Trib HSSN Baseball Team of the Week: Week ending June 12, 2022

Sunday, June 12, 2022 | 7:14 PM

Every team in every sport sets goals at the start of the season.

Some of the top programs run dry on ink from checking them off as the season winds down.

For other, well, there’s wait until next year.

The Burgettstown baseball program has done a lot of waiting, now is its time to check off boxes.

PIAA semifinals berth? Check!

Following up on last season’s playoff team that finished 11-6, veteran Burgettstown coach Doug Tunno thought his team would be good but didn’t envision this kind of season back in March.

“No, I didn’t. But with our solid pitching staff, we thought we had a good chance to win the section.”

The Blue Devils finished second to Seton LaSalle in Section 4-2A in the regular season but have kicked it up several gears with their postseason play.

As the No. 6 seed, Burgettstown beat California and defending champion Shenango before losing a marathon battle against Neshannock, 5-3 in 12 innings, in the WPIAL Class 2A semifinals.

Burgettstown qualified for the PIAA playoffs for the first time and quickly has become fond of the cuisine on the Path to the Pete.

The Blue Devils opened up the state playoffs with a matchup against District 9 champion Johnsonburg.

Trailing 3-0 early, sophomore Brodie Kuzior put the Blue Devils on top with a grand slam home run in the third inning.

“Brodie Kuzior’s grand slam was huge. It took a lot out of Johnsonburg,” Tunno said. “Kuzior had a big game, and Andrew Bredel had a huge pitching performance.”

The junior Bredel pitched into the 6th inning and allowed three earned runs while striking out seven.

Kuzior not only delivered another RBI single at the plate, he came in for the Rams’ final four outs to pick up the save.

In the quarterfinals, Burgettstown again fell behind 3-0 and, once again, a big third inning helped swing the momentum.

The Blue Devils scored four runs in the third and added two more in the fourth to take control and defeat a Redbank Valley team that was coming off a first-round upset of WPIAL champion Serra Catholic.

Tunno gives a lot of credit in the big win to one of his seniors, St. Bonaventure recruit Nathan Klodowski, who allowed only three hits, one walk and struck out 12 in the win over the Bulldogs, 6-4.

“Solid pitching from Nathan, and our team hit well.”

Bredel had two hits and four RBIs for the Blue Devils, and Klodowski helped his own cause with three hits and two runs scored. Senior Jackson LaRocka had two hits, and freshman Sam Elich had three hits in the two victories.

The team has meshed well in winning 16 of 21 games this spring. The seniors have helped lead a talented group of underclassmen.

“We have five seniors starting,” Tunno said. “They are good leaders for our younger kids.”

These are uncharted waters for Burgettstown baseball, one win away from playing for a state championship. Tunno said the school and the community are dealing with a case of Blue Devils fever.

“It’s unreal. It’s great for the team, the coaches, the school and the town. We have a great group of kids on this team that love to compete. It’s a lot of fun when you’re still playing in June and one game away from the state finals. We have a lot of support from everyone in town.”

Standing in the Blue Devils’ way is the same team that ended their WPIAL championship hopes: Neshannock.

“They are a solid program,” Tunno said. “Great coaches, fundamentally solid, John (Quahliero) does a great job with the program. They don’t beat themselves. We are looking forward to this rematch. Last game went 12 innings, and it was a classic.”

2022 Trib HSSN Baseball Teams of the Week:

Week 9 – West Mifflin Titans

Week 8 – Upper St. Clair Panthers

Week 7 – Thomas Jefferson Jaguars

Week 6 – West Allegheny Indians

Week 5 – Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils

Week 4 – Shenango Wildcats

Week 3 – Hopewell Vikings

Week 2 – Chartiers Valley Colts

Week 1 – Beaver Bobcats


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