Brothers-in-law face off for Riverview, Leechburg baseball

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Saturday, May 15, 2021 | 11:01 AM


A few years ago, Bill Stoops and William Gras, who are brothers-in-law, were sharing the same bench as the head and assistant coach of the Gateway baseball program.

On April 30 and May 6 though, the two coaches found themselves in opposite dugouts as Leechburg and Riverview faced off in two crucial Section 3-A contests.

“For me, it was pretty cool,” Gras said. “We both learned a lot from each other when we were together at Gateway. The mentee always wants to show what he’s learned and beat up on the other guy.”

Gras has guided the Raiders (8-5, 7-3) to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Stoops, who is in his first year as the head coach at Leechburg, has led the Blue Devils to a 7-7 record this season, including a 6-3 mark in section play.

Both programs have put together solid seasons and have punched their tickets to the WPIAL Class A playoffs.

Between the two games, Riverview and Leechburg played 23 total innings. Leechburg won the first matchup 8-6 in 11 innings with 10 of the 14 runs being scored in the final inning. Riverview took the second game 2-0 in 12 innings, scoring the final two runs in the top of the final inning.

“That was pretty cool. I mean we are pretty tight, and he lives like five doors up from me, and we didn’t really talk that whole week,” Stoops said with a laugh. “I didn’t want to give any secrets away, but we usually meet in the driveways and rehash all of the games and give scouting reports for all the games. We are pretty close.”

Stoops has coached baseball in the area for a long time. He has spent time at Deer Lakes, North Allegheny and Gateway. But when he was getting set to take the job at Leechburg, he knew he was going to be seeing a familiar face at least twice a year.

Gras took over the Riverview program in 2018 and got a good look at the Blue Devils so when the Leechburg coaching position opened up, Stoops said he reached out to his brother-in-law.

“I told him I was going for the job, and he immediately told me that we were going to have two losses every year,” Stoops said. “I responded with, who are we going to lose to? And he said Riverview. I asked him if he thought the teacher taught the student everything he knows.”

Now, both teams are preparing for their playoff runs. The Blue Devils were holding onto third place in the section.

The Raiders were in second place after suffering section losses to Eden Christian, Leechburg and Sewickley Academy.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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