WPIAL Baseball and Softball Playoff Recaps for Wednesday 5/20
Thursday, May 21, 2015 | 1:33 AM
The Final Four. The winners reach a major goal and earn a spot in a WPIAL championship game. The losers have to deal with a dream dashed and yet still prepare for a consolation game and a berth in the upcoming state playoffs. Here are summaries from all eight baseball and the one softball Semifinals contest played on Wednesday.
A special thanks to Don Rebel, Jason Tennant, Sean Meyers, Steve Nagler, Lee Mohn, Lou Rood, Scott Majesky, Mike Azadian and Josh Rowntree for their help on these recaps.
WPIAL CLASS AAAA Semifinals:
Norwin Knights 3 – Bethel Park Black Hawks 0
How do you follow up back-to-back shutouts in the postseason? How about a third straight blanking? Norwin pitchers continue to dominate these 2015 Quad-A playoffs and now they are one win away from a district championship following a 2-0 victory Wednesday over Bethel Park 3-0 at the Boyce-Mayview Complex in Upper St. Clair. Norwin blanked North Allegheny 1-0 in Round One and 7-0 over Mount Lebanon in the Quarterfinals thanks to the pitching of John Driggers. Now it was junior Nick Amendola’s turn to spin a gem, as he held Bethel Park to 3 hits with no walks and 4 strikeouts in seven innings work. It looked like the Black Hawks were going to strike first in the top of the first when leadoff hitter John Scarsella was hit by a pitch and stole second base. But Norwin catcher Mike Rossi came up big with a strong throw to shortstop Dan Kiester to pick off Scarsella. One out later, Joe Zufall singled and was gunned out again by Rossi trying to steal to end a crazy top of the first. Norwin scored twice in the third inning when Bobby Svec singled, was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Ray Belchick and scored on a Reno Rainey single to right. Rainey then scored on a double to leftcenter by Ethan Sikora. The Knights added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Vinnie Shoff singled, stole second and scored on a base hit by Kiester. Pitt recruit Corey Augenstein suffered the loss as Bethel Park falls to 13-8 and will face Shaler in the Class AAAA Consolation game. Norwin has outscored their opponents 11-0 in this postseason and will now face Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the 2015 Quad-A title game.
Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings 6 – Shaler Titans 2 in 9 Innings
No. 6 Central Catholic (11-7) scored two runs in the 7th inning to tie the game and four runs in the 9th inning to come away with a 6-2 win over No. 10 Shaler (17-5) in the WPIAL AAAA Semifinals on Wednesday night at North Allegheny High School. The win moves the Vikings into the WPIAL Baseball Championship Game for the first time since 1979, when Dan Marino led the team to the title game. Central Catholic will battle No. 9 Norwin for the title either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Shaler would hop out to a 2-0 lead on a pair of run-scoring bunts in the 5th inning, as Adam Zulka and Noah Hernandez would execute squeeze plays to perfection. The 2-0 score would hold until the top of the 7th inning, when the Vikings would chase Shaler starter Gavin Cannon, who lasted six innings, allowing two runs on four hits, while striking out ten batters, walking five and hitting three more with pitches. Central Catholic would load the bases with no outs on a pair of hits and a walk before Ryan Sproule would bring a run in by being hit by a pitch. The wildness would force out Cannon and would bring in Sam Ireland to pitch. The first batter that Ireland would see would be Oklahoma recruit Dom Derenzo, who would plate a run via a sacrifice fly, tying the game at 2-2 and forcing extra innings. In the 9th inning, Central Catholic would chase Ireland. The Vikings would be walked twice and have a batter hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Derenzo. The Senior catcher would line a pitch to right field, scoring Antonio Falbo and giving the Vikings the decisive lead. On the play, Chase Trautman would come in to score during a rundown, extending the lead to 4-2. Two batter later, Pat Ferguson would plate two more runs on a triple off of the right field wall, giving the Vikings the 6-2 final score. Jack Tumulty started for Central Catholic, allowing two runs on four hits in six innings of work. Joel Shaffer picked up the win in relief, giving up just one hit and striking out five batters in three innings of work, including getting out of a bases loaded jam in the 8th inning. Noah Seelhorst led the Titans offensively with three hits and a run scored. The Titans’ season will continue though, as Shaler will take on No. 13 Bethel Park in the WPIAL Consolation Game next week. The news was not all good on the night for the Vikings however. Senior second baseman and St. Vincent recruit Nick LaCava was ejected from the game after arguing a strike call in the 9th inning and, by rule, will not be permitted to play in the WPIAL Championship Game next week.
