Riverview baseball falls to Kennedy Catholic in PIAA 1st round

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Monday, June 7, 2021 | 6:27 PM


The Riverview baseball team hadn’t been to the PIAA playoffs in 21 years, but when the Raiders took the field for their PIAA first-round matchup against District 10 champion Kennedy Catholic on Monday, they looked right at home.

Luke Migely walked to start the game and then came around on a Ryan Aber RBI single. A John Patsey single put runners on second and third after a stolen base, and the Raiders seemed prepared to build their lead.

But Kennedy Catholic’s Cody May started to settle in on the mound at Slippery Rock University’s Jack Critchfield Park. He got Vince Shook to ground out to end the inning, then escaped a jam in the second before retiring 14 straight batters as his offense took the lead in the third inning and never looked back on their way to a 6-1 victory.

“After that first inning, I said to our athletic director (Mario Rometo), ‘We got this, we got this,’” Riverview coach Bill Gras said. “Then (May) turned it up in the second or third inning, during the second time through the order, and he was locked in the rest of the game. He shut us down pretty good.”

Three of Riverview’s four hits came in the first two innings and their final hit came in the seventh inning when Alexio Ciorra drove a ball to the left-field fence for a triple.

May allowed one earned run, struck out nine, including five of six batters between the third and fourth inning, and only walked two.

“He’s my go-to guy when we’re looking for a little maturity on the hill and just need to pound a consistent zone,” Kennedy Catholic coach Steve Pinney said. “He’s just someone we can count on, and we don’t need to hold our breath type of thing. His leadership is just unmatched.”

Kennedy Catholic tied the game in the bottom of the first inning when May drove in Carmen Surano with an RBI single. Shook, Riverview’s starting pitcher, who threw 3.1 innings and allowed four hits while striking out two, was able to get out of the inning with a 6-4-3 double play.

When it came down to it, though, Kennedy Catholic took advantage of Riverview’s mistakes.

The Raiders committed two errors in the bottom of the third inning and Kennedy Catholic’s Tino Multari, who reached on an infield error, ended up coming around to score.

An inning later, Kennedy Catholic scored two runs on passed balls and the District 10 champions held all of the momentum from there.

“It happened to us in the WPIAL championship game as well. (Union) scored runs off errors,” Gras said. “I preached to the kids it’s the little things. When you get (to the PIAA tournament), it’s the little things. It’s blocking a ball in the dirt. It’s making those little mental mistakes that we’ve been making the last two games that we weren’t making before.”

Kennedy Catholic tallied another run in the fifth on an RBI single by Stargell Fuhr, who went 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI. Then Dom Rupp scored on an RBI triple by Multari in the bottom of the sixth to seal the win.

The Raiders finished the season at 11-8 and made their first WPIAL championship and PIAA tournament appearance in 21 years. Bill Gras also only had five seniors on his roster, and after putting together a season that no one expected them to, he’s excited about the future.

“This can be extremely huge for us,” Gras said. “The community is excited. The younger players, the seventh and eighth graders, are excited, and they were coming to our games when they were close by. That’s the future there. If they have that excitement, then they just gotta learn what it takes to get here.”

“We have a lot of work to do to get back here.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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