Yough uses powerful offense to rout Keystone Oaks in 3A baseball playoffs

Thursday, May 18, 2023 | 9:15 PM

Carson Pasinski picked a great time to earn his first victory on the mound.

The Yough senior allowed two runs, one earned, over five-plus innings, and senior shortstop Gavin Roebuck drove in four runs as the third-seeded Cougars rolled over Keystone Oaks, 12-2, in a WPIAL Class 3A first-round game at Norwin.

The Cougars (16-5) broke open a close game with four runs in the fifth inning and added five more in the sixth inning to end the game via the mercy rule.

Yough will face sixth-seeded Neshannock (16-4), which rallied to defeat Shady Side Academy, 6-5, at a time, date and place to be decided.

Keystone Oaks took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Roman Keaney singled home Ty Serakowski, who reached on an error.

Yough got that run back in the bottom of the inning when James Shoman walked on four pitches, swiped second and scored on single by Matt Sanner.

Pasinski settled down and retired 13 of the next 14 batters. Only Jack Krivnak reached base — on an error — during the span. Pasinski struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter.

“We don’t look as Carson as our No. 3,” Yough coach Dan Palm said. “He pitched against some of our tougher nonsection games. He pitched well enough to win games. He’s battle tested. We had all the confidence in him.”

Yough grabbed a 3-1 lead in the third inning when Shoman singled and Roebuck launched a two-run homer.

“We were pretty confident that we would get to their pitcher eventually, but it wasn’t happening early,” Palm said. “But Gavin’s hit was really big to get the lead. If he doesn’t do that, we might have struggled. That’s never a good position to be in.”

Roebuck said he tried to call time, but the umpire didn’t grant it to him.

“I got tired of waiting for the pitcher, so I tried to call time,” Roebuck said. “I’m glad he didn’t. The home run boosted the team.

“I knew I hit it good. He hung a curveball. When I saw the left fielder turn his back, I knew it had a chance to leave the park. I gave us a boost.”

With two outs in the top of the fifth inning, Keystone Oaks got a double by Krivnak and an RBI infield single by Serakowski to trim the lead to 3-2.

But Yough responded in a big way in the bottom of the fifth. Shoman, who scored four runs and had three hits, singled to left. With two outs, Roebuck walked and Zander Aird followed with an RBI single to left that scored Shoman and sent Roebuck to third.

Aird swiped second, and Pasinski helped his own cause with a two-run single to right.

“We had a couple little things that didn’t go our way,” Keystone Oaks coach Nick Riggle said. “Our center fielder let a ball fall in, and it ended up being four runs. It kind of put the game out of reach.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more from the team through five plus innings. We just didn’t play a complete game.”

Keystone Oaks (4-14) ended the season on an 11-game losing streak.

Freshman Nate Bell relieved Pasinski with two on and two outs in the sixth inning. Bell allowed an infield single to load the bases, but he struck out Ben Krivnak to end Keystone Oaks’ final threat.

Yough ended the game with five runs in the bottom of the sixth. Roebuck had a two-run double, and Sanner, Aird and Blake Ulander had RBI singles.

Sanner and Roebuck had two hits each, and Aird, Pasinski and Ulander had two RBIs each.

Palm said his team handled the close proximity of the Cougars’ softball well well. Yough was playing Southmoreland in a playoff game across the parking lot, and the Cougars rallied to take a late lead only to fall in the final inning.

“Looking back, I heard some talk and chatter about the score between innings,” Palm said. “I didn’t expect that because they were so focused coming. I knew they were focused when they were playing.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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