Trib HSSN baseball team of the week for May 21, 2023

Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 9:28 PM

Last season, the Mohawk baseball team reached the WPIAL Class 3A championship game, falling to South Park in the finals.

The Warriors still have a fighting chance to get back to the finals after pulling off a first-round upset last week.

Mohawk survived a key injury and a dust-up to knock off No. 5 seed Greensburg Salem in the 3A opener 9-3.

“We’re excited to be back,” Mohawk coach Nick Maiorano said. “It’s something they’ve been looking forward to. We had a really strong team last year with a lot of seniors, but they left us in a pretty good position to compete in our section again and get back to the playoffs.

“The kids played well, and we’re looking forward to Monday to see what we can do.”

The Warriors only start one senior, but while they are young, they are not inexperienced when it comes to time on the diamond.

“They’re younger players, sure, but they are baseball players,” Maiorano said. “That’s what they want to do, that’s what they love to do. They really understand the game, and that allows us coaches to work on the finer points of our defense and our strategies on what we’re trying to do to help out our offense. We’re not worried about their skill set because it’s kind of there. It’s good for us.”

On Thursday, the lone senior in the starting lineup, Jacob Werner, put Mohawk up in the second inning on an RBI single.

Werner struck again with a two-run double in the wild fourth inning, coming home on a perfect suicide squeeze bunt by J.J. Hunt. Mason Hopper thought about scoring on the bunt from second base but got back to third safely following a throw from Greensburg Salem catcher Noah DeMary.

What followed was a little skirmish between Hopper and Golden Lions third baseman Peyton Chismar after the tag play at third base that led to the ejection of two players from each team.

Hopper and teammate Aiden Bowser were thrown out and must sit out the Warriors’ next two games.

“As far as the incident that happened, it’s unfortunate and it’s not things you want to see in a high school baseball game,” Maiorano said. “As you would expect, both of them feel terrible, feeling like they let the team down. It’s an emotional sport. It something we addressed, and obviously it’s not something we condone.”

Mohawk scored six runs that inning, on its way to the six-run victory over Greensburg Salem.

Freshman Vinny Pezzuolo was the winning pitcher for Mohawk, throwing 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

Senior Ethan Hare got the save with 2 1/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts.

One of the Warriors’ top players is junior Jay Wrona. He was held to one hit in four at-bats, but he is wrapping up a special school year in which he threw for more than 1,000 yards for the football team, was a WPIAL qualifier in golf, eclipsed 1,000 career points in basketball and entered the postseason hitting .538 in baseball.

“He’s a 4.39 student as well,” Maiorano said. “Out of everything mentioned, the golf is the most impressive because that was the first year he golfed. He just went out last summer and said he was going to join the golf team this year, and he did it.”

Mohawk is now 13-7 as it prepares for a quarterfinals battle with Section 3 champion East Allegheny (13-5).

The Warriors will be short-handed by two starters, and it might be three after freshman sensation Bobby Fadden was injured sliding into second base in the opening round.

“It’s definitely a lower leg injury,” Maiorano said. “I think they’re still trying to wait for the swelling to go down to see what’s going on there. We may not have a definitive answer so it’s a day by day situation. Hopefully he’s able to go Monday.”

2023 Trib HSSN Baseball Teams of the Week:

Week 6 – Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils

Week 5 – South Side Rams

Week 4 – Pine-Richland Rams

Week 3 – Canon-McMillan Big Macs

Week 2 – Mars Fightin’ Planets

Week 1 – Shaler Titans


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