PIAA Class 4A baseball championship preview: New Castle vs. Wyoming Area

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Thursday, June 17, 2021 | 8:37 PM


History is being made in Happy Valley this week as the WPIAL sends 10 baseball and softball teams to Penn State University to compete in the PIAA championships.

This is the fourth year the PIAA has had six championships in baseball and softball.

In 2017, the WPIAL sent seven teams. In 2018, it grew to eight District 7 teams, but in 2019, only five district baseball and softball teams reached the state finals.

New Castle (17-9) vs. Wyoming Area (18-6)

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

Path to Penn State

WPIAL champion New Castle defeated District 10 runner-up Harbor Creek, 14-3; District 3 No. 3 Eastern York, 4-1; WPIAL runner-up Montour, 3-1

District 2 champion Wyoming Area defeated District 4 champion Midd-West, 5-1; District 3 champion Eastern Lebanon County, 6-4; District 12 champion Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendergast, 5-4

District Postseason

New Castle defeated Indiana, 13-5; West Mifflin, 6-3; Blackhawk, 7-4; and Montour, 5-0, in the WPIAL championship

Wyoming Area defeated Hanover Area, 10-0; Valley View, 9-4; and Honesdale, 11-0, in the District 2 championship

Performers to Watch

New Castle

Senior Rocco Bernadina will get the start for the Red Hurricane with a 6-4 record and a 2.37 ERA, but he has been lights out in the postseason. Bernadina has a 4-0 record in the playoffs and has allowed only four earned runs in his last 20 innings pitched. He is batting .411. Two other ‘Canes regiulars hitting over .400 are senior Logan Gibson (.444) and sophomore Anthony Miller (.420). Senior Donny Cade leads New Castle with 28 RBIs.

Wyoming Area

Junior Hunter Lawall is expected to start for the Warriors. He has a 5-3 record with a 2.23 ERA. He pitched two scoreless innings Monday in the win against Bonner/Prendergast. Junior Jake Kelleher is an East Tennessee recruit and son of former Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick Chris Kelleher. Kelleher leads the team with a .393 batting average with one homer and 20 RBIs.

Streaks

New Castle has an eight-game winning streak while Wyoming Area has won nine straight games.

Factoids

• New Castle has a 4-1 record in the PIAA playoffs. This is the Red Hurricanes’ first appearance in a baseball state championship game in large part because the program’s only other appearance in the PIAA playoffs was in 2019 when the ‘Canes beat Warren and lost to Beaver in the quarterfinals.

• Wyoming Area has a perfect 3-0 record in this, its first trip to the PIAA baseball playoffs.

• The last WPIAL team to win a PIAA Class 4A baseball title was Ringgold in 2018. The last District 2 team to win a state Class 4A baseball crown was Dallas in 2017.

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