WPIAL Baseball Playoff Recaps for Tuesday, May 15th

WPIAL AAAA, AAA, AA and A First Round
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We had to wait 24 extra hours for the curtain to officially go up on this 2012 WPIAL baseball postseason, but it was worth the wait with tight opening round action here, there and everywhere. Few blowouts with many down to the wire finishes as most of the favorites advanced to Round Two. Here are the recaps of the games heard ONLY here on the MSA Sports Network.

Special thanks to Jess Levo, Josh Rowntree, Randy Gore, Mark Schaas, Dennis Fischer, Sam Hall, Don Rebel, Greg Kuntz, Ken Laird, Hugh Mulvey and Bob Gregg for their help on these recaps.


Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 8 - Plum Mustangs 2 
Defense and walks was the story in a late afternoon game at Woodland Hills High School in the first round of the WPIAL AAAA baseball playoffs.  The 9th-seeded Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils (15-5, 7-3) defeated the 8th-seeded Plum Mustangs (11-9, 8-4) by a score of 8-2.  Mt. Lebanon center-fielder Luke Hagy got the ball rolling with a lead-off double in the first inning, which would then lead to a 1-0 lead thanks to a Plum error.  Plum would answer back in the 2nd inning, with Andrew Dawson's single that would send Zac Williams home after his lead-off double.  Mt. Lebanon came back in the bottom of the 2nd with a lead-off walk by Brad Bekampis, who scored on a double by Chris Girvin.  But the 3rd inning is when the Mt. Lebanon bats really began to heat up.  Hagy hit another lead-off double, followed by an Anthony Paladino single & an Ian Happ double. The inning would prove too much for Plum's starting pitcher Anthony Garafalo, who allowed walks to Bekampis and pitcher Zack Bahm.  Chris Shaffer came in as the relief and ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.  Plum was able to plate what would be their final run in the 4th inning when Nik Stotler scored after his lead-off double, Shaffer sacrifice and a pass-ball.  After that, it was smooth sailing for Mt. Lebanon's Bahm, who would go on to pitch a complete game. He relied on his stellar defense, with the help of tremendous defensive plays from Paladino and Happ.  Mt. Lebanon ran away with it in the 4th inning, with walks from Hagy, Happ, Pat Goff and Bekampis.  Zack Manupelli would finish the game for Plum, allowing 2 of those walks and only 2 hits.  Patience paid off for Mt. Lebanon, who had 8 batters reach base on balls.  On the day, Hagy went 2-2, reached base 4 times and scored 3 runs. Bahm would allow 6 hits, 2 walks, 2 K's, 2 runs (1 earned).  Although he did not have his best performance on the mound, Garafalo had a great day offensively for Plum, going 3-4 and stealing a base.  After the game, Blue Devils' coach Pat McCloskey credited his experienced fielders and his Sophomore pitcher, claiming Bahm was the most mature 15-year-old he had ever met.  Bahm praised his defense, knowing he could pitch to contact with such an experienced group behind him.  The Blue Devils will advance to the second round and will face the undefeated number-1 seed, Norwin Knights Wednesday at Gateway High School at 7:00pm.

Hempfield Spartans 10 - Franklin Regional Panthers 8 in 8 Innings 
#4 Hempfield (16-5) blew a 4-0 lead and a 6-4 lead, but overcame that, defeating #13 Franklin Regiona (9-11) 10-8 in 8 innings on Tuesday night at Pullman Park in Butler. The Spartans plated four runners in the top of the 8th, propelling them to the First Round victory over a Panthers team that battled throughout. Hempfield jumped on top of Franklin Regional pitcher Logan Madera out of the gates, scoring 3 in the 1st inning on a 2 RBI triple by Cody Dalicandro, who then scored on an error. They would extend their lead to 4-0 in the 2nd, as Greg Martin would double and then score on a double play groundout by Nathan Mori. Franklin Regional would cut into it though, plating 3 in the bottom of the 2nd on a 2-RBI base hit by Colin Jonov and RBI base hit Luke Stickel, scoring Nick DiDiano, John Bondi and Jonov. The Panthers would even the score in the 5th, as Brandon Nania would score on an RBI single by Johnny Stickel. Hempfield would waste no time though, as they would take the lead on an RBI triple by Anthony Fanelli, scoring Joey DeFloria and giving the Spartans a 5-4 lead. After a perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt by Mori, that scored Matt Moyer, the Spartans would find themselves just a half inning away from victory. But the Franklin bats would heat up, scoring 2 in the bottom of the 7th as Danny McGrath and Luke Stickel would score on an error, evening the game at 6-6 and sending it to extra innings. Hempfield would start the top of the 8th with 4-straight hits, scoring four runs and extending their lead to 10-6. Franklin would add a couple of runs in the bottom of the 8th to make things interesting, but Jared Hensler would close the door and pick up the win in relief of starter Zack Martinelli, who pitched 6 innings in the no-decision. Hempfield, who moves on to the WPIAL AAAA Quarterfinals Wednesday against #5 North Allegheny, received a strong effort from Mori, who had 3 RBI, as well as Anthony Bozzuto and Dalicandro, who chipped in a pair of RBIs. Franklin Regional, who played in their first playoff game since 2008, got impressive games from Luke Stickel (4/4, 3 RBI, 2B, HBP, R) and Jonov (2/3, 2 RBI, 2 R).

