On a day when many fan had Stanley Cup dancing in their heads, six WPIAL baseball and softball teams were thinking about just taking a second step toward state gold. While eight of those teams were successful and will play more ball next week, four saw their season end on Thursday, including previously unbeaten Riverside in softball and defending state AA champ Neshannock in baseball. Here are the recaps from the PIAA Quarterfinals in both baseball and softball on Thursday.
A special thanks to Lee Mohn, Sean Meyers, Mike Azadian, Mark Schaas, Todd Brown, Bob Gregg, Jason Tennant and Jake Holmes for their help on these recaps.
PIAA CLASS AAAA Quarterfinals:
PLUM MUSTANGS 5 – HEMPFIELD SPARTANS 0
If there was any doubt that Plum could rebound from its shocking setback in the WPIAL Championship game, the Mustangs put those concerns to rest on Thursday with an impressive triumph against Hempfield Area. The Mustangs scored four times in the second inning, and cruised to a 5-0 victory against their WPIAL foe in the quarterfinals of the PIAA Quad-A playoffs at Fox Chapel High School. The contest began with two of the first three Spartans reaching base courtesy of walks by Plum’s Ryan Kircher. Hempfield cleanup hitter Matt Tarabek grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play, though, as the Mustangs (24-1) escaped the early jeopardy. From that point forward, Plum excelled in all phases of the game. In the bottom of the second, Plum’s Justin Sembower and Mike Anderson delivered consecutive singles. After two straight outs, including a sacrifice bunt, the Mustangs loaded the bases as Hempfield issued an intentional walk to Alex Kirilloff. Taylor Vivino made the Spartans (18-8) pay, though, as he delivered a single to left to plate the first run. Alexander Terrell followed with a two-run single to center field, and Ethan Winesburgh added another hit, an infield single, to plate the fourth run of the stanza. Plum added another run in the third, as Vivino contributed a two-out single that scored Jason Maltese. That run support was more than enough for Kircher, who worked five innings, allowing just two hits, with eight strikeouts. Ethan Winesburgh came in relief for the Mustangs, providing two strong innings to seal the shutout. While the pitching and defense was paramount, the Mustangs received offensive contributions from Terrell, who had three hits, while Winesburgh, Vivino and Anderson all had a pair of hits. Kirilloff, playing for Plum instead of attending the MLB draft, also singled and scored a run. For Hempfield, Zayne Zalich was tagged with the loss, as he was unable to escape trouble in the second inning. Charlie Varriano delivered two of the Spartans’ three hits. Via the victory, Plum advances to the PIAA semifinals, to be played on Monday at a time and location to be determined.
PIAA CLASS AA Quarterfinals:
RIVERSIDE PANTHERS 1 – Moniteau Warriors 0
Riverside pitched their sixth consecutive shutout this post season defeating Moniteau 1-0 in a game that took only one hour to play. This time Michael Boswell was the winning pitcher striking out eight and walking three in the complete game performance. Riverside scored the only run they needed in the 4th inning. Chris Cicchinelli singeld with two outs, moved to second on a passed ball then was singled home by Braden Bentlel. Riverside will now move on to the Western finals on Monday to face Bishop McCort or Neshannock. A special thanks to Derek Pyda from the Butler Eagle for providing statistics.
Bishop McCort Crimson Crushers 2 – NESHANNOCK LANCERS 1
There will be a new state champion in Class AA as the Neshannock Lancers were knocked off by District 6 foe, Bishop McCort on Thursday afternoon by way of a 2-1 final. The Lancers began their day promising with back to back singles to lead off the contest by Rich Serignese and Jason Swope. Both later advanced on a double steal which set the table for pitcher, Frank Frashetti who laid down a bunt and scored Serignese to open the scoring early. Bishop McCort couldn’t take advantage on opportunities in the first two frames however in the third the Crushers were able to break through and tie the game after Blake Wade hit a fly ball to right field and scored Logan Kasper from third. Neshannock could not solve Billy Wilson for the rest of the game. Wilson retired 14 straight Lancers from the first through the fifth inning until Josh Gray picked up the third hit of the game for the Lancers, while the remainer of the inning went quietly. In the bottom half of the fifth, Boston Bradley struck out to begin the inning. However, a passed ball allowed Bradley to advance to first. After a sacrifice advanced Bradley to second, Blake Wade came through with a huge RBI single which scored the eventual game winner. Things almost got interesting in the top of the sixth when Frashetti delivered a two out single to centerfield with Swope at second. Kasper played the liner off one hop and delivered a bullet to home in time to retire Swope and put a nail in the coffin. Bishop McCort moves on to take on District 7 champion Riverside on Monday who will be headed to Penn State University for the championship game, while the former champs in Neshannock will be headed home.
