WPIAL Class A baseball final preview: California vs. Union

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Monday, May 27, 2019 | 7:54 PM


WPIAL Class A baseball championship

No. 1 California (17-1) vs. No. 3 Union (15-3)

5 p.m. Tuesday at Wild Things Park

Coaches: Lou Pasquale, California; Bill Sanders, Union

Players to watch: Jacob Swartz, Sr., P, California; Nate Meeks, Jr., SS, Union

WPIAL titles: California 5 (1983, 2001, ‘06, ‘14, ‘17); Union 0

How they got here: California had a first-round bye; defeated No. 8 Eden Christian, 9-6, in the quarterfinals; and beat No. 4 Quigley Catholic, 3-1, in the semifinals. Union had a first-round bye; defeated No. 11 St. Joseph, 7-6, in the quarterfinals; and beat No. 2 Vincentian Academy, 6-1, in the semifinals.

Extra bases: Section 2 champion California played in back-to-back finals in 2014-15, defeating Carmichaels to win the ‘14 title in Class A. The Trojans lost to Greensburg Central Catholic the next year. They then beat Freedom in the 2017 finals in Class 2A before dropping down this season. Swartz is batting .467 with a team-high 28 runs scored. Sophomore Payton Conte is hitting .400 with 22 RBIs, while sophomore Jacob Piktel has knocked in 25 runs. Swartz (6-0) has a 1.13 ERA with 48 strikeouts, and senior Nathan Zemany is 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA and 28 strikeouts. … Union, which was the WPIAL runner-up a year ago, won the Section 1 title with an 11-1 mark. The Scotties have outscored opponents 162-68. They have won 14 of their past 15 games. Meeks is batting .540 this season with 18 RBIs and seven doubles. Union’s potent lineup also features senior Seth Pinkerton (.509), junior Tyler Benedict (.453) and junior Brayden Porter (.422).

PIAA tournament: The winner will play the District 5 runner-up in the PIAA first round. The losing team will play the District 6 champion. Both games will be June 3.

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