Seton LaSalle beats defending champion Serra Catholic to claim 3rd WPIAL baseball title

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Tuesday, May 30, 2023 | 3:48 PM


Seton LaSalle pitcher Brian Reed was asked if he knew his record was this season.

He didn’t know, and neither did his coach Brad Besti.

“I guess five or six (wins),” Besti said.

The senior right-hander sure looked like Cy Young to the Serra Catholic batters, no matter what he his record was.

Seton LaSalle (17-4) captured its third WPIAL baseball title, first since 2019, behind a strong performance by Reed on Tuesday afternoon.

The Point Park University commit tossed a four-hitter, struck out 11 and walked four to lead Seton LaSalle to an 8-1 victory against Serra in the Class 2A championship game at Wild Things Park in Washington. The Rebels defeated the Eagles, 12-1, in the 2019 final.

The other Rebels title came in 1995. The Eagles, the 2022 champions, were denied their fifth title.

Seton La Salle will open the PIAA playoff Monday against the District 9 runner-up. Serra (19-3) will face the District 10 champion.

Reed kept Serra’s batters at bay with a mixture of a fastball and slider.

“At the beginning, I had trouble finding the strike zone,” Reed said of walking three batters in the first two innings. “But once I found the strike zone and found my pitches, I felt I was the best pitcher. I was getting stronger all game.”

Seton LaSalle took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning when Aric White singled and scored on a misplayed double off the bat of Nate Georgiana. Gio LoNero then singled home Georgiana.

“Brian was outstanding as a player, but more as a person,” Besti said. “He’s a great leader. His performance on the mound is what we expect.

“We kind of take it for granted because every time he goes out there, we know he’s going to stay ahead and get outs on his own. I can’t say enough about his effort. ‘

Serra finally broke through against Reed in fourth inning when Michael Schanck singled, swiped second, moved to third on a ground out and scored on Zach Karp’s infield single.

The Rebels broke the game in the sixth inning by sending 12 batters to the plate and scoring six runs on three hits and six walks. There was a balk and wild pitch during the frame, which saw four Eagles toe the rubber.

“Brian threw real well,” Serra coach Brian Dzurenda said. “He had high velocity and changed speeds nice. We worked on trying to stay off the high fastball; we just didn’t execute the game plan.

“We had a miscue early in the game that gave them a couple runs early, and it changed the flow of the game. I thought Zach Karp pitched well enough to win the game.”

Things fell apart for Serra in the sixth inning. Singles by Nate Georgiana, Reed and Cole Starrett started things for the Rebels. After that, Eagles pitchers had control problems, issuing six walks.

“We lost to these guys in the 2019 championship game. I think it was 12-1,” Dzurenda said. “We beat them in the state semifinals and went to the state championship game. It’s a whole new tournament starting next week. We have to put this behind us and move forward.”

Besti wasn’t with Seton LaSalle last season. He was at St. Joseph, and before that, Knoch and Vincentian. He was on the Vincentian staff when it won a WPIAL title.

“We needed to score first and score continually,” Besti said. “Fortunately we did that.

“Our goal was to win the section, win the WPIAL and win the state. We’ve got two of three so far, and hopefully we continue.”

Watch an archived video stream broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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