PIAA CLASS A Quarterfinals:
SERRA CATHOLIC EAGLES 3 – Rocky Grove Orioles 1
The Serra Catholic Eagles come from behind to win a tight close pitchers duel by a score of 3-1 over the Rocky Grove Cardinals in PIAA State single A baseball quarterfinal action. In a game that took one hour and 27 minutes it didn’t take long to see that it would be a pitchers duel. Serra’s Ben Visnesky allowed 2 hits and 3 walks thru 5 innings. The Cardinals ace Travis Perry allowed 2 hits and 4 walks thru 5 innings pitched. He did not allow a runner past 1st base, and benefited from his defense throwing out a would be Serra runner trying to steal 2nd, and picking off a runner off 1st base. The first 5 innings were done in just over 1 hour. The 6th inning is when the game changed. Rocky Grove would score to make it 1-0, but in doing so may have lost the game as well. Perry would single with 1 out. As a pitcher he’s allowed a courtesy runner. But the Cardinal’s kept him on base. Serra would throw 10 times to try to pick him off. Then a balk moved him to 2nd base. After 2 outs Brady Wilson hit a grounder to short stop. As Perry ran in front of the Eagle infielder, he misjudged the bounce and it bounced off his glove into centerfield to score the runner. It was 1-0 Rocky Grove. Being on base that long, and running hurt Perry as in the bottom of the 6th he would walk the 1st batter on 4 pitches. Then Ryan Anselmino failed to bunt, but with 2 strikes hit a single. After a Sac bunt, Jason Cerniglia hit a 2 RBI single to give Serra the lead. After another sac bunt, Ben Bowen hit an RBI single to give the Eagles the 3-1 lead. Visnesky would easily shut down the Cards in the top of the 7th to earn the win. He went 7 innings, allowed 1 run, on 3 hits, 3 walks, and he struck out 2. He allowed only 7 baserunners. Jake Eged went 2 for 3 with 2 singles for the Eagles. Perry was the hard luck loser for the Cardinals going 5 2/3 innings, giving up 3 runs, on 5 hits, walking 5 and striking out 4. Serra improves to 24-2 on the year and will face Vincentian Academy in the PIAA semi finals on Monday June 13th at a site and time to be determined.
VINCENTIAN ACADEMY ROYALS 4 – Southern Fulton Indians 3 in 8 Innings
Anthony Milicia delivered an 8th inning RBI single to clinch a 4-3 win over Southern Fulton at Mt. Aloysius College in Cresson. Nick Kempa picked up his second straight State playoff win, pitching two scoreless innings. Garret Barto went 3-4 for the Royals, who progress to the PIAA semi-finals for a rematch with Serra Catholic on Monday.
PIAA CLASS AAAA Quarterfinals:
HEMPFIELD SPARTANS 8 – Erie McDowell Trojans 0
The two time defending WPIAL champions are headed back to the PIAA semifinals after a convincing win at Slippery Rock University. The Spartans have now won 12 straight games and left little doubt on their march towards state gold. Junior Morgan Ryan started the scoring off in the bottom of the 1st with a 2 run double. Sophomore Madison Stoner added her own run scoring double and a 3-0 lead. That advantage doubled as junior Jenna Osikowicz crushed a 2 run double, Ryan grounded out to bring home another run as the Spartans led 6-0. Ryan did the job in the circle for her 21st win. The Notre Dame recruit no hit the Trojans over the 1st 4 innings, she allowed 2 hits and fanned 9 for a season total of 179. She was not done at the plate, belting her 6th homer, a solo shot to lead off the 5th. The Spartans added a run in the 6th for the final tally. Hempfield is now 23-2. Ryan was 2-3 and drove in 4 runs. Liberty recruit Taylor Hoffman had 2 hits and scored twice. Ali Belgiovane also added 2 hits. McDowell saw an 11 game winning streak come to an end. The Trojans finish at 18-4, they have won 8 straight District 10 crowns but have had little success in the states. Freshman Rachel Marsden took the loss, she finishes her first season with 131 strikeouts.
