Seniors helped Pine-Richland reach WPIAL quarterfinals
Friday, June 1, 2018 | 11:00 PM
With its 9-1 loss to Hempfield in the quarterfinal round of the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs, the Pine-Richland baseball team's season came to an end.
During the regular season, the Rams thrived on winning close games, with six of their 14 wins coming by three runs or less.
In its final playoff game, however, the team wasn't able to close the gap against a Spartans squad that just kept on finding ways to pile on runs.
“The bottom of their lineup killed us, it really did. They did a great job of rolling over to the hitters at the top of their lineup. That really was the key,” Pine-Richland coach Kurt Wolfe said.
“At one point, the last four guys in their lineup were on base nine out of the first 12 times they went to the plate. We had some opportunities early, but unfortunately we didn't come through with the big hit.”
Understandably, Wolfe said his team was disappointed they did not earn the chance to defend their WPIAL title. Still, the Rams managed to work their way into the playoffs despite having graduated many of the top pitchers from last season's roster.
Throughout the season, one factor that helped drive Pine-Richland (14-7) to its success was the levelheaded leadership its senior class displayed, according to Wolfe.
“I give that group of seniors a lot of credit because it was a group of nine kids, and not all of them got to play a ton. Obviously, all nine of them would have loved to have played all the time, but they were able to find different ways to lead and help the team out,” he said.
“They helped with the intangibles of the team. They were always getting themselves prepared for games, and they managed to find ways to make sure others around them were prepared, too.”
Pine-Richland's senior class consisted of Tyler Woodrow, Tommy Camino, Craig Kunkel, Bryce Grenet, Jake Betush, Jeremy Burnstein, David Eichenlaub, Matt Bullock and Jacob Weinberg.
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.