Trib HSSN Baseball Team of the Week for games of May 13-18
By: Don Rebel
Sunday, May 19, 2019 | 10:32 PM
The Trib HSSN Baseball Team of the Week is Waynesburg Central, a team that won its first WPIAL playoff game in eight years with a Class 3A first-round victory last week.
The Raiders face top-seeded Freeport on Monday in the Class 3A quarterfinals.
As April was winding down, Waynesburg was 4-3 in Section 3-3A and had lost two in a row. But the team ended the regular season with six straight wins and finished tied for second place.
Second-year Raiders coach Jamie Moore said he liked his team’s mental approach heading into the first round of the playoffs.
“Our mindset going into Freedom was to keep the same approach we had to finish out the regular season,” he said. “We feel good about how we’re playing, and so we came in loose and ready.”
While everybody knew the last time Waynesburg won a postseason game was in May 2011, the players were unfazed. The Raiders broke a 1-1 tie with four runs in the second inning on their way to an 8-1 win over the Bulldogs.
“The key to winning big games starts with pitching, and that was the case against Freedom,” Moore said. “(Luke) Robinson controlled the game, and our defense played well behind him.”
Robinson allowed no earned runs on four hits with nine strikeouts in six innings to pick up the win.
Senior Kyle Blasco, juniors Trevor Stephenson and Luke Robinson and sophomore Tyler Switalski had two hits each to lead the 11-hit attack.
“The great thing about our team is that we have so many players contributing,” Moore said. “If one guy is a little off on a given day, someone else is picking him up. Switalski’s two-out, bases-loaded triple in the second was a huge boost offensively.”
While Wednesday’s win might have been the high point of the season for the Raiders, a 13-run loss to Keystone Oaks in the section opener might have been the low point that helped turn the season around.
“Our greatest strength is our desire to compete and win,” Moore said. “We took a couple lumps in some ugly early-season losses. That’s when we came together as a team and started playing for each other.”
Previous Trib HSSN Baseball Teams of the Week:
Trib HSSN Baseball Player of the Week: Jeff Zick of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.