North Allegheny Tigers 2 - Gateway Gators 1  
Justin Dattilo drove in both of North Allegheny’s runs, including the game winning RBI in the 10th inning, to lift the Tigers to a 2-1 victory over the Gateway Gators in the opening round of the Class AAAA playoffs. Dattilo’s sacrifice fly drove in George Marsico in the top of the 10th and reliever Pat Mittereder pitched a 1-2-3 bottom half for the victory.  The Tigers first run came across in the third inning when Marsico scored on a two-out RBI double by Dattilo for a 1-0 lead.  Gateway tied the score at 1-1 in the fifth inning on a throwing error that allowed Kristian Seneca to score with two outs.  The game remaining deadlocked until Dattilo’s sac fly in the 10th.  The contest also featured some strong defense and pitching.  Gateway centerfielder David Folkmire produced several fine catches, including a top-shelf diving grab in the second inning that robbed Sean Fitzgerald of a base hit.  NA starting hurler Chris Helkowski tossed eight innings, allowing only one unearned run.  Gateway starter Luke Kochka matched Helkowki by throwing nine innings with only one earned run crossing the plate against him.   Mittereder earned the win in relief and Conner Olson suffered the loss for the Gators.  North Allegheny improves to 12-9 overall as the Tigers will face Hempfield on Wednesday night at the Burkett Complex.  Gateway’s season ends with a mark of 9-10.

Upper St. Clair Panthers 8 - Penn-Trafford Warriors 2  
Mike Wilcox went three for four at the plate and fanned eleven on the mound as the Panthers moved on to the quarterfinals. Wilcox tossed a complete game two hitter to get the win, he set down the first six batters in order.  After allowing a run in the third inning without a hit, Wilcox accomplished a rarity, striking out four batters in the fourth inning, Drew Gordish reached on a wild pitch.  The USC offense staked Wilcox to a 3-0 first inning lead, Troy Schoeppner and Alex Bell each with run scoring doubles and Zack Tobias singled home a run. Jack Elliot made it 4-1 in the fourth with a sac fly to right, Joe Anderson added a two run single in the fourth, the Panthers scored three times in the inning, and added a run in the sixth, USC had eleven hits on the night.  Schoeppner, Tobias and Anderson each were two for three, Anderson scored twice. The Panthers(17-4) will meet defending champion Seneca Valley tomorrow at Fox Chapel, that game is a rematch of last year's quarterfinals.  Joe Raco took the loss for Penn-Trafford(10-10), he allowed four runs over the first three innings. Tyler Smith pitched the final three innings, also allowing four runs.


Chartiers Valley Colts 7 - Knoch Knights 2  
Bryan Leipold survived a rough first inning and blanked the Knights over the next five to pick up the win and advance the Colts to tomorrow's quarterfinals vs. top seeded Blackhawk. Leipold allowed five straight hittters to reach base in the opening frame, but got some help from his defense when Zach Koller was thrown out trying to score from first base on a Luke Kroneberg two run double.
Char Valley tied the game with runs in the third and fourth. Jake Horew had a run scoring single in the third, Dom Castello singled home a run in the fourth. The Colts(15-6) broke the game open with a five run fifth inning, when they sent ten men to the plate. After the first inning, Leipold went to a mix of fast balls and off speed pitches to keep the Knoch hitters guessing, he retired nine straight until Taylor Sharer reached with a two out walk in the fourth, Leipold responded to the streak ending by picking Sharer off of first base. Leipold allowed only one hit after the first inning, a single by Kroneberg in the sixth. Castello came on and pitched a scoreless seventh for the Colts. Leipold was three for four at the plate, he fanned eight over his six innings. Horew and Jimmy Palmer were two for four, seven of the nine Colts batters drove in a run. Kroneberg was two for three for Knoch(12-8). Justin Grossman pitched 4 2/3 innings, he takes the loss, allowing seven runs on eleven hits. Ryan Letzelter came on in relief and shut the door, allowing just one hit the rest of the way.

Hampton Talbots 4 - Mount Pleasant Vikings 2  
The Hampton Talbots moved into the Quarterfinal Round of the WPIAL Triple A baseball playoffs with a 4-2 win over the Mount Pleasant Vikings on Tuesday afternoon at Fox Chapel High School.  The #5 seed Talbots will meet the #4 seed Thomas Jefferson Jaguars on Wednesday at Woodland Hills High School at 4:00.  Mount Pleasant took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when, with two outs, Shane Hertzog singled and Zac Heide followed with a home run.  But that turned out to be the last base runner the Vikings would have as Hampton's senior righthander John Arnold set down the next 19 batters in order.  Arnold struck out one and issued no walks in his complete game victory.  Hampton (14-6) tied the score in the fourth when Tom Radzminski led off with a double and was sent home by a Craig Nugent base hit.  After two outs, Ryan Gally singled and was delivered by a Brad Gall double.  The Talbots took the lead with two runs in the sixth, Nugent starting the inning with his second base hit.  After one out, Gally chased home Staszak with a hit and then scored himself on an Arnold single to make the score 4-2.  Hertzog took the loss for Mount Pleasant, pitching 5 2/3 innings, giving up all four runs on nine hits.  He struck out three and walked two.  The Vikings end their season at 13-8.


Brownsville Falcons 5 - Burrell Buccaneers 3  
Brownsville got a stellar pitching performance from junior Tyler Spohn and defeated the Burrell Bucs Tuesday afternoon at Woodland Hills 5-3 to advance to the quarter finals in AA baseball. Spohn pitched a complete game allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out six and walking four to get the win for Brownsville. Spohn also picked up an rbi - single in the Falcons two-run second inning. Brownsville catcher Phil Gnus was two for three with a pair of runs scored. Center fielder Fred Heiser was three for four with a double, he also scored twice for the Falcons. Matt Cercone took the loss for the Bucs allowing five runs on six hits in two plus innings of work. The Bucs plated single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings but just could not get the big hit when they needed it stranding 10 base runners in the game. Burrell also committed three errors in the contest and that shoddy defense led to two Brownsville runs. Burrell's season comes to an end at 10-8. The Falcons who prior to misiing the playoffs last year had suffered four straight openign round losses from 2007-2010 advance to the quarters to play the top seed in AA, Ellwood City Wednesday night at Pullman Park in Butler. Brownsville improves their record to 16-5 with the win.

South Fayette Lions 5 - Steel Valley Ironmen 3 in 10 Innings  
In a thriller at the Boyce-Mayview Complex in Upper St. Clair, #4-seed South Fayette barely avoided a third straight early exit from the playoffs with a hard-fought win over upset minded Steel Valley. Chris Sarnowski's RBI double in the top of the first inning plated Aaron Fonner to give the Lions an early 1-0 lead. The Ironmen tied it in the 2nd inning when courtesy runner Corey Joyce scored from third base on a wild pitch from SF's Zach Walker. The score stay tied 1-1 until freshman Brandon Donovan singled home Sam Ligeros for Steel Valley after the SV DH led off the 5th with a double. Ironmen sophomore lefty Derek Morrison looked like he would go the distance, but back to back singles and an errant pick off thrown left Lions at second and third with one out in the 7th inning, so Steel Valley head coach Tim Vickers summoned Donovan from left field. He got Aaron Fonner to line out to center field and then walked Michael Fetchet to load the bases. There while pitching from the stretch, Donovan checked the runner at second, started to deliver his pitch, but then stopped thinking the batter, Sarnowski had been granted time. However while the Lions hitter did request time, it was not granted by the home plate ump, thus when Donovan stopped, it was a balk that scored Jake Quattro to tie the game at 2-2. South Fayette scored three runs in the top of the 10th inning on consecutive RBI singles by Tyler Godwin, Quattro (who finished 4 for 4 with a walk) and Zach Fonner. Steel Valley was not done though. In the bottom of the inning, Donovan reached on an error by pitcher Aaron Fonner. Then after back-to-back strike outs, an RBI single by Ben Bobick and back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Andrew Chuba, who ended the thriller with a ground out to second base. Fonner picked up the save for Zach Walker, who pitched the first nine innings and got the win for the Lions, allowing two earned runs on nine hits with only ONE walk and four strike outs. Donovan, in relief of Morrison, suffered the tough loss for Steel Valley, who ends their season with a mark of 9-10. South Fayette improves to 14-6 and will battle Laurel on Wednesday at North Allegheny High School in a Class AA Quarterfinals matchup. 

