Riverview makes noise in Class A baseball bracket, knocks out No. 2 GCC

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Monday, May 24, 2021 | 8:14 PM


The volume seemed to get louder from the Riverview dugout as the game progressed.

Wire-to-wire chants and shouts echoed across the field and didn’t stop until the Raiders’ crescendo — the waving of a skull-and-crossbones flag that punctuated a brow-raising upset in the WPIAL Class A baseball playoffs.

The message was clear to No. 2 Greensburg Central Catholic and the rest of the field Monday: The rowdy Raiders are here to make some noise.

Junior Taylor Zellefrow went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs, and sophomore pitcher Enzo Lio worked six solid innings as No. 7 Riverview bounced the Centurions, 6-2, in a quarterfinal game at Latrobe’s Graham-Sobota Field.

“As a team, we love the energy,” Zellefrow said. “It gets us going. We have embraced being the underdog. I feel so embraced by this team.”

The Raiders (10-6) are headed to the semifinals for the first time since 2014. They will have a quick turnaround with a 4:30 p.m. clash with No. 6 Jefferson-Morgan (13-5) on Tuesday at Plum.

“We stress that energy, and we’ve built it as the year has gone on,” Raiders coach Bill Gras said. “It’s become part of what we do and who we are. Our guys were locked in and ready to go.”

The Centurions (13-5), who sat through a first-round bye and hadn’t played a game since May 14, never put together a big inning like they had become accustomed to doing for much of the season.

A promising season is over for GCC, which lost five of six to close the year.

Riverview opened with a three-run first against senior pitcher Dylan Sebek as Zellefrow ripped a two-run single and another run scored via one of four GCC errors.

GCC limited the damage with a double play but went quietly in the home half of the opening frame. It found itself down 4-0 in the second after another error allowed senior Dom Scassera to score following his leadoff double.

The Centurions finally got the bats around on Lio in the third but with minimal success. Senior Alex Miller’s infield single produced a run, and junior Zach David connected on a two-out triple to make it 4-2.

“We just never got going with the bats,” GCC coach Tom Appleby said. “We didn’t just sit around (during the bye). We kept working. Some days are just like this. You don’t know why it happens. Give Riverview credit. They came ready to play.”

In the fifth, senior Ryan Aber led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored in a ground-rule double by Zellefrow that one-hopped over the left-field fence. Two batters later, senior Alexio Ciorra knocked in a run with a single to increase the advantage to 6-2.

GCC threatened in the fifth but left runners at second and third. The Centurions were set down 1-2-3 in the sixth and seventh, the latter frame by fiery junior reliever Vince Shook.

“We expected (GCC) to come out blazing,” Gras said. “They’re the No. 2 seed, and we know what they can do. Our guys did a great job of staying focused. We have a lot of sophomores. We didn’t know if this would be our year, or next year, or the year after that.”

Lio picked up the win, allowing seven hits, striking out three and inducing six flyouts.

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

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