Blackhawk baseball topples New Castle for 13th straight time

Saturday, May 4, 2019 | 12:20 AM

It doesn’t seem to matter where the game is played, Blackhawk baseball continues to dominate New Castle.

In a game originally scheduled for Flaherty Field in New Castle but switched to the turf at Neshannock High School, the Cougars won their 13th in a row against the Red Hurricanes.

Ray Knallay had three hits and John Malagise smacked a three-run homer as Blackhawk remained in first place in Section 2-4A with an 8-2 victory over New Castle.

The last time the Red Hurricanes beat the Cougars on the diamond was in April of 2011.

“We had contributions from a lot of guys today against a very good team,” said Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia, following win No. 302 in his career.

The Cougars scored two unearned runs in the first two innings before the ‘Canes pulled to within a run in the fourth on Dante Micaletti’s RBI single.

Blackhawk took control though in the fifth when Malagise homered over the left-field fence for a 5-1 lead.

“Johnny had the big hit,” Amalia said. “Honestly, he’s been doing that all year. I wouldn’t want to pitch to him because he knows what he’s doing at the plate.”

Three walks and a single later, New Castle starter Rocco Bernadina was chased as Blackhawk went up 6-2.

Jarett Wright singled home Knallay, who had tripled in the sixth, and a bases-loaded walk to Malagise in the seventh inning ended the scoring for the Cougars.

Senior Chris Deluca struggled in four innings of work, allowing three hits and hitting four batters with a pitch. However, he only allowed one earned run to pick up the win for Blackhawk.

“He did a great job,” Amalia said. “He battled hard. We needed him to eat some innings because we were a little short pitching-wise.”

Marco Borello pitched the final three innings, allowing an unearned run to pick up the save.

Blackhawk improved to 9-2 atop the section with a home game against Beaver (8-2) set for Wednesday. It likely will determine the section title.

“We’re all playing for each other. We’re all tight, we’re all friends, and we all want to win for the other guy, and that’s important,” Malagise said.

New Castle (6-4) is in a battle with Quaker Valley (5-4) and Central Valley (5-5) for the final two playoff spots. After visiting Beaver on Monday, the Red Hurricanes will host Central Valley on Wednesday.

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