WPIAL CLASS AAA Semifinals:
West Allegheny Indians 4 – Chartiers Valley Colts 3
West Allegheny defeated #1 ranked Chartiers Valley 4-3 on Wednesday and will now move on to face Knoch in the championship game next week. The Indians jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single from Colin Claus. West Allegheny would make it 2-0 when Matt Starkman would hit an RBI single in the 2nd inning. The Colts cut the lead in half when Brady Gulakowski would knock in Nick Kane in the 3rd. The score would stay that way until the 7th. West Allegheny tacked on two insurance runs getting an RBI single from Brandon Pouch and a perfectly executed suicide squeeze from Nick Wiethorn to make the score 4-1. The Colts would not go down quietly. Chartiers Valley would load the bases with no outs after a single and two walks. Cole Horew knocked in one run on a fielders choice then Brady Gulakowski hit a double just inside the first base bag to put runners at second and third with one out. Pitcher Colin Claus struck out Dante Panucci for the 2nd out then after an intentional walk to load the bases Claus was able to get Steve Alauzen to ground out to end the game. Conner Claus was the winning pitcher giving up 5 hits and striking out eight. Jake Ritson was the tough luck loser giving up eight hits and striking out five. Chartiers Valley will no play Montour next week for the right to qualify for the PIAA playoffs.
Knoch Knights 2 – Montour Spartans 0
A pitcher’a duel would be the best way to describe this Class AAA semi final clash between The Montour Spartans and the Knoch Knights. For the Spartens Brain Dabney went 6IP 2ER 3K 1BB. However his opponent Alex Stobert tossed a CG Shutout in which he struck out 2 and scattered 2 hits through his days work. Knoch scored both of their runs in the second inning when Jordan Kowalski lead off with a single then and RBI double by Asa Adams drove him in. Adams came around to score on a Addis Crouch single. For the Spartans the two hits belonged to Frankie Guerra.
WPIAL CLASS AA Semifinals:
Quaker Valley Quakers 3 – Keystone Oaks Golden Eagles 2
In the WPIAL AA baseball semi finals at North Allegheny High School the 5th seed Quaker Valley Quakers go to extra innings to beat the top seeded Keystone Oaks Golden Eagles 3-2. They will face the Neshannock Lancers in the AA Championship Next Tuesday or Wedensday at Consol Energy Park in Washington PA. The Quakers scored in the top of the first as Chris Tanabe led off getting hit by a pitch and his brother Alex up next, walked. A one out walk loaded the bases and John Medich hit a sacrifice fly for an RBI and a 1-0 lead. Tyler Garbee followed with an RBI single and it was 2-0 QV. After that Keystone Oaks pitcher Ben Canty was fantastic going only 3 batters over the minimum in the next 6 innings. Quaker pitcher John Medich was as good, but gave up single runs in the 2nd and 5th inning. A walk a wild pitch and a single brought KO back to only a 2-1 deficit in the 2nd, then a single, 2 wild pitches, and a sacrifice fly tied it at 2-2 in the 5th inning. Canty retired 10 in a row from the end of the 4th thru the 7th, Medich would put down 9 in a row from the 5th thru 7th. The run of success for both starters ended in the top of the 8th as the Quakers would get an Adam Pilewicz lead off single, Peyton Rusiniello would sacrifice him to 2nd base, then Tyler Garbee with two outs would single to give QV the 3-2 lead. Medich would easily retire the side in the 8th to preserve the QV win. Canty took the tough loss for the Eagles going 8 innings, scattering 6 hits, walking 2, striking out 7, and hitting a batter. Medich gets the win for the Quakers going 8 innings, giving up 2 runs, striking out 4, walking 2, and throwing 4 wild pitches. Colin Jackovic, Adam Pilewicz, and Garbee all had 2 singles to lead the QV hitiing attack. Keystone Oaks will play Steel Valley in a comsolation game for the right to go to the PIAA state playoffs in a game either next Tuesday or Wedensday.
