PIAA Class 3A baseball championship preview: Riverside vs. Camp Hill

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Wednesday, June 14, 2023 | 7:34 PM


This is the sixth season the PIAA has hosted six state championship baseball games.

The WPIAL is sending three teams to the state baseball championships at Penn State, including Riverside in Class 3A.

The Panthers are the first WPIAL team to be playing for the PIAA 3A crown since South Side lost 5-1 to Lancaster Catholic in the 2018 3A finals.

The last WPIAL team to win a state 3A championship was Knoch in 2015. The Knights beat Abington Heights in the finals, 7-5.

West York from District 3 was the PIAA Class 3A champion 10 years ago, West Chester East from District 1 was 3A state champ 20 years ago, Mt. Lebanon won 3A gold 25 years ago in 1998, Elizabethtown from District 3 won it all in 3A 30 years ago in 1993, and Reading from District 3 won the 3A title 40 years ago in 1983.

Here is a look at the second PIAA baseball championship game set for Thursday afternoon.

PIAA Class 3A baseball championship

Riverside (24-0) vs. Camp Hill (21-3)

1:30 p.m. Thursday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park at Penn State University

On the air: Video on PCN with audio on WBVP-AM 1230, WMBA-AM 1460 and TribHSSN.TribLive.com

District seeds

Riverside was the No. 1 seed in the WPIAL playoffs and the No. 1 seed out of District 7 in the PIAA playoffs after winning the D-7 title over Neshannock. … Camp Hill was the No. 1 seed out of District 3 after beating Camp Hill Trinity in the D-3 finals.

Coaches

Dan Oliastro, Riverside; Matt Spiegel, Camp Hill

Players to watch

Christian Lucarelli, Riverside, soph., P; Luke Parise, Camp Hill, sr., P, C

Path to Penn State

Riverside – Defeated District 6 runner-up Tyrone in the first round, 3-2, knocked off District 10 champion Fairview in the quarterfinals, 9-3, and then beat District 9 champion Punxsutawney in the semifinals, 8-5.

Camp Hill – The District 3 champions beat District 12 runner-up Masterman in the first round, 6-2, blanked District 12 champion Neumann-Goretti in the quarterfinals, 2-0, and then came back to edge District 11 winner Saucon Valley in the semifinals, 5-4.

Championship factoids

Riverside

• The Panthers are 26-6 all-time in PIAA baseball games.

• This is Riverside’s fifth PIAA baseball championship game. The Panthers blanked Halifax in 2005, 8-0, repeated in 2006 with a win over Montoursville, 7-4, struck gold again in 2011 when they knocked off Salisbury Township, 5-2, and then repeated again by beating Pine Grove, 5-4 in 2012.

• The Panthers are 3-0 in the state playoffs this spring in their 11th state playoff appearance. They first qualified in 1996 and last appeared in the PIAA playoffs last year when they fell to Neshannock in the 2A quarterfinals, 5-4, in 11 innings.

• Sophomore pitcher Christian Lucarelli pitched five innings and struck out 11 in the quarterfinals, then returned to pitch 5⅓ innings of relief, allowing only one hit in the Panthers’ comeback win over Punxsutawney in the state semifinals.

• Junior Daren McDade had two hits and an RBI in the first-round win, then delivered a big two-run double in the semifinals for Riverside.

• Riverside has won 24 games in a row.

Camp Hill

• The Lions are 25-8 all-time in the PIAA baseball playoffs.

• This is Camp Hill’s sixth PIAA baseball title game. The Lions beat Linesville in 1999, 4-2, lost to DuBois Central Christian two years later, 8-7, blanked Carmichaels in 2008, 2-0, defeated Serra Catholic a year later, 7-3, and then lost to Rock Grove in the 2018 state finals, 5-4.

• The Lions are 3-0 this spring in their 12th PIAA baseball playoff appearance. Their first was 24 years ago in 1999 and their most recent was 2021 when they lost to Schuylkill Haven in the quarterfinals, 10-2.

St. Joseph’s recruit Luke Parise has had a hot state playoff run for the Lions. He has two wins, starting and shutting out Neumann-Goretti in the quarterfinals, allowing three hits with nine strikeouts, and he won in relief in the semifinals, pitching two innings, giving up one hit and striking out four. He also has three hits, a home run and five runs scored.

• Camp Hill has won 10 straight games.

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