WPIAL Class A baseball championship preview: Riverview vs. Union
Monday, May 31, 2021 | 12:26 PM
1:30 p.m. Tuesday at Wild Things Park, Washington
Road to the finals
• Union — The Scotties have plowed through their competition in the Class A bracket. After receiving a first-round bye as the fourth seed, they took down a promising Our Lady of the Sacred Heart team 5-1. Then, after their regular-season contest was postponed, the Scotties took down No. 1 Eden Christian, 12-1, to punch their ticket to the WPIAL championship game.
• Riverview — The Raiders are heading to the WPIAL title game for the first time in 20 years, and they accomplished the feat in exciting fashion. They knocked off No. 10 Avella, 7-2, in the first round, then upset No. 2 Greensburg Central Catholic in the quarterfinals 6-2. The Raiders continued their hot streak with a 12-2 victory over No. 6 Jefferson Morgan in the semifinals.
Secret to their success
• Union — Ever since a 6-1 loss to OLSH on April 20, the Scotties have been on fire, winning five straight and only allowing 10 runs, five of which came in a 9-5 victory over Cornell. They’ve only allowed two runs throughout the playoffs, and Tyler Staub has been at the center of it. He drove in four runs against Eden Christian in the semifinals and hit a double and a triple. He also didn’t give up an earned run in six innings of work on the mound. Nick and Jake Vitale have been important for the Scotties, as well, as two of their top hitters.
• Riverview — An aggressive approach, timely hitting and confidence have been key for the Raiders. Bill Gras’ Riverview team has grown up in front of his eyes, and after a few big wins, the Raiders are as confident as ever. Pitchers Vince Shook and Enzo Lio have been at the center of it as they’ve allowed six runs combined throughout the playoffs. Ryan Aber, Taylor Zellefrow, Alexio Ciorra and Luke Migely have been instrumental at the plate. Zellefrow hit a two-run homer against Avella, drove in three runs against GCC and doubled against Jefferson Morgan.
• Union — Close but no golden cigar for the Scotties lately. This will be the third straight trip to the WPIAL Class A baseball championship game, and they still are searching for that elusive first district title. Union lost to Vincentian Academy, 6-1, in the 2018 Class A finals and to California, 9-6, in the 2019 title game. The Scotties become the fourth school to appear in three straight WPIAL Class A baseball title games following Greensburg Central Catholic (2015-17), Neshannock (2010-12) and Carmichaels (2003-05).
• Riverview — This is the second WPIAL championship game appearance for the Raiders. The last trip was 20 years ago, when Riverview lost to California, 7-2, in 2001. The Raiders just missed making the finals when they lost to eventual champion California in the 1983 WPIAL semifinals 6-4. However, Riverview had the last laugh when it beat Schuylkill Haven, 4-3, to win the 1983 PIAA Class AA baseball championship.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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