Behind ace Tyler Maddix, Bishop Canevin secures 3rd WPIAL baseball championship

Wednesday, May 31, 2023 | 3:44 PM

Bishop Canevin’s Tyler Maddix struck out more than 100 batters this season and proved hard to hit on the WPIAL’s biggest stage Wednesday afternoon.

The sophomore ace struck out eight batters in leading the No. 6-seeded Crusaders to an 8-5 victory over No. 4 California in the WPIAL Class A championship game at Wild Things Park.

It was Bishop Canevin’s third WPIAL title and first since 2000.

“He kept his cool and kept throwing strikes,” Bishop Canevin coach Bill Varley said of Maddix. “I told him before the game to think about throwing strikes.”

Maddix allowed four hits over six innings, and fellow sophomore Kole Olszewski allowed a two-run double before closing out the game in the seventh.

“Hats off to them; Tyler Maddix is the real deal,” California coach Taylor Andrisko said. “He came and had his stuff. We were trying our hardest to drive his pitch count up, but he was so efficient. Hats up to him.”

The Crusaders (15-3) got started early, scoring twice in the top of the first by capitalizing on two errors, which proved costly all afternoon for the Trojans, who committed five in the game. Junior Mason Glover came through with an RBI single, and another run came across on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead.

“We came in with a lot of first-inning jitters,” Andrisko said. “I talked to them coming down on the bus ride trying to help them get loose. We settled in, but too little too late.”

California (14-8) answered in the bottom of the first when Kaden Weston’s sacrifice fly plated a run to make it 2-1.

Bishop Canevin added on in the top of the fourth thanks to three more California errors that extended the inning. Aidan Didion’s RBI single made it 3-1, and a bobbled grounder at second base and errant throw allowed Lucas Golembiewski to score to give the Crusaders a 4-1 lead.

“The errors were uncharacteristic,” Andrisko said. “Defense is what we hang our hat on. I talk to them every day. At the high school level, this game is about who makes less mistakes. That wasn’t us today. We made some early mistakes and couldn’t recover from them.”

In the top of the fifth, Canevin’s Quentin White, Kellen Andruscik and Golembiewski all had RBI singles — part of a five-hit inning — to extend the lead to 7-1.

California got a run back in the bottom of the fifth when Caden Powell singled and Cam Script came around to score on an error in left field.

Bishop Canevin again answered in the top of the sixth when Andruscik hit a sacrifice fly for an 8-2 lead.

California scored on a fielder’s choice in the sixth and then added two runs in the seventh for the 8-5 final.

“That’s the best team we played in the playoffs,” Varley said.

Maddix continued his impressive season, improving to 8-1 with a 1.57 ERA. He now has 117 strikeouts this season. Olszewski was 3 for 5, and Maddix, Glover, White and Didion all had two hits for the Crusaders.

Third baseman Chase Cicchitto was 2 for 4 with two RBIs to lead the California offense.

Bishop Canevin will play the District 10 runner-up Saegertown (18-3) in the first round of the PIAA playoffs Monday at a time and site to be determined. The Trojans will take on District 5 champion Southern Fulton (22-1).

Watch an archived video stream broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

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