Decade’s best WPIAL finals: Baseball No. 2

Tuesday, June 9, 2020 | 8:43 PM

While it almost became a theme to repeat in WPIAL softball this past decade, it was nearly an impossible dream for district baseball teams.

Wild Things Park in Washington continued to be the home for the WPIAL baseball championships, but only twice in 42 title games was a school successful in repeating as champions. Seneca Valley in Class AAAA and Neshannock in Class A pulled it off the same two years in the spring of 2011 and 2012.

Speaking of Seneca Valley, the 2014 team gave hope for every team that qualifies for the district playoffs as that Raiders team captured WPIAL gold as the No. 16-seed.

So, while the third decade of the 21st century got off to a slow start with the 2020 season wiped away, here is a look back at the last 10 years with a countdown of the Top 10 WPIAL baseball championship games.

No. 2 – King of the Hills

After splitting two regular season games, Section 1-5A rivals North Hills and Mars met in the rubber game, the 2018 WPIAL championship contest that kept stretching beyond the regulation seven innings.

With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 11th inning, a likely hero with an unlikely weapon won it for the Indians.

North Hills ace pitcher Joe Pusateri did what was expected on the mound, pitching seven solid innings, allowing two runs on six hits with a walk and five strikeouts.

Pusateri was locked in a pitchers’ duel with Mars junior Will Bednar, who allowed two runs on only three hits, a walk and 10 strikeouts. At one point, he retired 12 straight Indians batters.

Then in the bottom of the 11th inning, North Hills loaded the bases with one out as Pusateri strolled to the plate.

A pitcher who was limited in his at-bats and connected on only five hits all season, Pusateri singled in the winning run to end the fifth-longest game in WPIAL baseball championship history.

The district baseball title was the first ever for North Hills.

Click the final score below for George Guido’s recap of the Indians’ marathon win over the Fightin’ Planets.

North Hills 3, Mars 2 in 11 innings

Decade’s best WPIAL baseball finals:

No. 3, 2013 Class AAA: South Park 4, Hopewell 3 in 9 innings

No. 4, 2016 Class AA: Riverside 1, Neshannock 0

No. 5, 2017 Class 2A: Jeannette 7, Greensburg Central Catholic 3 in 12 innings

No. 6, 2019 Class 3A: Steel Valley 5, Hopewell 4 in 8 innings

No. 7, 2012 Class AAA: Blackhawk 1, Belle Vernon 0

No. 8, 2010 Class AAA: Hopewell 2, Moon 1

No. 9, 2018 Class 6A: Canon-McMillan 2, North Allegheny 1

No. 10, 2017 Class 2A: California 3, Freedom 1 in 10 innings

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