PIAA Baseball/Softball Quarterfinals Recaps From Thursday, June 8th

Summaries of State Quarterfinals Games Heard here on MSA Sports
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Two rounds in the books with two rounds still to go with a giant box of state gold medals at the waiting line. There are a dozen teams from the WPIAL still in the hunt for diamond gold, but two-thirds of them are softball teams, where eight teams head into the Final Four...which is exactly how many district baseball teams remain in the PIAA postseason...four. Here are recaps from all the games heard on Quarterfinals Thursday on MSA Sports.

A special thanks to Steve Nagler, Bob Gregg, Mark Uriah, Sean Meyers, Donny Chedrick, Josh Rowntree, Mark Schaas, Mike Azadian, Jason Tennant, James Dotson and Todd Brown for their help on these recaps.


PIAA CLASS 5-A Quarterfinals:

The WPIAL champion Latrobe Wildcats advanced to the PIAA semi-finals with a 9-4 win over West Allegheny at Wild Things Park in Washington. Latrobe jumped on Indians’ starter Michael Crawford for five runs in the top of the first inning, highlighted by a two-run single from designated hitter Griffin Clark. Ryan Shawley and Dan Stas eached added RBI singles in the first for the Wildcats. West Allegheny battled back with single runs in the first and second innings, and two more in the fifth to pull to within one. Chasen Claus had an rbi single in the first, Trey Zeroski an rbi single in the second and Nick Ross added a two-run single in the fifth for the Indians. But the Wildcats pulled away with four more runs in the top of the seventh. Tyler Roble had an rbi triple and scored on Zach Kokoska’s rbi single. Stas added his second and third RBIs of the game with a two-run single. Starter Jared Kollar went five and two-thirds innings for the win…allowing four runs, three earned on 9 hits, while striking out seven. Crawford, the first of four Indians (21-3) pitchers took the loss. Latrobe (22-2) advances to the PIAA semi-finals against Springfield Delco Monday at a site and time to be determined. 

PIAA CLASS 4-A Quarterfinals:

BLACKHAWK COUGARS 6 - Forest Hills Rangers 4
Anthony Sebastian's two-run home run in the fifth provided the necessary insurance as Blackhawk advanced to the PIAA semifinals with a 6-4 victory over D6 Champion Forest Hills. The WPIAL Champion Cougars struck first with three runs in the bottom of the second on one hit. After a Mark Engel leadoff single, Blackhawk took advantage of control issues from Forest Hills starting pitcher Jared Wehner. The Rangers' hurler walked two and hit two batters in the inning. John Nixon had an RBI walk, followed byChris Piccione getting an RBI after being hit by a pitch. Tyler Robinson drove in the third run on a groundout to five Blackhawk a 3-0 lead. Forest Hills responded in the top of the third with a big inning of their own. Nick Peretin drove in a run on a bases loaded infield single. The next batter, Jared Wehner, reached when his swing made contact with the catcher's glove, forcing in another run. The Catcher's Interference call chased Blackhawk starter Jon Pence from the contest after 2 1/3 innings. Fellow senior Mark Engel entered with bases loaded, and endured a 6-3 double play to end the inning and keep his Cougars leading 3-2. Engel would get into a rhythm on the hill for Blackhawk, retiring 10 straight Forest Hills batters in a row. After Jimmy Nixon reached on a one-out error for Blackhawk in the bottom of the fifth, Sebastian worked a seven pitch at bat before sending a 1-2 pitch deep over the left field fence for his third home rim of the season. Sebastian's long ball gave the Cougars a 5-2 lead. Blackhawk tacked on more insurance in the sixth when Tyler a Robinson led off with a single and later scored on a Michael Turconi sacrifice fly, making the score 6-2 after six innings of play. Forest Hills did it go quietly, as Jason Shope delivered a two-out, two-RBI single to center to cut the Cougar lead in half. Now with the tying run at the plate, Engel struck out Rangers' leading hitter Adam Cecere to end the game. Forest Hills (18-6) sees their season come to an end, but have an exciting future as they will return seven of their nine starters next season. Blackhawk (23-2) sets a program record for wins in a season, and advances to the PIAA semifinals for the fifth time in program history. They will face a familiar foe in South Park, a 7-2 victor over Hopewell, on Monday at a sight and time to be determined. The Cougars defeated the Eagles 3-0 in the WPIAL Championship last Tuesday. Another victory for Blackhawk would send the Cougars to the PIAA Championship game for the first time in program history. 

