Trib HSSN baseball team of the week for April 23, 2023

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Sunday, April 23, 2023 | 9:21 PM


Kurt Wolfe knows something about championship teams.

The veteran Pine-Richland baseball coach was an assistant on the Rams’ 2004 and ‘05 title teams, and has been the head coach for four golden runs in 2006, ‘10, ‘17 and ‘19.

There is a lot of baseball still left, especially with two weeks of the three-game section series in Class 6A, but the Rams are starting to round into contender shape after a big week.

“I feel good,” Wolfe said when asked about his team to this point. “Not only are they a gritty, tough, hard-nosed team that they were last year, but they have grown so much as players with their experience and understanding of our system and what we expect from them, and they are buying into it.”

The Rams were 9-3 overall and 4-2 in Section 1-6A heading into last week’s action after losing two of three to Butler and sweeping Allderdice.

Pine-Richland’s second to the last section series of the season last week matched the Rams with top-ranked and undefeated Seneca Valley.

Monday was a bitterly cold day, but Pine-Richland felt very cozy at home, scoring single runs in the first and second innings, then adding two more in the fifth before holding off Seneca Valley and handing the Raiders their first loss of the season, 4-2.

“We had great at-bats against a power-5 Division I arm like (junior) Owen Yarussi,” Wolfe said. “We knew they were going to throw three very good arms at us, and we knew we’d have to grind out some victories. We knew we were going to have to play small ball, we knew we’d have to move runners and have selfless at-bats, and we did that.”

Sophomore Tanner Cunningham was 2 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI while fellow sophomore Keegan Deihl picked up the win on the mound with 5 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and striking out nine.

The Rams could only muster three hits off Seneca Valley starter Zach Tkatch as the Raiders won the second game at home on Wednesday, 4-0.

The rubber-game of this key 6A section series at Pine-Richland on Thursday saw more stellar pitching on both sides.

The Rams plated two runs in the third and one more in the fifth inning, then held on to win 3-2, after the Raiders scored twice in the seventh inning.

Pine-Richland senior Owen Henne had two hits and an RBI, and junior Peyton Ford had two hits and two runs scored while senior Jacob McGuire pitched 6 2/3 innings for the win and senior Sam Grana got the final out of the game for the save.

“Obviously the No. 1 goal is to make the playoffs and once you make the playoffs, you can adjust those goals,” Wolfe said. “Obviously, we’re trying to better our position constantly and the only way to do that is winning section ballgames. That was a big win because it gives you some momentum that you hope you can continue.

With Seneca Valley in the rear-view mirror and North Allegheny coming up in another week, Pine-Richland will have a couple of nonsection games this week against Greensburg Salem and Fox Chapel.

“I think it’s a good time for a break,” Wolfe said. “This gives us a chance to see NA against Seneca Valley and when you play these three-game series with the arms, a week break isn’t a bad thing. North Allegheny is another very good team and we’re looking forward to that, but no too far because we have a couple of teams in front of us we need to take care of.”

2023 Trib HSSN Baseball Teams of the Week

Week 3 – Canon-McMillan Big Macs

Week 2 – Mars Fightin’ Planets

Week 1 – Shaler Titans

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