Union baseball ousts Riverview in title-game rematch

Thursday, May 19, 2022 | 10:00 PM

Thursday’s Riverview-Union Class A baseball quarterfinal was a rematch of last year’s championship game.

While Union didn’t get a no-hitter like it did last season from Jake Vitale, Tyler Straub tossed a gem for the Scotties.

Straub only struck out one, but Union picked up three early runs and Straub put matters into his defense’s hands as the Scotties sailed to a 5-1 victory at Shaler’s Matulevic Field.

Shortstop Anthony Roper handled six chances flawlessly, and catcher Nick Vitale had two hits and drove in two runs as defending champion Union (10-4) will move to the semifinals Monday against Rochester or Sewickley Academy.

Riverview (7-9) managed two hits off Straub and drew five walks, but they couldn’t put enough offense together against the senior right-hander.

“Tyler threw well today. He’s typically a high-strikeout pitcher,” Scotties coach Bill Sanders said. “We’re working on him on just being efficient and not getting his pitch count up. He pitched to a lot of contact today.”

Said Riverview coach Bill Gras: “We didn’t play well defensively. You’ve got to play defense in the playoffs. We didn’t hit the ball well, either. It just came down to defense.”

A couple of misjudged fly balls in the outfield enabled Union to take a lead in the first inning.

Mike Gunn’s double scored Staub, who reached on an error. Vitale’s single found a hole up the middle, and Gunn came racing home to make it 2-0.

Union tacked on another run in the second as Staub’s double drove home Shane Roper, who opened the inning with a double.

Riverview got on the scoreboard in the third when Luke Migley beat out an infield grounder, stole second, stole third and came home on a wild pitch. Migley collided with Staub at the plate, and the Union pitcher was shaken up.

“When he went down there, he hit the ground that was pretty hard back there,” Sanders said. “There was a little bit of a concern that he was hurt when he stayed sown. But he’s not going to let you take him out of a game unless his arm falls off or he’s going to the hospital or something.”

Staub soon resumed his mound duties and continued benefiting from fine defensive play. After a walk to Jack Loughren, John Patsey hit a grounder to first baseman Shane Roper right beside the bag. Roper spun around and threw a strike to his brother, Anthony, at shortstop to tag Loughren and end the inning.

Union scored two more runs in the fifth on a double by Vitale and a single to right by Mark Stanley to chase Raiders starter Vince Shook.

“Vince did a valiant job,” Gras said. “He ran out of gas. We debated whether to pull him. He’s a senior, so we wanted to give him the opportunity.”

Riverview had two runners on for the first time in the game in the sixth. Enzo Lio hit a chopper to the right of Anthony Roper, who threw to third to barely force out Patsey. After the umpires conferred, the original call at third stood.

The Raiders, who had high hopes before the season, couldn’t get enough consistency and finished 6-10.

Gras characterized the season as “disappointing.”

He added: “I thought we had a team here that could have gone all the way. We didn’t play well during the season, only four section wins. We just couldn’t get it done.”

Riverview will advance to Class 2A for at least the next two seasons.

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