits and 12 RBIs. He bolstered the defense with his play in center.

Mau, a Penn State recruit, had 28 strikeouts in 18⅔ innings with one win and one save.

Costanzo had an elbow injury cut short his innings on the mound, but the West Virginia recruit contributed as a hitter late into the season.

The senior class led North Allegheny to the WPIAL finals for the second year in a row and the third time in four seasons.

“I basically just said thank you to every single one of them,” Heck said, “for leaving this program better than when they came in.”

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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