Greensburg CC Dethrones California To Win First WPIAL Baseball Crown

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 | 10:40 PM

Greensburg Central Catholic scored three times in the fifth inning to break open a tie game en route to a 6-4 victory against California, capturing the Class A Championship at Consol Energy Park. Tommy Pellis and Collin Liberatore led the way for the Centurions, who captured their first baseball title in school history.

Pellis went 3-4 at the plate and scored three times, and also added a pair of sparking defensive plays at shortstop. Liberatore notched the victory for No. 2 GCC, as he threw a complete game, yielding four runs while striking out 12. Liberatore’s final strikeout came against California cleanup hitter Aaron Previsky with the tying run in scoring position.

With the game tied 3-3, Greensburg Central Catholic took the advantage in the fifth, as Tommy Pellis’ infield single against newly-inserted pitcher Louden Conte drove in Cole Reese, who led off the inning with a triple that chased Garitt Woodburn from the mound. After Conte struck out Collin Liberatore, Nick Roperti ripped a run-scoring triple to right-center field. With two outs, Scott Riley hit a slow bouncer towards first baseman Chris Swartz, who tried to barehand the ball while moving towards the bag. His attempt was unsuccessful, though, which allowed Roperti to cross the plate, giving GCC a 6-3 lead.

After both teams were held off the board in the sixth inning, California threatened in its final at-bat. Alex Adams drew a walk to lead off the frame, and Paul Peters hit into a fielder’s choice. After Liberatore fanned Conte, John DeFranco ripped a single, and Nathaniel Luketich followed with a single of his own to score Peters. Drake Johnson, who was running for Luketich, stole second, representing the tying run. After Previsky nearly tied the contest on a liner that just barely landed in foul territory in left field, Liberatore notched his final K to seal the outcome.

The Centurions took an early lead in the tilt, as they scored twice in the opening frame by taking advantage of Trojans’ miscues. Cole Reese reached on an error by California shortstop Louden Conte, and Reese moved to third on a single by Tommy Pellis. Reese scored the first run of the tilt on a wild pitch by Woodburn, and Pellis moved to third on the play. Collin Liberatore’s sacrifice fly plated Pellis to put GCC ahead 2-0.

Top-seeded California trimmed into its deficit in the top of the third after Conte reached on a two-out single. After swiping second base, Conte scored on a single by John DeFranco that deflected off the glove of third baseman Jake Nesser.

The Centurions (20-3) restored their two-run lead in the bottom of the frame, after GCC batters Tommy Pellis, Collin Liberatore and Roperti collected consecutive hits to load the bases. Jack Liberatore executed a perfect suicide squeeze to score Pellis. Woodburn retired Scott Riley to end the inning, though, stranding a pair of GCC runners.

California drew even in the fourth, as Previsky lead off with a single, and then moved into scoring position by stealing second. Previsky tagged up on a fly ball to right field, and the throw from GCC’s Neil McDermott was off the mark, allowed Previsky to score on the error. After Woodburn reached on a two-out infield single, consecutive bunt singles to third, the second of which by Paul Peters, scored courtesy runner Ben Bilitski to deadlock the contest.

With the setback, the Trojans (19-2) failed to successfully defend their Class A Championship. Both teams advance to PIAA postseason play, which begins on Monday.


California          0          0          1          2          0          0          1          4          9          3
GCC                   2          0          1          0          3          0          X         6          9          2

Winning pitcher: Collin Liberatore – 7 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1BB, 12 K
Losing pitcher: Garitt Woodburn – 4 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

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