West Allegheny baseball allows 1 hit in PIAA semifinal loss

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 | 5:51 PM

SCOTLAND — West Allegheny starter Austin Hendrick held Marple Newtown to one harmless hit, a leadoff single in the first inning.

But his Indians just couldn't find many hits of their own.

With Hendrick and Marple Newtown's Alden Mathes locked in a pitchers duel Tuesday, West A's lineup had only two singles and lost 1-0 in a PIAA Class 5A semifinals at Greene Township Park.

The Indians (16-3), shut out for the first time, had average more than nine runs per game. But Marple Newtown, which had scored 41 runs combined in its six playoff games, also saw its offense stifled.

Hendrick struck out nine, and Mathes struck out 10.

“Good pitching and good defense will come up victorious every time,” West A coach Bryan Cornell said.

With hits scarce, Marple Newtown found a way to score a run without one. The runner-up from District 1 broke a scoreless tie in the sixth with consecutive walks, a fielding error that loaded the bases with no outs, and an RBI groundout by Luke Zimmerman.

“What a weird game, huh?” Marple Newtown coach Mark Jordan said. “I've never seen the first player of the game get a hit and that's all the hits his team gets. And then they win the game.”

Cornell agreed.

“I've never been part of a one-hit (allowed) loss before,” he said.

Hits were scarce but walks were not.

The teams combined for 11. Hendrick walked seven and let the leadoff batter reach base five times in six innings, but he often escaped jams. He was helped by an infield that turned a key double play in the first inning and catcher Logan Malatak, who later caught two runners stealing.

In the sixth, when Marple Newtown scored, Hendrick left the bases loaded with consecutive strikeouts.

“The ball never left the infield,” Jordan said. “I've never seen us shut down that good, but hats off to him, he's an outstanding pitcher.”

Seth Rosen relieved Hendrick after the sixth and Zimmerman replaced Mathes for the final two outs in the seventh.

Mathes, a Richmond recruit who's had arm issues, was making only his third start this season, Jordan said. With a deceptive curveball, Mathes struck out six in the first two innings.

He struck out three in a row looking in the second.

“The kids knew that we wasted two innings keeping the bat on our shoulder,” Cornell said. “They were mad at themselves and were able to adjust after that, but he kept us off balance.”

West Allegheny was trying to reach the state finals for the first time since 1994. Instead, Marple Newtown will play District 3's Lower Dauphin in the finals Thursday.

“This loss is going to hurt,” Cornell said, “but at some time they're going to have to reflect and say, ‘Man, what a fun time we had, and what a great season we put together.'”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.


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