PIAA CLASS AAA Quarterfinals:
YOUGH COUGARS 13 – Bellefonte Red Raiders 3
Alona Sleith stroked a bases-loaded triple, part of a six-run second inning, as Yough downed Bellefonte, 13-3, in six innings Thursday. Kierra Waywood, Aubrie Mance and Allie Harvey delivered RBI singles and Sleith drive to the fence in left center cleared the bases, putting the Cougars up 8-0. Bellefonte used a Tara Baney triple and a wild pitch to get on the board in the third. Jordan Rockey’s bases-loaded single in the fourth plated two more. But Yough added runs in every inning, scoring on a wild pitch in the third, RBI singles from Olivia Miller and Mance in the fourth and fifth, and the game ender coming in on a passed ball. Sleith had three hits and scored twice. Mance, Harvey and Hailey Warrick had two apiece. Macy Mularski got the complete-game victory, allowing the three runs on seven hits, one walk and six strikeouts. Baney took the loss, allowing all 13 runs, 9 earned on 13 hits and three walks as Bellefonte finished the season 17-7. WPIAL runner-up Yough (20-3) faces District 3 champion Donegal in Monday’s semifinal at a site/time to be announced.
Donegal Indians 6 – WEST ALLEGHENY INDIANS 5
Five errors allowed Donegal to plate five unearned runs in the first three innings, too much of a hill for West Allegheny to overcome as the District 3 champions won the PIAA quarterfinal matchup, 6-5. Donegal (22-5) took advantage of each opportunity handed to it to build a 6-2 lead after 2 1/2 innings. In the first, a two-out grounder was mishandled. Mikyla Yoder followed with a soft single to left and Natalie Orr walked to load the bases. Kaitlyn Witmer singled home a pair, giving Donegal a 2-0 lead. West A (20-3) answered quickly. Brooke Wilson singled and scored on a Lexi Cogis double to the fence in left-center. Mackenzie Partyka hit a bloop single, then stole second, giving WA runners at 2nd & 3rd with nobody out, but Yoder coaxed two infield pop-outs and strikeout to keep the lead. A walk, followed by a sacrifice bunt and fly out put a Donegal runner at third with two down. Morgan Biesecker grounded to short but Taylor Cummings’ throw pulled Cogis off the bag, scoring McKenna Berg. Peighton Hornick singled, and Yoder drew a walk to load the bases. Orr ripped a ball at Cummings. It went off the heel of her glove for her third error and Donegal led, 4-1. Char-Leigh Bates walked to open the West Allegheny second and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. one out later, Wilson singled to cut the deficit to 4-2. Donegal’s Rachael Overlander hit a grounder through Partyka and it was misplayed by Carli Eger in left. A ground out moved Overlander to third. Back-to-back triples by Grace Miller and Savanna Kolenda pushed the score to 6-2. In the bottom of the third, with Eger at first and one out, Ashley Seamon tripled, then scored on Cummings’ base hit, pulling the WA Indians to within 6-4. A Donegal error in the fourth allowed Wilsoin to score, pulling to within a run, but WA managed only two hits the rest of the way. Yoder retired the last seven WA batters in a row after Amy Nolte and Wilson had back-to-back two-out hits in the fifth. Yoder got the win, charged with five runs, four earned on a dozen hits, one walk and five strikeouts. Seamon took the loss, despite allowing just one earned run. Donegal also banged out 12 hits, drew a pair of walks and Seamon hit one batter while fanning five. Wilson had four hits, all singles. Cogis had a single and a double, Partyka two singles. Kolenda’s three hits paced Donegal, delivering a single, double and triple in five at-bats. Miller added a single to her RBI triple. Witmer and Yoder each had two singles. Donegal will face Yough in Monday’s semifinal at a site & time to be announced.