South Park (22-3) used timely hitting and a strong pitching performance by Senior Kyle Thompson to run away with a 7-2 victory over Hopewell (15-11) in the PIAA 4-A Quarterfinals on Thursday at WildThings Park in Washington. Thompson, just a week after being hit with the loss in the WPIAL 4-A Championship game at the same venue, went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out six and walking just one. Every Eagles player contributed in the win, as eight players recorded a hit, with the lone hit-less player, Mitchell Roell, driving in a run on a fielder's choice. Four different South Park hitters recorded two hits, with Senior Bryce Groff driving in a game-high three runs, as the Eagles advanced to the PIAA Semifinals for the first time in school history. South Park opened the scoring in the first inning on Josh Wagner's RBI groundout and added to their advantage the following inning on a single by Groff. Two innings later, the Eagles extended the lead to 3-0 and Mike Kentzel doubled and had his pinch runner, Seth Jones, score in Roell's fielder's choice. The lead swelled to 4-0 in the fifth inning as Thompson picked up his team-leading 27th RBI of the season with a single that scored Adam Morris. South Park then plated three runs in the sixth inning thanks to Groff's two-run single and Tyler Bywalski's RBI single. Hopewell attempted to get back into the game in the bottom half of that inning when Mitch Heranic crushed a 2-0 Thompson pitch over the right field wall, bringing the score to 7-2. But South Park's Tanner Pantuso came on in relief and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless to secure the win. The Eagles will next get a rematch with WPIAL Champion Blackhawk (23-2) on Monday at a site and time to be determined. Last week, Blackhawk beat South Park, 3-0, in the 4-A title game. Hopewell will return all but one senior, Cody Yanyecic, from their Quarterfinal batting order.

PIAA CLASS 3-A Quarterfinals:

Martinsburg Central Scarlet Dragons 1 - RIVERSIDE PANTHERS 0
The 2017 season for the Riverside Panthers ended in nearly identical fashion to how the 2016 campaign concluded. For the second straight year, Riverside was on the wrong end of a 1-0 outcome at Graham-Sobota Field at Greater Latrobe High School. Instead of the PIAA Class AA semifinals clash against Bishop McCort from last year, this time it was the PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals matchup against Central Martinsburg that resulted in the Riverside defeat. The Scarlet Dragons scored their only run in the top of the first inning, and the duo of Brady Nicewonger and Jarret Imler combined for the six-hit shutout. Meanwhile, Cristian Cicchinelli suffered the tough-luck defeat for Riverside (19-2), as he tossed a four-hit complete game. Central Martinsburg, the runner up from District 6, opened the contest with consecutive baserunners, as Alex Hoenstine was hit by a pitch and Chase Smith doubled. Following a strikeout, Michael Speck grounded out to short, scoring Hoenstine for the early Scarlet Dragons' advantage. Central Martinsburg (22-3) made that edge stand, as the pitchers frequently worked out of trouble in the contest. The Panthers had a single in each of the first three innings, and also drew a pair of walks in the third. With the bases loaded and two outs, though, Cicchinelli bounced into a fielders' choice to end the threat. The Panthers created another golden opportunity in the bottom of the sixth, as Austin Dambach and Cicchinelli opened the frame with consecutive singles. That ended the afternoon for Nicewonger, who gave way to Imler, who earned the complete game victory in the team's first-round win on Monday. Upon entering the contest, Imler walked Gunnar Boehm to load the bases with no outs. Imler then induced a ground ball off the bat of Danny Fox that resulted in a force out at the plate, however. With the bases still loaded and one out, Riverside's legendary coach, Dan Oliastro, called for a suicide squeeze. Hitter Will Yasenka could not make contact with the pitch, though, and the runner, Cicchinelli, was tagged out coming home. Yasenka then grounded out to end the frame. In the seventh, Imler issued a two-out walk, but Dylan Speicher flew out to deep center field to end the game. While the Panthers' season is over, Central Martinsburg advances to the 3A semifinals to face district rival Huntingdon on Monday. 

