No. 1 Greensburg Salem baseball edges closer to 1st section title since 2012

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Monday, May 6, 2019 | 9:27 PM


Put another ball on the banner.

That has been the goal, Greensburg Salem baseball coach Bill Wizniewski said, since the first day of the regular season. It remains his team’s goal until the last.

With an offensively-charged, 10-5 victory over Knoch on Monday at Seton Hill, the Golden Lions — the new No. 1 team in Class 4A — are a win away from their first section title since 2012.

Playing with high energy, confidence and enthusiasm, they continued to rip base hits and prolong innings.

“We have really been swinging the bats well,” Wisniewski said. “It’s a fight to get the next guy up. We’ve been stringing hits together. Our goal is a section championship: to put another ball on the banner in the gym.”

Greensburg Salem (13-2, 9-2) can tie No. 3 Yough (12-5, 10-2) for first with a win Wednesday at Mt. Pleasant. The WPIAL will announce playoff pairings Friday.

On senior day, five players — four of them seniors — had two hits apiece to back the strong starting pitching of Matt Wicker as Greensburg Salem won its fifth straight. The team has piled up 39 runs over its last three games.

“Greensburg Salem is a small school, but we’re all like a family,” said Wicker, a Pitt-Johnstown recruit who moved to 5-1 after allowing six hits and striking out six in 5 2/3 innings. “We had a great crowd here today, and everyone got involved.”

Senior Reid Amundson went 2 for 3 with three RBIs; senior Jack Oberdorf, a Seton Hill commit, added two hits, a double and two RBIs; senior Noah Sweeney had two hits; senior Sage Parsely went 2 for 4 with a double; and freshman Brayden Merichko also drove in a pair. The Golden Lions built a 10-1 advantage before a late flurry by the Knights.

Knoch (9-6, 5-6), which takes its do-or-die playoff hopes into Wednesday’s game against Highlands at Kelly Automotive Park in Butler, rallied late to tighten the score — just like the Golden Lions did to them when the teams played earlier in the season.

Knoch won the first meeting, 9-6, with Greensburg Salem scoring five in the seventh. This time, the Knights scored three in the final inning to cut into the deficit before their rally ran out of steam.

“I am proud of our guys for the fight they showed,” Knoch coach Sean O’Donnell said. “Greensburg earned it and deserved to win. I have a lot of respect for Bill and John (Manley) and those guys. They are the best hitting team in the section.”

Knoch has dropped three in a row to sink into fifth place.

“The playoffs for us start Wednesday,” O’Donnell said.

A never-ending fifth inning put the Golden Lions in command. Greensburg Salem scored eight times on six hits, with Amundson, Merichko and Oberdorf producing two-run hits. Merichko’s came with the bases loaded and one out and it pushed the lead to 6-1.

The big inning chased Knoch starter Travis Mowery, who was dueling with Wicker in a one-run game heading into the home half of the fifth.

Wicker left in the sixth after 100 pitches and was replaced by Oberdorf, who, despite a shaky seventh, kept the Knights at arm’s length. Sean McGill (2 for 3), Gavin Phillips and Eli Sutton all singled with two outs.

“I had all the confidence in us,” Wicker said. “Even if they ended up coming back, I knew we would still win it.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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