PIAA CLASS AA Quarterfinals:
Moniteau Warriors 11 – ELLWOOD CITY WOLVERINES 0
An amazing streak continues for the Warriors, who have not allowed a run in 10 straight wins. The District 9 champs have scored 107 runs during that period and jumped the previously unbeaten Wolverines from the opening pitch with power, timely hitting and aggressiveness on the bases. Twin Magic was a big part of the Warriors offense. Kristina DeMatteis blasted a 2 run homer down the left field line for a 2-0 lead. Kennedy DeMatteis crushed a 3 run homer as part of a 6 run 4th and the rout was on. Kennedy was also fantastic in the circle, allowing only a 1st inning single by Eisabela Miller. She struck out 9 and walked only 2, she also was 3-4 at the plate, driving in 4. Moniteau pounded out 15 hits with all 9 hitters reaching safely. Courtney Sowinski was 3-4. Kristina DeMatteis, Gabby Stewart, Cortney Claypoole and Megan Hester had 2 each. Stewart also drove in a pair of runs in the big 4th inning. The Warriors are 23-1 on the year and will face WPIAL runner up South Park in the semifinals. The Eagles were a 16-12 winner over Phillipsburg Osceola. Skyla Greco could never get on track for Ellwood City, she finishes her junior year with 170 strikeouts. The Wolverines, who won 21 straight, equaled their best finish in program history, making the PIAA quarterfinals in 2008.
SOUTH PARK EAGLES 16 – Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties 12
The South Park Eagles showed the fight of a champion, as they overcame giving up eight first inning run, and an 11-2 deficit in the third inning to defeat Philipsburg-Osceola 16-12 in the PIAA Softball Double-A Quarterfinals at the Somerset High School. The big inning for the Eagles came in the bottom of the fourth inning, as they scored five runs to cut the deficit to one, 11-10. The big hit of the inning, was a three-run homer by Katlyn Pavlick, who also had three hits, and scored three runs. South Park took the lead for good with four runs in the fifth inning, to take a 14-11 lead. Pitcher Justine Dean helped her own cause, as she got it done with the bat, tallying three hits, and driving in three. Teammate Kaitlyn Morrison also had three hits on the day, and scored four times. South Park showed their hitting prowess, as they had eighteen hits on the afternoon. The Eagles improve to 16-4 on the season, and move onto the state semifinals where they will take on Moniteau, who was an 11-0 winner over Ellwood City, while Philipsburg-Osceola sees their season end at 22-3.
PIAA CLASS A Quarterfinals:
WEST GREENE PIONEERS 4 – Saegertown Panthers 1
The West Greene Pioneers shut down a Saegertown threat in the fifth inning and then scored a couple of runs in the bottom half of that inning, which seemed to be the deciding factor in a tight 4-1 win in the PIAA Quarterfinals at Slippery Rock. The Pioneers missed a good chance to score in the first inning with runners at second and third and nobody out, but left both runners stranded. They were in the same situation again in the second inning and were able to cash in with an RBI single by McKenna Lampe followed by Mackenzie Carpenter scoring on a Courtney Hess wild pitch to put West Greene up 2-0. Saegertown got on the board in the fourth when Hess laid down a sacrifice bunt with runners at second and third with one out. Hess would’ve been thrown out at first, but Kaitlyn Rizor covering first base couldn’t take the throw, so everyone was safe. Without the error West Greene would’ve had a great chance to get Becca Siple trying to score from third. They would get a second chance to make that play when Haley Wise dropped down a bunt with runners on the corners. Madison Renner’s throw to first was handled this time by Rizor, who fired home to end the inning by throwing out Haley Hess trying to score from third. Down 2-1 in the top of the fifth, the Panthers had a runner at first with two out when back-to-back singles by Maile Chang and Siple loaded the bases. With the tying run at third base, Haley Hess struck a hard grounder right to the third base bag where Madison Lampe was able to field it and step on third to end the Saegertown threat. It was the last time Saegertown would have a base runner and West Greene turned that defense into immediate offense in the bottom of the fifth with a 2-run single by Renner to drive in both of the Lampe twins from second and third. The Pioneers closed out a 4-1 win as Renner shut down Saegertown in order in both the sixth and seventh innings. Renner collected 5 strikeouts in the win. The loss went to Courtney Hess, who struck out 6. The only extra base hit of the game was a third inning double by Renner. West Greene advances to the Semifinals to face Dubois Central Catholic on Monday.