- High School
Riverside Wins, Blackhawk Loses in PIAA Semifinals
Two weeks ago, Blackhawk was celebrating a WPIAL Class AAA championship while Riverside was trying to oversome a stinging loss to arch-rival Ellwood City in the WPIAL Class AA title game. One Semifinals Monday in the state baseball playoffs, it was the Panthers celebrating a return trip to the PIAA finals while the Cougars are left to wrap up a memorable season one game shy of the finals. here are recaps from both games.
PIAA CLASS AAA SEMIFINALS:
West York Bulldogs 8 - Blackhawk Cougars 1
It was not to be for the Cougars as they fell in their second trip to the PIAA semifinals in school history to the Bulldogs at Hollidaysburg High School on Monday. Blackhawk had made the Class AA semifinals in 2003, only to fall to Ellwood City 3-2 in a rematch of the WPIAL title game. The win by West York continues their magical season, the Bulldogs had not won a state playoff game before this season. Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia was faced with a tough decision before the day ever started, should he start sophomore sensation Brendan McKay on just three days rest. He made the call to start senior Adam Rosseau, who was 8-0 coming in with an 0.29 ERA. Rosseau last pitched in the WPIAL quarterfinals, going six innings in a 1-0 win over Chartiers Valley. Amalia said before the game that McKay wasn't ready to go the distance, but he could have pitched in a save situation. The Cougars had their chances early, they left runners at second base in each of the first three innings. West York capitalized on their chances, Brandon Kinneman singled over shortstop Tyler Craig to score Jerin Toomey in the first. Chase James singled down the right field line to bring home Kaden Hepler in the second and Jesse Bortner doubled to left center to score Brandon Rauhaser in the third. Trailing 3-0 after three, Amalia made the call to the bullpen, bringing in Steve O'Hara in relief. O'Hara had not pitched in the post-season and after one out, he walked James and Brock Gladfelter doubled down the left field line. The play of the game came one batter later, McKay had moved to right field after O'Hara came on to pitch, he started at first base. Toomey hit a soft fly ball down the line, McKay came over to set up for the catch and throw to the plate, he dropped the ball, allowing James to score. Brandon Rauhauser hit a sac fly to left to score Gladfelter to make it 5-0. The dam broke in the fifth, the Bulldogs sent nine batters to the plate and chased O'Hara. Gladfelter singled home a run, Brad Verlihay came on to pitch, he gave up consecutive singles to Toomey and Rauhauser. Kaden Hepler pitched the first five innings for the Bulldogs, he allowed just three hits and fanned seven. Coach Roger Czerwinski elected to pull Hepler so he would be eligible to pitch nine innings in Friday's title game. Brandon Kinneman relieved, he walked McKay to start the sixth. Kinneman had McKay picked off of first, the throw to second was wide, allowing McKay to stay alive on the bases. In what would be his final high school at bat, Ohio State recruit Matt Emge singled up the middle to drive home McKay. The Cougars got two runners on in the seventh but could not cash in. Hepler was the winning pitcher, he is now 13-0 on the season. Kinneman picked up the save. Gladfelter was 2 for 3 with a double and an rbi, Toomey drove in two runs, Rauhauser, Bortner and James also drove in runs. West York is now 23-4 overall. The Bulldogs will face District 3 champion Lampter-Strasburg, a 2-1 winner over Neumann-Goretti in the Eastern Final. That game is Friday at 6 pm at Penn State University's Medlar Field. The Cougars managed only three hits, Brendan Kearney, Emge and Brandon Mansell all singled. Rosseau was the losing pitcher, allowing three runs on four hits in three innings. O'Hara allowed 5 runs in 1.2 innings, Verlihay pitched 1.1 innings. Blackhawk ends the season at 22-3.
PIAA CLASS AA SEMIFINALS:
Riverside Panthers 6 - North Star Cougars 2
The Riverside Panthers missed out on a chance to repeat as WPIAL champs two weeks ago, however they will get a shot to repeat as PIAA champs after beating District 5 champion North Star 6-2 Monday afternoon at Matulevic Field in Shaler. Rob Hardy was the star for the Panthers on the mound and at the plate. Hardy pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out six to earn the win. But it wasn't just his arm, but also his bat that made a BIG difference early and often. North Star was coming off a pair of 2-0 wins in the first two rounds of the state baseball playoffs, allowing only three total hits in both victories over WPIAL champion Ellwood City and District 10 champion Saegertown. But it didn't take the Panthers long to jump on starter Brantley Rice. Devin Kelosky led off the bottom of the first inning with a base hit and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Dylan Jones. One out later, Hardy doubled to right field to make it 1-0 Riverside. Hardy struck again with another two out hit in the third when his single chased home Anthony Meneice, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the third. After the Cougars cut the lead to 2-1 in the fifth inning on a run scoring single by Cory Bloom, Riverside put the game away with four runs in the bottom of the fifth on only one hit. Maneice led off with a walk and pinch runner Austin Hall advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a ground out moved Hall to third, he scored on a ground ball by Dylan Jones that was booted by first baseman Shane Supanick. After a wild pitch and a walk to Tyler Falk put runners at first and second, Hardy delivered a gap shot to right center field, scoring both Jones and Falk to make it 5-1. Courtesy runner Vinny Howells scored from third on a wild pitch. In all, the Panthers in the fifth socred four runs on one hit with one Cougars error, two walks and three wild pitches. The final run of the game was cored in the North Star sixth inning when the Cougars has runners at second and third with one out. Riverside head coach Dan Oliastro lifted hardy for Blaise McCarty. After a strike out, Brantley Rice Singled home cousin Dalton Rice to make it 6-2. Rice was then thrown out trying to steal second and that ended the Cougars final rally. North Star outhit Riverside 7-5, but left 9 men on, including seven men in scoring position. The Cougars made history, appearing in their first state Semifinals game, but the loss ended a memorable season at 19-5. Meanwhile Riverside looks for a fourth PIAA championship (2005, 2006, 2011) when they face Pine Grove in the PIAA Class AA championship game on Friday at 10:30am at Penn State University and here on the MSA Sports Network. The Panthers are now 21-6.