Bach sharp as Yough takes down South Park in Class 4A quarterfinals
By: Chris Harlan
Monday, May 20, 2019 | 8:58 PM
Jarett Bach’s first-round start didn’t meet his high standards, but Monday’s was surely one of his best.
The Yough left-hander struck out 10, walked only one and kept South Park off balance to win 3-1 in a WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinal at West Mifflin. With an MLB scout watching from the pressbox with a radar gun in hand, the Pitt recruit allowed only five hits, all singles.
The victory advances second-seeded Yough to face No. 6 Beaver in a semifinal Wednesday.
The 6-foot-4 senior retired the final seven in order to wrap up his 101-pitch complete game. In one stretch, Bach struck out four out of five batters.
“He went from — I don’t want to say his worst outing — but not his sharpest last Wednesday to one of his sharpest today,” Yough coach Craig Spisak said. “He kept his walks down. It was such a nice thing to see.”
The difference, Bach said, was he and his teammates weren’t nervous this time. He said they were last week while making their playoff debuts. Bach struck out only five in that 4-3 victory over Central Valley.
But his fastball command was sharp Monday and his curveball was swing-and-miss good.
“Last outing I had a little nerves,” Bach said. “I really didn’t have my best stuff. Coming back on short rest today, I just tried being better. I think I was.”
Only one batter reached base against him after the third inning Monday, and that runner was quickly erased with a double play. Bach was pitching on five days of rest, the shortest in his high school career, but Spisak said he could tell Bach was ready nonetheless.
“I knew before the game,” Spisak said. “We had a talk, and I felt very confident. I was worried because this was the shortest rest he’s ever had in the three years he’s pitched for us. We’ve always had six, seven or sometimes eight.”
The turnaround wasn’t a factor.
“I felt great,” Bach said, “a lot better than what I expected.”
Bach won’t be available for the semifinals under PIAA pitch-count rules. A site and time was not announced.
South Park strung together two singles, a walk and a hit batter to take a 1-0 lead against Bach in the third inning. Andrew Campbell was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Kevin Vaupel’s RBI single.
Bach then escaped a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout.
“To me that was the swing of the game,” South Park coach Steve Bucci said. “We had a chance to run Bach in a hole, possibly 3-0.”
Instead, Yough answered with two runs in the bottom of the third to take a 2-1 lead. The rally started when Noah Manns reached on a fielding error with no outs. Yough’s next two batters bunted, and a throwing error on the second bunt let Manns score.
Yough’s second run came on an RBI triple by Steve Manon that scored Ryan Halahurich. Yough added a run in the fifth when Ulander walked and later scored on Bach’s sacrifice fly.
“In the playoffs it’s usually going to be the one who makes the most mistakes who’s going to be on the short end,” Bucci said. “In regular-season games you can get away with a few mistakes. But we were going up against a pitcher that’s been No. 1 in the WPIAL in strikeouts. He’s been a horse for Yough all year.”
Vaupel pitched well enough to keep South Park in contention. The senior allowed three runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out five and picked off two runners, but was hurt by South Park’s errors.
This was the second game in a row Yough fell behind but answered immediately.
“I know that we’re not a team that’s just going to put our heads down,” Bach said.
“They don’t care what the score is, they’re going to play the same,” Spisak said. “Their approach is the same whether we’re down three or up three.”
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .