WPIAL Baseball and Softball Consolation Tuesday Recaps

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015 | 6:17 PM


Eight baseball teams and eight softball teams from the WPIAL have had the entire holiday weekend to wash away the disappointment of of shattered dreams and a loss in the district Semifinals. Now 12 of those 16 teams are in action Tuesday playing for third place in the district but more importantly, a berth in the 2015 PIAA Playoffs.

A special thanks to Sean Meyers, Mike Azadian, Bob Gregg, Greg Kuntz and Lou Rood for their help on these recaps.

BASEBALL:

Class AA Consolation:  Steel Valley Ironmen 3 – Keystone Oaks Golden Eagles 2
Keystone Oaks entered the 2015 WPIAL AA Baseball Playoffs as the number 1 seed.  Steel Valley came in as the defending WPIAL AA Champion.  Both had high hopes entering the playoffs, but found themselves on the brink of elimination after semifinal losses that forced a rubber match between these two section rivals.  The winner would move on to the PIAA state tournament as the 3rd entrant from the WPIAL and the losers’ season would be over.  Keystone Oaks and Steel Valley were scoreless heading into the bottom of the 3rd inning due in part to excellent execution of a relay throw from left fielder Jay Hindes to 3B Timmy Ali to C Stephen Kozales-Kelly who tagged out Tanner Cannon at the plate to record out number two. Cannon was attempting to score from 2nd base following consecutive hits by Brandon Donavan-which moved him to 2nd, and Alex Ligeros who had the RBI taken away on the great defensive play by Keystone Oaks. Cantley’s ground out ended the inning and Keystone Oaks kept it scoreless.  Hoping to capitalize on the momentum coming from the great defensive play the Eagles promptly had the first two batters go down on just 6 pitches.  It looked like Ironmen starter Brandon Donavan would have an easy inning but, a tow out walk to Nick Riggle set the stage for some two out Eagle lightning. Donavan did not help his cause when he walked Ali on a full count and then gave up his first hit of the game to DH Ryan Roell who drove in Riggle from second with the first run of the game. The Ironmen were not able to score in the 4th but Keystone Oaks was able to add to its lead when Ben Canty singled to lead off the bottom of the bottom of the inning.  He moved to 2nd on PH Nick Callas hard ground out to 3rd that Ligeros made a diving play on, advanced to 3rd on a Donavan Wild Pitch and scored when Donavan was called for a Balk when he stepped off the rubber and threw to 3rd trying to pick off Canty who was called out by the field umpire but overruled by the home plate umpire who ruled the balk and motioned Canty to score.  That would be the end of the scoring for Keystone Oaks who had two baserunners in the 5th on a single by Riggle and a hit batter in Kozales-Kelly but were unable to score. Donavan then set down KO in the 6th in order and the Ironmen who were shut down in the 5th and 6th entered the 7th down two runs.  The question to be asked, did Steel Valley have any playoff miracles left?  The answer came quickly as leadoff hitter Ray Chubba was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Pinch hitter Cam Tichon singled to center moving Chubba to 2nd.  Tichon was replaced by PR Ryan Pielan and then came what could be considered one of the two decisive plays in the game.  Alex Pepke laid sdown a sac bunt to the 1st base side of the mound. Riggle fielded the ball but decided to make a very difficult play to get Chuba at 3rd.  Chuba slid in safely and now Riggle was in a full blown jam with the bases loaded and no one out.  On a 2-1 count Riggle hit the next batter Cannon to drive in the first Ironmen run and cut the deficit to 2-1.  Donavan grounded to Ali who threw home to force Pielan at the plate and keep the bases loaded with now 1 out.  The second decisive play came next when Rigeros went down swinging but the ball got away from C Kazales-Kelly allowing Pepke to tie the score and then Kazales-Kelly thinking he had to throw to first to get the strikeout completed threw wild into right field which allowed Cannon to come around and score the eventual game winning run.  The throw did not have to be made as the batter was out on the K because the bases were loaded with less than two outs.  So Steel Valley was able to manufacture 3 runs on 1 hit, to HP, a missed opportunity to get a sure out on a sac bunt and a throwing error.   Donavan came out into the bottom of the 7th with a lead to protect and he did a beautiful job of pitching, retiring the side in order and striking out Ali to end the game.  The Ironmen advance to the PIAA playoffs and Keystone Oaks ends its season at 13-5.  Steel Valley will play Mercyhurst Prep the District 10 Champions on June 1 at a site to be determined.

Class A Consolation:  Serra Catholic Eagles 9 – Bishop Canevin Crusaders 2
A seven-run outburst by Serra Catholic in the fourth inning proved to be the deciding factor in the Class A consolation game, as the Eagles scored a 9-2 victory against Bishop Canevin at Ross Memorial Park at Washington and Jefferson College. With the triumph, the Eagles (17-6) qualify for the PIAA postseason. In that frame, Serra Catholic collected six hits, all singles, and the Eagles were aided by three throwing errors by the Crusaders. With the Eagles trailing 2-0, Zac Quattrone led off the fourth with a single to center, and Nathan Piontka followed with a single of his own. After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, Cole McCombs drew a walk to load the bases. Ben Visnesky plated two runs on an opposite-field single, tying the contest. John Fazio followed with a perfectly-placed bunt that went over the head of BC hurler Mitchell Taufer, for an infield single that scored McCombs. Ben Davis continued the hit parade, as his infield single plated Visnesky. The Eagles continued the onslaught in the inning, as Noah Kinser was hit by a pitch, and Parker Janosko’s single drove in two more runs. Staked to a 7-2 lead, McCombs was nearly perfect on the mound for Serra Catholic, as he yielded only one hit in the contest, a fourth-inning singled by Tyler Lampus. The only Bishop Canevin (8-8) runs came in the second, as Serra Catholic centerfielder Marty Slovonic misplayed a fly ball off the bat of Tyler Lampus. Slovonic’s two-base error allowed Justin Dix and Lampus to reach scoring position, and a wild pitch by McCombs plated Dix. Austin Liebro’s ensuing sacrifice fly gave the Crusaders the two-run edge before Serra Catholic took command in the crucial fourth inning. The Eagles added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh to seal the outcome, as McCombs went the distance, striking out eight. Serra Catholic awaits the winner of Wednesday’s contest between Juniata Valley and Blairsville, which will determine the District 6 champion.

SOFTBALL:

Class AAAA Consolation:  Shaler Titans 2 – Baldwin Highlanders 0
To the surprise of no one, the WPIAL Girls Quad-A Softball tournament by and large played out as expected.  All 4 top seeds in the Quad-A bracket reached the semifinals, and Baldwin and Shaler, the #3 and #4 seeds respectively, lost their Final Four games to set up this Consolation matchup with a berth in the PIAA State Playoffs hanging in the balance.  There was not much in the way of offense in this pivotal game, but all of the scoring came from the Lady Titans.  With 1 out in the bottom of the 2nd, 3 straight hits would plate the 1st run, which turned out to be the game-winner.  Jacey Schott singled, Lyndsey Latakos followed with a double, and Hayley Dengler’s RBI single scored Schott to give Shaler a 1-0 lead.  After 2 outs in their next ups, clean-up hitter Bri Dobson drove a Jamie Schleicher pitch out of the yard over the right-centerfield wall to make it a 2-0, Titans’ advantage.  That is all that Shaler starter A-J Nichols would need as she scattered 4 hits and fanned 8 Baldwin Highlanders in her complete-game shutout.  The only consistent threat Baldwin had was Sam Wampler as she went 3 for 3, all doubles.  The Shaler Lady Titans, the defending WPIAL Quad-A Softball Champions, advance to the PIAA State Playoffs with a 2-0 win over the Baldwin Lady Highlanders, whose season comes to a close at 13-5.  Shaler awaits the winner of Thursday night’s Quad-A Championship Game between the Hempfield Spartans and the North Allegheny Tigers, which will emanate from California University of Pennsylvania.  Shaler’s record now stands at 16-5.

Class AAA Consolation:  Trinity Hillers 10 – Southmoreland Scotties 1
Riley Riotto, Olivia Gray and Delaney Elling each drove in three runs as Trinity beat Southmoreland, 10-1, earning a trip to the PIAA Triple-A softball playoffs.  Trinity batted around in the third, scoring four times to take control of the game, then added four more in the fifth frame, capped by Elling’s first-pitch two-run home run to center.  Paige Galentine scattered five hits and walked two in getting the win in the circle.  Riotto grounded out in the second, scoring Hali Justice with the game’s first run.  Kim Dunst singled to open the third and moved to second on a sacrifice before Gray and Elling stroked RBI singles.  Galentine’s single, a fielder’s choice and a walk to Shelby Clemens loaded the bases.  Riotto laced a line drive down the rightfield line, scoring a pair, making it 5-0 and chasing Scotties’ starter Kristen Suhan.  Madi Hornack tripled off Addy Nicholson with one out in the fourth and Gray promptly singled her home.  Riotto singled to open the fifth and moved to second on a sacrifice with two down. Hornack walked and Gray singled up the middle, the ball making it the centerfield fence.  Riotto scored on the hit and Hornack on the outfield error.  Elling homered on the next pitch, chasing Nicholson from the circle.  Caitlyn Troisi held the Hillers to just one hit and one walk the rest of the way.  Southmoreland (13-5) had upset #4 Beaver and #5 Hampton to reach the semifinals, and nearly dropped top-seeded Belle Vernon in the semifinals.  The Scotties avoided the run-rule ending when Briana Bunner doubled home Olivia Porter with two out in the fifth.  Porter had three singles in the game for Frazier.  Suhan and Nicholson were each charged with five runs on five hits.  Trinity (17-5) has won five of the last six after going 1-3 in a mid-season skid.  The Hillers, who’ve lost only to Yough in the WPIAL semifinals since the end of April, head to Erie Monday to face District 10 champion Warren in the PIAA First Round.

