Westmoreland baseball notebook: Yough inches closer to 2nd straight section title

Thursday, April 27, 2023 | 4:29 PM

Yough secured a WPIAL playoff berth after an 11-1, run-ruled victory over Mt. Pleasant on Tuesday on Cougar Mountain.

The Cougars moved to 11-3 overall and 8-0 in Section 4-3A with their fourth straight win.

It also marked their fourth two-game sweep of the season in the section.

Other county playoff qualifiers so far are Latrobe and Kiski Area (4A), and Greensburg Central Catholic (2A).

Latrobe captured its second straight section title.

The WPIAL baseball committee will unveil playoff brackets May 12.

Freshman pitcher Nate Bell moved to 4-0 for Yough, Milan Aujay drove in four runs and Carson Pasinski had two hits and two runs for the Cougars in the playoff-clinching win.

The Cougars are a game up on Greensburg Salem, which also is playoff-bound, as they look to capture back-to-back section titles for the first time in school history.

It has two home-and-home section series remaining: against McGuffey and Greensburg Salem.

Yough is 4-0 at home.

Traffic jam

The title race in Section 1-5A is tightening as the season winds into its final week-plus of action.

Through Tuesday’s games, Franklin Regional (10-3, 6-2), Fox Chapel (8-5, 6-2) and Plum (9-6, 6-2) were tied for the top spot.

Penn-Trafford (9-3, 5-3) was a game back, and Armstrong (9-5, 6-4) was in fourth.

The top four qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.

Kallock returns

Greensburg Central Catholic welcomed back senior slugger Max Kallock from a back injury.

The IUP commit missed the first six games of the season before returning to play in the Brentwood series last week.

Kallock is returning to form quickly. Through four games, he was hitting .500 with seven runs, a triple and a home run.

“It’s good to have Max back, and Max is glad to be back,” GCC first-year coach John Boyle said. “He’s been a big pick-me-up for the team. The boys are thrilled he’s back.

“Max is willing to play anywhere in the field, and we’ve needed him at first base and left field due to some injuries. His speed extends our lineup speed at the top of the order and puts lots of pressure on defenses. His bat is as great as it’s always been.”

Pulling ranks

A trio of local teams made this week’s Trib Live HSSN rankings.

In Class 6A, Hempfield stayed at No. 4, while Franklin Regional dropped a spot from No. 4 to 5 in 5A and upstart Greensburg Salem went from 4 to 5 in 3A.

Darkness falls

Ligonier Valley played East Allegheny on Monday, but the teams had to settle on a rare tie.

The game lasted 11 innings with the score tied 6-6 and had to be called because of darkness.

Noah Lawson had three hits, including a double, and Levi Moser also doubled for the Rams.

If the shoe fits

Greensburg Salem was led to believe it could wear metal cleats to its game against McGuffey last week at Wild Things Park.

When the Golden Lions arrived in Washington, though, rules told a different story.

“We could only wear rubber cleats,” coach Anthony Manley said. “They had a box of shoes there, so a few of our guys had to change spikes.”

Four starters had to pull shoes out of a “goodwill” box, as a coach put it, and some of them had to wear different-sized shoes.

“That’s not why we lost,” Manley said of a 5-2 setback — the Golden Lions earned a split with a 7-3 win three days later. “We made due. I guess next time, we’ll know.”

Best for last

Franklin Regional and Armstrong took a pitchers’ duel into extra innings Tuesday before the Panthers erupted.

They scored six times in the top of the ninth, led by Chase Lemke, who delivered a triple and three RBIs.

Max Bernadowski worked 723 innings and struck out 15 but gave way to Narayan Ramchandran, who pitched the final 113 to earn the win.

The River Hawks used three pitchers.

“It was an unreal game,” Panthers coach Bobby Saddler said. “Some great defensive plays and, obviously, excellent pitching.”

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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