PIAA CLASS 2-A Quarterfinals:

Brookville Raiders 7 - Saegertown Panthers 3
The District 9 champions jumped out to an early lead and did not look back in the win at Neshannock High School. Brookville led 3-0 after one inning on run scoring singles by Seth Dunkle, Tanner LaBenne and Ben Reitz. Dunkle added a RBI single in the 2nd with the big blow delivered by winning pitcher and cleanup hitter Aaron Park. The freshman delivered a two run single to make the score 6-0. Park did not allow a run over the first four innings, with help from a 3rd inning double play. Saegertown missed a chance for a big inning in the 5th when Alan McGill singled to center with runners at first and second to plate a run. But Austin Shearer tried to take an extra base and was pegged out to end the inning.  The Panthers cut the lead in half on run scoring singles from Dillon Steiner and Chase Leech. Brookville added an insurance run in the 6th on another RBI single from Dunkle, the freshman ended 3 for 4 and drove in three. Park pitched into the 6th inning, allowing two run while fanning three. Brian Dworick, who had three hits, pitched the final two innings for the save. Reitz and Brady Caylor added two hits each. The Raiders are now 14-11 overall. Tony Offi took the loss, departing after the 2nd. McGill pitched wonderfully in his four innings of relief. He allowed just the one run and struck out seven. McGill and Wes Price had two hits each, the Panthers had just six for the game. The District 10 runners up finish the season at 16-8.


PIAA CLASS 4-A Quarterfinals:

Two weeks ago, Belle Vernon bested Mt. Pleasant 1-0 in the WPIAL Class 4-A semifinals. In that game, Bailey Parshall had 10 strikeouts and pitched a shutout. This time, she had 15 strikeouts, but gave up five runs as her Leopards were upset by the Vikings. The first meeting saw a total of four hits and one run - this meeting saw a combined 17 hits and nine runs scored. It all started in the top of the 3rd when the Vikings broke through with their first two hits of the game from Sydney Kanuch and Ava Gnibus - whose single scored Kanuch, making it a 1-0 game. The Leopards wouldn't respond until the the bottom of the 4th when they strung together three straight hits from Bailey Parshall, Kourtney Gavatorta and Mekenzie Sokol to tie the game at one. Then the back and forth game started. Addy Kubasky ripped an RBI double to put Mt. Pleasant back in the lead in the top of the 5th, but it wouldn't last long. Bailey Parshall would knock in two runs on a double in the bottom half to give the Leopards a 3-2 lead going into the 6th. Instead of laying over down in the top of the 6th, the Vikings charged ahead as they crossed three runs thanks to an error and three hits, including a two-run double by Gnibus and an RBI single from Kubasky to make the score 5-3. Mt. Pleasant starting pitcher Meadow Uncapher stood strong and finished out the game by getting out of a bases loaded threat in the 6th, only giving up a run and a runner on second base situation in the 7th. Mt. Pleasant gets redemption on Belle Vernon and will meet fellow WPIAL foe, Yough in the PIAA semifinals on Monday. 

PIAA CLASS 3-A Quarterfinals:

The South Park Eagles stunned the consecutive WPIAL Championship Ellwood City Wolverines by pounding out eleven hits en route to a 11-0 mercy-rule victory in the PIAA 3-A Softball Playoffs at North Allegheny High School.  The Eagles bats were on fire right from the start as they pushed across a pair of runs in the home half of the first inning courtesy of two hits and a key error.  Jess Dean led off the game for the Eagles by doubling to right-center field.  With two outs, the Wolverines Brooklyn Magill misplayed the drive off of the bat of Justine Dean which scored Jess Dean.  Courtesy runner, Hayley Finale, came around to score on a Skyla Greco wild pitch and the Eagles had an early 2-0 lead after the first inning.  South Park would break things open in the 2nd inning by scoring eight runs on seven hits and another Wolverine error.  The Eagles would hit three HR in the inning, getting a 2-run home run from Jess Dean, a solo shot from Justine Dean and a 3-run home run from Grace Albitz.  Albitz finished the game going 3-3 with that home run, a triple and a single, knocking in four runs and scoring twice.  That early run production was much more than Eagles starting pitcher, Justine Dean, would need.  Dean held the powerful Wolverines to just two hits in five innings while striking out two.  Ellwood City’s undefeated season comes to a halt as the finish the 2017 campaign with a 19-1 record.  With the win, South Park (19-3) will take on Philipsburg-Osceola on Monday, site and time to be determined.

Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties 6 - DEER LAKES LANCERS 2  
The Philipsburg-Osceola softball team advanced further than they did a year ago, picking up a hard fought 6-2 win against Deer Lakes at Mount Aloysius in the PIAA Triple-A softball semifinals.  Kam Harris got the job done with her arm and her bat, picking up the win on the mound, pitching 6 2/3 innings, giving up six hits, while striking three.  Harris also hit a solo home run in the top of the third inning to give the Mounties a 2-0 lead.  Maddie Lucas also had a solid day at the plate, going 4-4 with a run scored, and RBI.  The Lancers did something that no other team has done in the postseason, and that's put runs on the board.  P-O had gone four straight playoff games without giving up a run, until Deer Lakes made a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, scoring both runs.  Katrina Taliani rough in the first run on an RBI groundout which scored Makayla Blair, and then Maura Cerra scored Becca Hoffman on a run scoring single.  Katelynn Blair had a nice game offensively, as she went 2-3 with two doubles.  Philipsburg-Osceola improves to 20-3 on the season, and will take on district seven third place finisher South Park at noon at Mt. Aloysius College.  Deer Lakes finishes off an outstanding season at 16-3.

PIAA CLASS 2-A Quarterfinals:

Jessica Ford, Lauren Lober and Karlyn Bayer drove in runs in the Chartiers-Houston third inning and the Bucs never trailed again on the way to a 4-3 win over Frazier.  The Commodores won the two section meetings against CHHS.  Down 1-0, Kasey Scears doubled to open the Bucs' fourth.  Kaci Alderson singled to right, putting runners on the corners.  After a strikeout, Ford hit a ball sharply toward second that wasn't handled cleanly, scoring Scears.  Lober singled up the middle, driving in Alderson putting Chartiers-Houston (18-4) in front.  One out later, Bayer singled to plate Ford.  Frazier (19-3) grabbed an early lead, scoring a run in the second but left the bases loaded.  Lauren Mastowski and Juliann Johnson singled on the first two pitches of the inning and ended up at second and third due to an error.  Kara Mastowski was hit by a pitch. A grounder to second led to a force out on the lead runner at home.  Kathryn Barch singled to left, scoring Johnson.  A pop out to shallow left and a strikeout ended the threat with three runners left on.  Trailing 3-1 in the fifth, the Commodores got a one-out single from Kayla Matway, her third hit of the game, followed by Lauren Mastowski's RBI double.  Chartiers-Houston pushed the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the frame.  Kayla Alderson singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored one out later on Kaci Alderson's single.  Kara Mastowski doubled to start the Frazier sixth and came around on Logan Hartman's two-out single, setting the final score at 4-3.  Kaitlyn Dittrich got the complete-game win for Chartiers-Houston, allowing three runs on 11 hits while walking one, hitting a batter and striking out three.  Dittrich and the Bucs' defense stranded 10 Frazier base-runners.  Hartman took the loss, charged with four runs, three earned on seven hits, striking out five.  Chartiers-Houston was retired in order in four of the seven innings.  Frazier had won 12 in a row but will have to find solace in the fact that their three losses came to a Class 5A state qualifier (Albert Gallatin), returning Class 1A state finalist (West Greene) and a Class 2A state semifinalist (CHHS).  The Bucs have now won eight of their last nine games since losing twice to Frazier and a non-section game to South Side Area in mid-season.  Chartiers-Houston will play the South Side Rams Monday, the Bucs' first trip to the semifinals since 2012, but their fourth in the last eight seasons.  South Side beat Chartiers-Houston twice during the season, both times by 10 runs including in the WPIAL semifinals May 23rd. 

