Trib HSSN baseball team of the week for the week of April 22, 2019

Sunday, April 28, 2019 | 4:57 PM

The Trib HSSN Team of the Week is Upper St. Clair, which has won three straight, including a pair of key Section 3-6A games this past week to move from outside of the playoff picture to the thick of the postseason chase.

After snapping a two-game losing streak with a win over rival Mt. Lebanon on Apr. 17, Upper St. Clair started last week by facing defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Canon-McMillan, which beat the Panthers, 12-0, in the first meeting April 3.

USC scored eight runs in the first three innings and held on for an 8-3 victory. Three days later, the Panthers beat Baldwin, 7-3.

“I believe the key to the three-game win streak has been solid defense and effective pitching,” said coach Jerry Malarkey. “We have also begun to be more productive with runners in scoring position. I also think that the mental approach as a team has been a factor.”

Malarkey is in his 35th season as Upper St. Clair’s coach and said this might be his best “practice” team he has had.

“I meant that as a very positive factor. Our practices have been focused and intense. The players know when a practice is not as sharp as it should be, and we have had guys step up vocally or through their work ethic to get the practice back on pace.”

In a log-jammed section where the top four teams qualify of the postseason, the Panthers’ success last week moved them from fifth place to third and given them key tiebreaker wins with four section games remaining.

“To finish strong we need to continue to play solid defense,” Malarkey said. “Our pitching needs to stay sharp. We will need the whole staff to remain focused to get us through the next week-and-a-half. Also, we need to keep getting better at bats with runners in scoring position.”

Previous Trib HSSN Baseball Teams of the Week:

South Park, Laurel Highlands, Keystone Oaks, Union

Trib HSSN Baseball Player of the Week: John Malagise of Blackhawk


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