Alle-Kiski Valley baseball playoff previews: Games of May 16, 2019

Thursday, May 16, 2019 | 1:02 PM

WPIAL baseball playoffs

First round

Thursday’s games

Class 5A

9-Fox Chapel (10-7) vs. 8-Mars (10-8)

4 p.m. at North Allegheny

Winner plays: 1-West Allegheny (18-2)

Coaches: Jim Hastings, Fox Chapel; Andy Bednar, Mars

Players to watch: Mitch Miles, Sr., P, Fox Chapel; Will Bednar, Sr., P, Mars

Extra bases: Fox Chapel, the third-place team from Section 1-5A, returns to the playoffs for a second consecutive year under Hastings, an alumnus. The Foxes lost, 6-5, to Laurel Highlands in the 2018 first round. After a 5-1 start, Fox Chapel had some difficulties in the second half of the season. Run prevention is key for the Foxes, who are 9-2 when holding opponents to four or fewer runs. Miles had a strong senior season, going 4-2 with a 1.73 ERA. … After reaching the WPIAL championship game each of the past two seasons, Mars had an up-and-down season, tying for third place in Section 2-5A. The Planets lost four of their final five regular-season games. Mars has a pair of Division I prospects on the mound in Bednar (Mississippi State) and junior Joey Craska (Virginia Tech). Bednar, an MLB Draft prospect, missed much of the season with a shoulder injury but returned late.

11-Kiski Area (9-9) vs. 6-Laurel Highlands (11-6)

4 p.m. at Seton Hill

Winner plays: 3-Hampton (12-6)

Coaches: Aaron Albert, Kiski Area; Scott DeBerry, Laurel Highlands

Players to watch: Ryne Wallace, Sr., P/OF, Kiski Area; Andino Vecchiolla, Jr., P/1B, Laurel Highlands

Extra bases: Kiski Area clinched its first playoff appearance since 2016 with a nine-inning walk-off win over Armstrong in its season finale and is seeking its first postseason win since 2009. The Cavaliers finished 4-13 last season but showed improvement in Albert’s first season. Ryan Rametta (4-0, 2.56 ERA) leads a deep pitching staff. Wallace (.419, 21 RBIs) and junior Billy Perroz (.463, 15 RBIs) pace the offense. … Laurel Highlands tied Montour for second place in Section 3-5A. The Mustangs made it to the WPIAL quarterfinals last season. Vecchiolla, a lefty, posted a 5-1 record and 2.10 ERA this season and batted .424 with 10 RBIs. Five of Laurel Highland’s six losses came by one run; the Mustangs are 3-5 in games decided by that margin this season.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, or via Twitter .

Tags: , , ,

More Baseball

Elizabeth Forward grad Luke Padezan takes reins as Gateway’s new baseball coach
After more than 3 decades as an assistant, new coach takes reins of Chartiers Valley baseball
Wild Things Park to host WPIAL baseball finals through 2027
Hempfield’s Dylan Firmstone commits to Penn State baseball
Penn-Trafford baseball making strides in offseason, wins fall league title