Westmoreland WPIAL baseball playoff capsules for May 19, 2021

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Tuesday, May 18, 2021 | 8:55 PM


Wednesday’s games

Class 5A

First round

5-Plum (11-6) vs. 12-Latrobe (11-8)

4:30 p.m. at Norwin

Coaches: Carl Vollmer, Plum; Matt Basciano, Latrobe

Winner plays: Winner of 4-South Fayette (15-3)/13-Peters Township (8-10) Friday (time, site TBD) in quarterfinals.

Players to watch: Ethan Kircher, Sr., C, Plum; Chase Sickenberger, Jr., INF, Latrobe

Extra bases: The Mustangs won their first section title since 2016 after beating Fox Chapel on May 11. They won five straight games from April 26 to May 4, including two wins on their new turf field. Pitcher and leading hitter Colin Solinski (.429) is working his way back from an injury he suffered in a win over Seneca Valley. Nathan McMasters and Silvio Ionadi lead the Mustangs with 12 RBIs. The Wildcats finished the season on a four-game winning streak, including two wins over No. 6 Penn-Trafford. They’ve only missed the playoffs once since 2014. They also won WPIAL and PIAA titles in 2017.

1-Franklin Regional (15-1) vs. 16-Thomas Jefferson (5-9)

2 p.m. at Hempfield

Coaches: Bob Saddler, Franklin Regional; Tim Vickers, Thomas Jefferson

Winner plays: Winner of 8-Mars (12-4)/9-Gateway (12-6) Friday (time, site TBD) in quarterfinals

Players to watch: Louis Kegerreis, Sr., INF, Franklin Regional; Shultz Reinhart, Sr., INF, Thomas Jefferson

Extra bases: Franklin Regional earned the No. 1 by winning Section 1-5A and starting the season 14-0. The only loss was to 6A Norwin. The Panthers are strong in all three phases of the game — hitting, defense and pitching. FR relies on the 1-2 pitching punch of seniors Brian Pirone (Seton Hill recruit) and Luke Treloar (Cal, Pa.). Some of the top hitters include Louis Kegerreis, Trevor Brncic, Tim Quinn and Andrew Muraco (Coastal Carolina), who was the team’s top pitcher in 2019. Kegerreis is batting .480 with 24 hits including six doubles, three triples and two home runs. He has 17 RBIs. Maruco is hitting .500. TJ finished fourth in Section 4-5A. The Jaguars are led by senior outfielder Preston Zandier and Reinhart. The ace is senior Matt Stover.

6-Penn-Trafford (12-6) vs. 13-Connellsville (10-7)

2 p.m. at Norwin

Coaches: Dan Miller, Penn-Trafford; Rob Orndorff, Connellsville

Winner plays: Winner of 3-West Allegheny (12-4)/14-Hampton (12-6) Friday (time, site TBD) in quarterfinals

Players to watch: Tyler Hoover, Sr., P, Penn-Trafford; Gage Gillott, Sr., P, Connellsville

Extra bases: Penn-Trafford is coming off impressive one-run wins against Class 6A North Allegheny, 2-1, and Mt. Lebanon, 3-2. The Warriors pitching staff includes three left-handed pitchers: Tyler Hoover, Joe MacIntosh and Trevor Wilson. Hoover is the only holdover from the 2019 team. Penn-Trafford defeated Connellsville, 4-3, on April 3. Gage Gillott is one of the Falcons’ top guns. He hit .442 with 23 hits, 19 RBIs and nine doubles. James Domer is another offensive weapon. He hit .375 with 16 RBIs and seven doubles. Kole Koontz is one of the Falcons’ top pitchers.

Class 4A

First round

6-Highlands (12-8) vs. 11-Belle Vernon (5-8)

4:30 p.m. at Plum

Coaches: Jeff Campbell, Highlands; Tony Watson, Belle Vernon

Winner plays: 3-Blackhawk (14-4) Monday (time, site TBD) in quarterfinals

Players to watch: Jett Slepak, Jr., P/INF, Highlands; Matt Bamford, Jr., P, Belle Vernon

Extra bases: The Golden Rams won their final five games, including two wins over Section 1 champion North Catholic. They outscored their final five opponents by a combined score of 38-4. Slepak leads Highlands with a .400 batting average and has also tallied seven doubles. Tanner Nulph leads the Golden Rams with a 1.46 ERA and has struck out 63 batters in 38 1/3 innings. The Leopards are winless since April 20, a 5-4 victory over Laurel Highlands. They also won their first four games. The Leopards are making their sixth straight playoff appearance. Bamford has thrown 24 1/3 innings and has produced a 2.88 ERA.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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