Irwin Area wins 2, advances to WPSBL semifinals

Friday, July 31, 2020 | 6:49 AM

The Irwin Area summer baseball team doubled its pleasure Thursday evening at Gateway High School, and it now is just two wins away from a Western Pennsylvania Baseball League tournament title.

It started with an 11-0 victory over Plum and completed the sweep with a 5-2 quarterfinal win over the host Gators.

“It’s just been great to be out here together playing some baseball,” said Irwin second baseman Ryan Scavnicky, who tallied three RBIs in the two games.

“It feels really great to come out and get a couple of wins like this.”

Irwin will play in the semifinals Tuesday against the winner of Monday’s quarterfinal contest between Franklin Regional and Mt. Lebanon.

Plum’s and Monroeville’s seasons have concluded.

Irwin kicked off its tournament run Tuesday with a 10-9 win over Upper St. Clair in eight innings.

“We’re pretty confident we can keep winning,” Scavnicky said.

Logan DiVald and Luke Savage shared pitching duties for Irwin against Monroeville, and Savage was on the mound as Monroeville attempted a rally from a three-run deficit in the seventh.

Tyler Sharp led off the inning with a walk against Savage, and Grady Otterman followed with a single to put runners on first and third.

But Savage, a rising senior at Norwin, struck out both Justin Longo and Luke Jackson and then got Jaired Lehman to ground out to second to end the threat and the game.

“I didn’t think I was going to get out of it,” said Savage, who gave up one run on two hits in three innings of relief work.

“I was worried the coaches were going to take me out. I then just tried different ways to throw strikes, and it worked. It was an amazing feeling at the end because we get to move on and keep playing.”

DiVald started and worked into the fifth for the win. The Irwin offense helped him with a four-run third inning. He surrendered two hits and one earned run and struck out one. He walked six, including the final two batters he faced in the fifth.

Monroeville had two on with no outs in the frame but got just one run. Jordan Stancovich who walked twice earlier in the game, doubled with two outs to pull Monroeville within two runs at 4-2.

Anthony Cammuso drove in a run for Monroeville in the top of the first, and the score remained 1-0 until the third when Irwin plated the four runs off Monroeville starter Joe Schulte.

Schulte struck out six of the first eight batters he faced, but Jack Whalen and Lucca Spatolisano drew back-to-back walks to lead off the third and scored on a single from Scavnicky.

Alex Gabaurer added a single, and both he and Scavnicky scored on errors by the Monroeville defense.

Gabaurer reached safely in all three plate appearances with two singles and a walk.

Ty Stecko gave Irwin some insurance with an RBI single in the fifth.

Otterman had two hits to lead Monroeville, which had won its first two tournament games, 4-3 over Kittanning-Worthington on Tuesday and 4-2 over Laurel Highlands on Wednesday.

“We were energized because our first two games were really close,” Monroeville coach Mark Wardzinski said.

“Our guys were riding high. I would’ve loved to have kept playing tomorrow, over the weekend, next week, whenever. But we had a blast as a team this summer. We played 11 or 12 games, and the guys came to play every game. Everyone was bummed when the (high school) season got canceled, but we got a second chance.”

Irwin collects 13 hits against Plum

Six runs in the third and five more in the fifth led to Irwin’s five-inning win.

Ryan Orosz, a rising sophomore at Norwin, stymied the Plum offense. In 63 pitches, he gave up one hit and three walks while striking out one to earn the complete-game win.

Plum’s lone hit was a single by Jared Hoener to lead off the second.

Landon DiBeradin paced the Irwin offense with three hits, one a double, and an RBI.

Spatolisano homered and drove in two, Eric Chorba tripled and tallied an RBI, and Chase Kranitz doubled with two RBIs.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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