Steel Valley Rallies to Beat Seton-LaSalle for First WPIAL Baseball Title
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 | 10:42 PM
It takes 21 outs to complete a 7 inning baseball game, but sometimes the final out is the hardest one to get. Seton-LaSalle came within 1 out of the WPIAL Class AA Championship at Consol Energy Park, but third seeded Steel Valley had other ideas, getting a game tying 2-run single from second baseman Bryce Varhola in the bottom of the seventh inning and an RBI base hit from designated hitter Jesse Cantley to complete the comeback with three runs to defeat the Rebels 6-5 to capture the school’s first ever WPIAL Baseball Championship.
Matt Hoesch led off the inning and reached on an error by Andrew Lease. Hoesch went to second on a groundout by Andrew Chuba. Steel Valley junior Brandon Donovan then bounced back to his mound opponent Carson Rebel. Rebel had Hoesch trapped off second and threw to the bag to try for the out, but shortstop Matt Wilke and second baseman David Boehm collided and the ball came loose and Hoesch was safe at second while Donovan took first. Rebel battled back to strikeout Steel Valley senior Derek Morrison on a full count to record the second out, but left fielder Sam Ligeros walked on a 3-2 pitch to set up the dramatics. Varhola lined a single to right field to score Hoesch and Donovan to tie the game and Cantley dropped a single into centerfield to score Ligeros and give the Ironmen the walk off win.
Steel Valley scored single runs in the second & third innings. Morrison scored on a wild pitch and shortstop Sean McShane who reached on an error, scored on a Chuba single to give Steel Valley a 2-0 lead.
Seton-LaSalle plated 4 runs in the top of the fourth to take a two run lead. After one out, Danzel McKinley-Lewis tripled to right center field and after Boehm walked, McKinley-Lewis scored on a single by sophomore catcher Liam Sweeney. Nico Popa hit a groundball to shortstop and McShane threw passed third base which allowed Sweeney to get in safely. Rebel then singled up the middle to score Sweeney and Popa.
Steel Valley added a run in the bottom of the sixth when Ligeros scored on a Mike Hoesch sacrifice fly. The Rebels then scored an insurance run in the top of the seventh when designated hitter Matt Reinmund led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Matt Wilkie. McKinley-Lewis then singled to score Reinmund and make the score 5-3 Seton-LaSalle which set up the dramatic bottom of the seventh for Steel Valley.
The Ironmen, who have not lost to a Double-A team all season, improved to (18-2) with the victory. Donovan, who tossed shutout’s in the opening round and the semifinals on the run to the title for Steel Valley, improved to (7-0) on the season getting the complete game win allowing 4 earned runs and striking out 9 batters. Donovan recorded 32 strikeouts in his 3 playoff wins for the Ironmen.
Rebel was the hard luck loser for Seton-LaSalle, allowing 6 runs, only one of which was earned, in 6 & 2/3 innings. Rebel walked two batters and struck out three while stranding 8 Ironmen runners as his record fell to (6-2). Seton-LaSalle seeded 9th, drops to (15-6) on the year with the loss.
Both teams will represent the WPIAL in the upcoming state playoffs. Steel Valley will be the top seed from District 7 and the Ironmen will face the District 5 Champion. The Southern Fulton Indians (21-2) will take on the Myersdale Raiders (18-1) on Thursday May 29th in Bedford to decide that district championship. Seton-LaSalle slots into the PIAA tournament as the number two team from the WPIAL. The Rebels will face the Franklin Knights, the champions from District 10, at a site to be determined in that district next week.
SETON-LaSALLE REBELS: 0 – 0 – 0 – 4 – 0 – 0 – 1 = 5 – 7 – 4
STEEL VALLEY IRONMEN: 0 – 1 – 1 – 0 – 0 – 1 –3 = 6 – 9 – 2
Center Stage Interview with winning Pitcher Brandon Donovan:
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