Class AA Consolation:  Seton-LaSalle Rebels 5 – Steel Valley Ironmen 3 in 8 Innings
At North Allegheny High School in WPIAL AAAA consolation softball the Seton La Salle Rebels win 5-3 over the Steel Valley Ironmen 5-3 and earn the right to move on to the PIAA state sooftball playoffs. The Rebels had the early lead as they were able to score a run in the top of the first on an error, a single, then an RBI double by Lexi Wagner. Threatening with runners on 2nd and 3rd and no out Seton looked to have a huge advantage. But Steel Valley turned a vicious line drive out into a double play, nearly missing a triple play to get out of the first inniing trailing only 1-0. Seton would plate two more runs in the top of the 2nd on three hits and a walk. The key hit was a 2 RBI double by Dani Dadig. The Rebels had senior pitcher Lauren Zola on the mound and she was in control early but the Iron Men started to chip away at the lead. An error then an RBI triple by star catcher Chelsea Rohan scored a run in  the 3rd to cut it to 3-1 though Steel Valley stranded 3 runners. Then in the 4th with the bases loaded Seton chose to pitch around Rohan walking in a run. The strategy worked and two more runners were stranded but the lead was just one at 3-2. The Iron Men would strand eight runners thru the first 4 innings. With the score 3-2 in the bottom of the 7th inning a lead off walk brought Rohan to the plate.This time the Rebels chose to pitch to her and she ripped a double to tie the game at 3-3, barely missing a HR to win the game. After an error and a stolen base there were runners at second and third with no one out. The Iron Men had three at bats to win the game and failed. Zola pitched out of trouble and the game went to extra innings. In the top of the 8th inning the Rebels scored two runs  on three singles and an error to go up 5-3. Then Zola shut down the Iron Men in the 8th to get the win and  continue their season. Steel Valley ends their season at 9-8.  They bring back their whole team as they had no seniors. Rohan had two hits and 3 RBI to lead them. The Rebels improve to 16-1 and will play the winner of Martinsburg Central and Marion Center next week in the PIAA state playoffs.  Zola went 8 innings for the win, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits, she struck out 9, and walked 5. She also had two hits. Jada Simon went 3 for 4 with 3 singles to lead the Rebel hitting attack.

Class A Consolation:  Bishop Canevin Crusaders 3 – Frazier Commodores 2
Alex Parra lined a three-run home run in the bottom of the second and Kylee Sonson made it stand up as Bishop Canevin topped Frazier to claim a berth in the PIAA Class A Softball tournament.  The Crusaders survived six errors, three dropped fly balls and three mishandled grounders, to eliminate the #2 Commodores.  The Crusaders trailed 1-0 when Hayley Pilch singled to open the second.  Rianna Conway walked and Parra followed with her third home run of the season.  Frazier scored in the top of the first inning, taking advantage of a dropped fly ball.  Monica Joseph scored on a single by Alexis Eicher.  In the third, Eicher reached third on another dropped fly ball in the outfield, then scored on a line drive sacrifice fly to left.  Sonson then held Frazier (14-3) to just three hits the rest of the way, two coming with two outs in the seventh.  The Commodores had chances, runners reaching base with one out in the fifth, nobody out in the sixth, both on booted grounders.  The righthander struck out eight in the game, three in those two innings.  Back-to-back two-out hits raised the Crusaders heart rate before the game ended, fittingly, on a fly out to centerfielder, Amy Calabrese, who misplayed Joseph’s fly in the first.  Eicher had two hits and Joseph had a double for Frazier while Paige Hotz took the loss, allowing three runs and eight hits over six innings.  The Commodores went to the WPIAL semifinals 14-1 but back-to-back losses ends their season.  Sonson and Rachel Rittelmann each had two hit for the Crusaders.  Bishop Canevin (9-6) is 5-5 in the last 10 games after a 4-1 start to the season,  The Crusaders will play District 10 champion Cochranton in Monday’s opening round in the Erie area.

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