Pine-Richland defeats Penn-Trafford to claim 6th WPIAL baseball title

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019 | 8:27 AM


With Wild Things Park stuck under a layer of rain clouds, Penn-Trafford and Pine-Richland waited an extra day to play their WPIAL baseball championship.

For Pine-Richland, it was worth the wait.

For Penn-Trafford, the wait continues.

Title-game regular Pine-Richland won its sixth WPIAL baseball title and second in three years Thursday night with a 7-2 victory over Penn-Trafford in the WPIAL Class 6A final. They also won titles in 2017, ’10, ’06, ’05 and ’04 and were runners-up in ’09.

“Once you’re here one time, you want it more and more,” Pine-Richland coach Kurt Wolfe said. “You want that feeling, and there’s nothing better than putting a gold medal around these young men’s neck.”

Top-seeded Penn-Trafford (18-4), making its first WPIAL championship-game appearance, must wait for another year to experience that title-winning feeling. Pine-Richland senior Matt Wood’s RBI single in the fourth broke a 2-2 tie, and then the Rams broke it open with three more runs in the fifth.

“When they scored the third run, there was still no panic,” Penn-Trafford coach Dan Miller said. “We tried to be patient and persevere. That’s been our M.O. all year. When they put up the three-spot in the fifth inning, I could see the sails start to deflate.”

Wood reached base five times with a triple, a single and three walks. Pine-Richland finished with 11 hits, five walks and one hit batter.

JD Armstrong went 2 for 4 with a run scored and two RBIs for the Rams, and Grant Voytovich scored twice.

“It came down to (giving away) free bases and timely hitting,” Miller said.

Second-seeded Pine-Richland (18-4) made four errors but overcame them with four solid innings from starter Tommy Beam and three scoreless frames from reliever Matt Schietroma. They combined to hold Penn-Trafford to six hits — all singles.

“We made some errors defensively,” Wolfe said, “but we limited the inning.”

Beam (5-0), who allowed two runs in four innings, earned the win. He allowed five hits, two walks and struck out five.

Both teams boarded the team buses Wednesday for what was supposed to be a 7:30 p.m. start. Penn-Trafford reached the stadium just after the game was postponed. Pine-Richland was stuck in traffic on Interstate 79.

This was Penn-Trafford’s first championship appearance, but the stage wasn’t too big for them, they said.

“It was new but we’ve played tournament ball, so we’ve been in these types of stadiums,” said Penn-Trafford senior Mario Disso, who scored the Warriors’ first run. “It was nice to play in this stadium and it was an intense atmosphere for a playoff game.”

Pine-Richland took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Wood walked, Troy LaNeve singled and Armstrong followed with a two-out, two-run single to left.

Penn-Trafford answered with one run apiece in the second and third innings. Maclean Maund had an RBI single in the second, and Disso added a run-scoring single in the third to tie 2-2.

Pine-Richland retook a 3-2 lead in the fourth on an RBI single by Wood, and then extended its edge with three runs in the fifth. Armstrong, Jake Maley and Voytovich reached base and scored, chasing Penn-Trafford starter Maund after 313 innings.

Maund allowed six runs on six hits and four walks.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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