Westmoreland baseball notebook: 2-game series well liked

Thursday, April 7, 2022 | 5:16 PM

Coaches and players seem to like the WPIAL’s home-and-home, two-game series that occur on back-to-back days.

Especially the teams that bounce back after a loss in Game One.

Franklin Regional and Penn-Trafford split their Section 1-5A opening series, with Franklin Regional rebounding from a 4-3 loss with a 5-0 win.

“The kids are excited to play on consecutive days,” Franklin Regional coach Bobby Saddler said. “It’s fun when you play a nearby team like that. It gives you a chance to put a loss behind quickly and move on.”

Teams can erase the bad taste of a loss without having to wait days or weeks for a rematch. The WPIAL went to the two-day series to cut back on one-pitcher domination and promote team depth.

And the splits make things very interesting in the standings as coaches play chess with their pitchers.

Greensburg Salem bounced back to earn a Section 3-4A split with Uniontown in its second section series, and Southmoreland evened its Section 4-3A series with Waynesburg. Yough split against Brownsville, and Belle Vernon did the same against West Mifflin (3-4A).

Other local teams, such as Norwin, Latrobe and Derry, also swept their series openers. Norwin won two over Baldwin (2-6A), Latrobe beat McKeesport twice (1-5A) and Derry topped Valley (3-3A) on consecutive days.

Under the Hood

Derry senior pitcher Ryan Hood finally has returned to throwing the way he can, as evidenced by an 11-strikeout performance in an 11-1, five-inning win over Valley. The Trojans are thrilled to see him slinging fastballs again.

He struck out the side in the fifth in the section opener.

Hood, a Gannon commit, had not worked that many innings since a game against Mt. Pleasant last year.

He came a long way to earn ace status.

Hood (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) tore his labrum during his freshman season but had surgery and worked his way back to form.

Slugfest in Whitehall

Norwin earned its first section win of the season. And the Knights will take it, even though the final score looks like it belongs in football season.

The visiting Knights outslugged Baldwin, 17-13.

Jake Kendro went 3 for 4 with a home run, double and six RBIs. Jack Whelan and Sebastian Rosado-Guindin also homered in the wild win.

Norwin fell behind 7-3 after three innings but scored nine times in the fourth.

After it pegged five more in the fifth to take a 17-7 lead, Baldwin plated four in the bottom of the inning before tacking on three more in the seventh.

Norwin swept the section-opening series with an 8-2 win in Game 2.

Rank and file

A pair of local teams found spots in the latest TribLive HSSN rankings.

Defending WPIAL Class 5A champion Franklin Regional checked in at No. 2 in Class 5A, and Greensburg Central Catholic began the Week at No. 2 in Class A.

The No. 1 teams are: North Allegheny (6A), Bethel Park (5A), Blackhawk (4A), Hopewell (3A), Serra Catholic (2A) and Union (A).

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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