Neshannock Lancers 10 – Steel Valley Ironmen 2
The Steel Valley Ironmen’s attempt at back-to-back Class AA Baseball Championships came to an end at Ross Memorial Park in Washington County on Thursday as they fell to the Neshannock Lancers by the score of 10-2. Steel Valley would score first in their half of the first inning as they strung four consecutive singles together against Lancers’ starter Frank Fraschetti. Jesse Cantley’s single scored Brandon Donovan but the Ironment would leave the bases loaded in the inning. The lead wouldn’t last long as the Lancers scored a pair of runs in the 2nd inning off of Ironmen starter, Jesse Cantley. Jeff Sanflippo’s two-out 2B scored courtesy runner Tyler Perry and then Sanflippo would come around to score on a throwing error by Cantley, giving the Lancers a lead that they would not relinquish. The Lancers scored two more runs in the top of the 3rd inning, giving them a 4-1 lead and just when Steel Valley scored a single run in the bottom half of the 6th inning to cut the lead to two runs, the Lancers broke things open in the top of the 7th inning by scoring 6 runs to salt away the victory. Fraschetti got the win for Neshannock as he pitched 6.1 innings, giving up 10 hits and two runs both of which were earned. Fraschetti would strike out six Ironmen on the afternoon. With the win, the Lancers advance to a familiar place, Consol Energy Park, where they will face Greensburg Central Catholic in hopes of taking down their 6th WPIAL Baseball Championship.
WPIAL CLASS A Semifinals:
California Trojans 6 – Serra Catholic Eagles 4
The defending WPIAL Class A Baseball Champion California Trojans were looking to return to the Championship game as they took on Serra Catholic at Ross Memorial Park in Washington, PA in the semifinals. The game matched the #1 seeded Trojans against the #5 seeded Eagles. On paper it looked to be a close and exciting matchup and in reality it became just that. California, who had a first round bye, entered the game fresh off of a 3-1 victory over Western Beaver. Serra Catholic defeated Bentworth in the first round 2-1 and Jeanette 4-3 in the quarterfinals to make it the semis. California starting pitcher Chris Swartz set Serra down in order in the first inning, then the Trojans quickly took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st when leadoff hitter Louden Conte was hit with the opening pitch of the game, stole 2nd, moved to 3rd on Nathaniel Luketich’s single to right, and scored on a wild pitch from starter Zach Quattrone. Neither team scored in the 2nd inning. After setting down Serra in order again in the 3rd, the Trojans exploded for 5 runs in the bottom of the inning. Paul Peters led it off with a single to right, stole 2nd and scored the second run of the game on an error. The Trojans tallied four more runs after that on 4 more hits an error, and a wild pitch to take a 6-0 lead into the 4th inning. Conte, John DeFranco, Luketich, and Casey Zajicek got the hits and Luketich picked up 1 RBI on his single and Zajicek 2 RBI’s on his double. Serra refused to give up even though down 6 and answered quickly in the top of the 4th scoring 3 runs on 4 hits and 1 California error. Ben Visnesky picked up an RBI on his single to left and Jake Eged added another RBI with a Sacrifice Fly. Serra brought Visnesky into pitch in the bottom of the 4th and he proceeded to shut down the Trojan offense retiring the next 9 batters in a row. With California’s offense neutralized Serra went back to work trying to cut into the 3 run deficit. Sophomore Drake Johnson relieved Swartz and kept the Eagles off the board in the 5th but ran into trouble in the 6th giving up another run on 3 hits before Louden Conte came in from SS to take over the pitching duties and put out the Serra fire. Conte pitched the final 1 and 1/3 innings to record the save, not allowing a hit. Starting pitcher Chris Swartz got the win after pitching the first 4 innings and Zach Quattrone took the loss for Serra. Serra will now play Bishop Canevin who lost to Greensburg Central Catholic to determine the 3rd place team from the WPIAL for the PIAA state tournament. California will match up with GCC in the Championship game at Consol Energy Field. Both teams automatically qualify for the state tournament. California now runs its record to 19-1 on the season while Serra falls to 16-6.
Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 4 – Bishop Canevin Crusaders 3
Down to their final out in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions pulled off an improbable comeback to score a 4-3 walk-off victory against Bishop Canevin at West Mifflin High School. The second-seeded Centurions trailed 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth, but plated two runs in that frame to pull within striking distance, and then used a two-out rally in their final at-bat, capped off by a defensive miscue by the Crusaders, to advance to the Class A Championship. In that seventh inning, Bishop Canevin pitcher Mitchell Taufer retired the first two Centurions he faced, pulling his team within a single out of a title game appearance. Kyle Stack kept the GCC hopes alive, though, with a single to left field, and Cole Reese followed with another hit to left. JP Pellis took over on the base paths for Stack, and aggressively moved to third on a wild pitch from Taufer. On the ensuing pitch, Reese swiped second, which put two runners into scoring position for Tommy Pellis. Pellis hit a slow roller to third base, and Bishop Canevin’s Justin Dix charged and fired across to first. His throw was not in time, though, and the ball eluded Crusaders’ first basemen Nathan Jancosko, who was injured on the play. Pellis crossed home to deadlock the game momentarily, and with Jancosko lying prone on the field, the Crusaders could not retrieve the ball quickly enough, as Reese raced home to score the winning run. Until that point, the No. 14 Crusaders held the lead for the entire game, as Bishop Canevin’s Giovanni DeMarzo led the game off with a double, and scored later in the inning on a Sam Smallhoover sacrifice fly. With Taufer and GCC pitcher Neil McDermott both pitching effectively, neither team could produce offense until the sixth. In that stanza, Bishop Canevin plated two insurance runs, as Smallhoover was hit by a pitch, and Taufer followed with a single. With two outs, Dix delivered a two-run triple to chase McDermott from the hill, but reliever Kyle Stack stranded Dix at third to keep the Centurions’ deficit at 3-0. In the bottom of the sixth, the GCC offense finally came to life, as Tommy Pellis drew a one out walk, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Collin Liberatore’s subsequent single scored Pellis, and Liberatore later scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of Jack Liberatore, setting the stage for the dramatic final inning. With the triumph, Greensburg Central Catholic will play for the championship next week at Consol Energy Field, while Bishop Canevin will look to regroup in the consolation game at W&J Field.
WPIAL CLASS A Semifinals:
Jefferson-Morgan Rockets 8 – Frazier Commodores 1
The Jefferson-Morgan Rockets scored early and often and did it with the long ball as they advanced to the WPIAL Championship Game with an 8-1 win over Frazier. The Rockets hit 4 homeruns in the first 3 innings, including a very emotional one from Camryn Dugan, whose father’s funeral is tomorrow. Dugan pointed to the sky as she approached home plate after the solo shot to lead off the third inning. Morgan Simkovic started the scoring for the Rockets with a 2-run homerun in the top of the first after Reagan Rush walked and Dugan singled. It would’ve been a 3-run shot, but Rush was tagged out trying to go to third on the Dugan single. Rush went down with a minor injury before the tag was applied, but stayed in the game. The 9-hitter in the order, Morgan Gamble hit a 2-out 2-run dinger in the second inning, and they scored another 2 in the third inning as Madison Dupont followed up Dugan’s homer with a 2-out solo homerun of her own. The Rockets were cruising offensively as was pitcher Maddie Ludrosky, who faced the minimum amount of Frazier hitters through 3 innings, striking out 2 in each of those first three innings. Frazier got on the board in the fourth inning when Kelsey Holp hit a 2-out RBI single to drive in Monica Joseph, who had led off the inning with a double. Ludrosky still recorded three strikeouts that inning, as she did in the sixth after allowing a lead off single to Alexis Eicher. The Rockets added two more runs in the sixth when Gamble hit her second and the Jefferson-Morgan’s fifth homerun and then Simkovic singled in Kayla Yorko, who was running for Rush, after a 1-out double. Ludrosky was dominating in the win with 15 strikeouts, allowing only the one run on five hits. The loss went to Paige Hotz. She allowed the 8 runs on 11 hits, walked 2 and struck out one. Jefferson-Morgan will take on the Chartiers-Houston/Bishop Canevin winner next Thursday for the WPIAL title.
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