Behind Tyler Maddix, Bishop Canevin tops Eden Christian to repeat as WPIAL Class A champs

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | 3:42 PM

The beginning of the WPIAL Class A baseball championship game was a little rough for Bishop Canevin senior Tyler Maddix, but the middle and finish proved to be golden.

Following a slow start, Maddix got the job done on the mound and at the plate as the Crusaders repeated as WPIAL Class A champions, beating Eden Christian Academy on Tuesday afternoon, 10-3.

“It feels awesome,” Maddix said of his second straight title game victory. “I’m super, super happy.”

Bishop Canevin jumped out early thanks to the wildness of Eden Christian starting pitcher Enzo Natale.

“I just kept preaching, if you get one strike on you, go aggressive because with two strikes on you, he’s a tough pitcher,” Bishop Canevin coach Bill Varley said.

The Crusaders had three singles to go with two walks and a bases-loaded hit batter to grab an early 3-0 lead. Kellen Andruscik was hit by the pitch to force in a run while Quentin White and Lucas Golembiewski delivered run-scoring singles.

“We were just trying to compete, get his pitch count up and try to get him out of the game,” Maddix said of his mound mate Natale. “He’s very good and he’s shut us down.”

The Warriors threatened in the bottom of the first inning, getting the first two batters on before Maddix retired the next three batters to leave the two runners in scoring position.

“The first inning, I just wanted to be comfortable and confident with a little bit of a cushion, so if I messed up, I’d just focus on the next pitch,” Maddix said. “My curve, once I settled in, was pretty good to go along with my fastball.”

Bishop Canevin scored two more in the top of the second inning to chase Natale.

Following Aiden Didion reaching on a hit batter and Kyle Olszewski walking, Maddix tripled them both in to make it 5-0.

Eden Christian loaded the bases on three straight walks. After a force out at the plate on a ground ball to first base, Brett Feldman singled home Aidyn Helsley. However, the threat ended with the bases loaded when Brady Hull flied out to right field.

“We had our chances in the bottom of the first. We kind of let them off the hook,” Eden Christian coach Mark Feldman said. “Tip your cap to them. Tyler, we know who he is and he’s a great pitcher. You can’t leave a good pitcher like him off the hook and we did it twice.”

Even though he was nervous through the first two innings with Warriors getting six baserunners, Varley said he is used to it.

“He’s been doing that all year,” Varley said. “He starts rough, and it takes him an inning or two to get into the groove, but he finds a way to pitch out of it. He’s my guy, and I had to go with him. He’s a proven veteran and a great ballplayer.”

While Maddix settled in and retired eight straight Warriors between the second and fifth innings, the Crusaders’ bats turned the game into a rout.

Bishop Canevin batted around in the third inning, scoring four runs thanks in part to two Eden Christian errors. The big hit was a two-run double by Dominic Varley to put the Crusaders up, 9-1.

The final run of the day for the Crusaders came on a solo home run by Maddix in the fifth inning, his third hit and third RBI of the game.

“I was just sitting on off-speed,” Maddix said of his home run. “During the regular season, I saw a lot of off-speed, so I was just trying to battle until I got it.”

Tyler Maddix allowed two runs on four hits in six innings of work with six strikeouts.

Younger brother Jackson Maddix pitched the final inning, giving up a run on three hits.

Natale suffered the loss after giving up five runs in 1⅓ innings. He had only yielded one run in the previous 14 innings pitched against Bishop Canevin coming into the title game.

Eden Christian (16-5) was led on offense by sophomore Brett Feldman, who had four of the Warriors’ seven hits.

“We’ll get away from it for a little bit,” Coach Feldman said. “We’ll take a day off (Wednesday) and we’ll regroup.”

The Warriors will face the District 5 champion in the first round of the PIAA playoffs Monday, either Southern Fulton or Conemaugh Township.

The Crusaders’ win avenges a section series sweep by the Warriors over the defending district champs in early April.

It is the fourth WPIAL championship for Bishop Canevin (15-4) after the Crusaders raised gold in 1993, 2000 and 2023.

On Monday in the opening round of the state baseball playoffs, Bishop Canevin will face District 10 runner-up Saegertown.

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