In the PIAA state AA playoffs at North Allegheny High School the South Side Beaver  Rams win easily over the Seton La Salle Rebels by a score of 7-2. A big second inning where the Rams scored 4 times on 5 hits propelled them to the victory. In the inning Rachel Pieto started the scoring with an RBI single, Mackenzie Freeman and Reagan Hozak both had RBI doubles to pace the Ram offense. They would score two more in the 3rd inning after Hunter Hand plated Sydney Payne with an RBI triple. Hand would score on a McKenna Smith RBI sac bunt. With the score 6-0 and the game in hand Seton tried a comeback. They would get a single run in the 4th inning on a Hadley Horensky RBI single, then get a second run in the 6th inning on Lexi Wagner's solo home run. In the bottom of the sixth South Side got one more insurance run as Payne hit an RBI single to make the final score 7-2. Seton La Salle ends their season at 13-6. Horensky led their offense with 2 of their 4 hits. Wagner on defense for the Rebels made two outstanding defensive plays. One a running catch behind second base to thwart a Ram rally, and the other a fantastic play in the hole at short stop, where she grabbed a grounder and fired a throw to first to nab a runner. South Side improves to 19-3, and will move on to the PIAA semi Final where they will face Chartiers Houston on Monday June 12th. For the Rams, Hozak went 3-4 with an RBI, Smith 2 for 3 with an RBI. Smith also pitched a gem. The senior is saving her best for last as she tries to lead South Side to a state title. In 7 innings she gave up 2 runs, on 4 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 4 batters. 

PIAA CLASS 1-A Quarterfinals:

WEST GREENE PIONEERS 3 - Claysburg-Kimmel Bulldogs 1  
The West Greene Pioneers advanced to the PIAA Semifinals for the second year in a row after winning a defensive struggle, 3-1 over Claysburg-Kimmel on Thursday at Somerset High School.  McKenna Lampe made sure the Pioneers started strong when she used her speed and a lack of attention paid to her by the Bulldog defense to wind up at 3rd base with nobody out.  Lampe started by slapping a bunt toward third base. With Lampe's speed, third baseman Keyara Morgan wisely didn’t waste a throw to first that would’ve been late.  However when she routinely tossed it to pitcher Courtney Garver, Lampe took off for second and made it safely.  Now with sister Madison Lampe at the plate, McKenna got halfway between second and third on a pitch and took off for third on the throw from the catcher back to the pitcher.  After a Madison Lampe pop out, Madison Renner sent a deep sacrifice fly to left field to score McKenna Lampe.  West Greene’s 1-0  lead, believe it or not, would carry all the way into the sixth inning as the two teams were great defensively.  Garver kept the potent West Greene offense off balance most of the game.  The Pioneers were getting the bat on the ball, but it was consistently weak contact resulting in a ton of infield pop outs. Through the first 18 Pioneer batters, there were 10 infield pop fly balls. One was a single for Jade Renner as it fell in in front of second base, but all the others were outs.  Garver held West Greene to 3 hits in the first 5 innings and only two balls had left the infield. Meanwhile Jade Renner was matching Garver pitch-for-pitch and getting fantastic play from the defense behind her. The Bulldogs only had one hit and just three base runners as the game headed into the sixth inning. In the sixth, Garver retired the first two batters, and had retired nine Pioneers in a row when Madison Renner launched a rocket line drive over the fence in left-center to double the Pioneers’ lead. Kaitlyn Rizor followed with another solo shot to left and the back-to-back homeruns gave West Greene a 3-0 lead. Claysburg-Kimmel answered one of the homeruns when Garver put one over the fence in the left field corner with two outs. The next batter, Madison Knisely drove one deep to the right-center gap but McKenna Lampe made a fantastic catch, running it down backhanded at the fence to end the Bulldog threat. West Greene stranded a 2-out Linzee Stover single in the seventh and Claysburg-Kimmel didn’t go down without a fight in the bottom of the seventh. The inning started with a great play from shortstop Madison Renner who dove over the second base bag to field a pop up from the bat of Emily Claar. Corryne Weyandt then singled to bring the tying run to the plate. Jade Renner was then able to force back-to-back infield pop outs to end the game.  Jade Renner got the win, allowing the one run on just 3 hits, she struck out 3 and walked one. The loss went to Garver who held West Greene to the 3 runs on 6 hits.  She struck out 2 and didn’t walk a batter.  Both teams played a fantastic defensive game with no errors registered on either side.  Monday will mark a rematch of last year’s State Semifinal as West Greene will once again face DuBois Central Catholic, whom they defeated 5-2 on their way to the Championship Game a year ago.


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