Trib HSSN Baseball Team of the Week for May 10, 2021

Monday, May 10, 2021 | 10:46 PM

The Laurel Highlands baseball team is once again enjoying success on the diamond. Coming into the final week of the regular season, the Mustangs have clinched a Class 4A playoff spot and have won 10 of their 14 games.

However, they have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to match the 2019 Laurel Highlands team that beat Kiski Area, Hampton and Franklin Regional to reach the Class 5A championship game, where they fell to Shaler.

“Making the 5A championship was definitely a huge boost to our program, especially in the same year that our basketball team won the WPIAL championship,” Scott DeBerry said. “Winning breeds winning, and even though the players on this team, except for (Nick) Kumor and (Zack) Koffler, were either on the JV or freshman teams that year, I’m pretty sure they were in attendance at that game. They felt the electricity at the game and the energy in the community and in the school, so they’re hungry to get back to the championship for themselves.”

A berth in this year’s postseason was guaranteed thanks to a section doubleheader victory over Elizabeth Forward on Thursday.

With both teams bunched up in the middle of the Section 3-4A pack with Belle Vernon, Ringgold and Greensburg Salem, Laurel Highlands cruised to a 10-0 win over Elizabeth Forward in Game 1.

“The biggest thing in the first game was the pitching of Joe Chambers,” DeBerry said. “Our offense started slow in that game, but Joe kept EF at bay until we got going. Once our offense got on track, we were able to put runners across the plate.”

Kumor, a senior, led the way for the Mustangs with a home run.

The second game shifted from LH to EF, and it looked like it was going to be another Mustangs blowout, but the Warriors battled and kept it close, only to fall 7-5.

“We came out hot continuing our offense from the first game,” DeBerry said. “We jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first inning. We held on for the win. Credit to the kid they brought in (AJ Palmer). He kept us off balance.”

Koffler hit his first home run of the season in the Game 2 win for Laurel Highlands.

Some of the other standouts on offense from the doubleheader sweep besides the seniors Kumor and Koffler were juniors Alex McClain and Kadin Early as well as sophomore Ty Sankovich, all with multiple hits.

In half of the Mustangs’ victories this season, the opponent was either shut out or held to one run.

“Coming into the season, pitching was a question mark for us,” DeBerry said. “The only one we kind of knew we had was Nick Kumor. However, Carson Broadwater and Joe Chambers have worked hard and have given us quality outings on the mound. Our pitching as a whole has been pretty good. It has kept us in and gave us a chance to win pretty much every time out.”

Laurel Highlands concludes its section schedule with a pair of games against rival Uniontown then will wait for the brackets to come out Friday and prepare for the postseason.

“I think we are in a good place right now,” DeBerry said. “Our offense is starting to be consistent, and our pitching is on a good rotation with starters and relievers.”

2021 Trib HSSN Baseball Teams of the Week

Week 5 – Bethel Park Black Hawks

Week 4 – Hopewell Vikings

Week 3 – Hempfield Spartans

Week 2 – Shaler Titans

Week 1 – Valley Vikings

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