Shady Side Academy Indians 4 - Waynesburg Raiders 3 
The Shady Side Academy Indians certainly did not want a repeat of last season as they were bounced in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.  They came in as the #2-seed this season, and it looked for a while like they were headed down that same path.  The Waynesburg Central Raiders jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st as Willie Ziffel walked, Joe Monica was hit by a Ben Hartz pitch.  After an Alex Swauger sacrifice move Ziffel to 3rd, he would score on an RBI-single by Stephen McCaw. Monica would score on a double steal attempt.  McCaw would be caught in a rundown between 1st and 2nd, but Monica alertly scored before McCaw was tagged for the 3rd out of the inning.  The Indians cut the lead in half in the bottom half of the inning as Chuckie Scales singled and moved to 2nd on an error on P Swauger.  Hartz would help out his own cause by driving in Scales with a single of his own.  The Raiders got one back in the 3rd as Wesley Brister reached on an error.  A base hit by Ziffel moved him to 2nd, and a fielder's choice put Brister on 3rd.  McCaw drove Brister in on an RBI single to give Waynesburg a 3-1 lead.  Undaunted, the Indians cut lead to 1 once again as Mike Holzinger walked to lead off.  He stole 2nd and scored on Paul McCullough's RBI-single to trim the Waynesburg advantage down to 1 run 3-2.  Hartz retired 8 in a row at one point, giving his team a chance to win the game.  The Indians took the lead for good in the bottom of the 5th as McCullough led off wit a single.  He scored on Hartz' RBI-double which went over the head of Raiders' CF Jonathan Coss to tie the game at 3 apiece.  Hartz himself scored as Jake Kleindl tripled over the head of Coss to give SSA a 4-3 lead.  Hartz took it from there as he allowed only one baserunner through the last 2 innings, and he struck out the side in the 7th, one of three times in the game he would do so, to ice the win for the Indians. Hartz was effective both at the plate and on the mound as he drove in 2 runs and fanned 14 batters for the complete-game victory.  SSA moves on in the Class AA playoffs to battle the Fort Cherry Rangers in the quarterfinal round, who eliminated Bishop Canevin, 6-3, on Tuesday as well.  The Indians' record now stands at 16-2, while Waynesburg's season ends at 12-6.

Fort Cherry Rangers 6 - Bishop Canevin Crusaders 3  
Tanner Garry scattered six hits over seven innings leading Fort Cherry to a 6-3 win over Bishop Canevin.  The righthander walked three and struck out nine as the Rangers (14-7) advanced to Wednesday's quarterfinals.  Fort Cherry scored five unearned runs in the top of the second, taking advantage of three Crusader errors.  Kyle Witzberger delivered a two-run signal to break the game wide open. The Rangers' leftfielder had two hits on the day, along with Koltan Kobrys and Ryan Babirad.  Starter Nick Supertzi, who took the loss for Bishop Canevin (12-7), was charged with the five unearned runs in his two innings of work.  Matt Zerishnek had three hits for the Crusaders, all singles.  Colin Jones added two singles.

Riverside Panthers 11 - Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 4
The Riverside Panthers advanced to the quarterfinals in WPIAL Class AA baseball action on Tuesday with an 11-4 victory over the Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions at Butler’s Pullman Park.  Riverside, the 3-seed, got a complete game effort from Rob Hardy, as the right hander struck out 8 Centurions over the seven innings of work while surrendering four runs.  The Panthers’ bats gave Hardy plenty of breathing room with a 5-run outburst in the bottom of the 3rd inning off GCC starter Jon White.  With one out, Riverside put together a string of five straight singles and also took advantage of a throwing error for a sixth consecutive batter to reach base.  Hardy, Ian Sutherland, and Blase McCarty picked up RBIs in the sequence.  Greensburg got one run back in the top of the fourth on a Travis Andring RBI single to left to bring home Ben Webb, but Riverside plated three more in their half of the fourth as well, with Hardy delivering a 2-RBI double to left-center field one batter after first-baseman Tyler Falk’s RBI single.  GCC’s two-run 6th was again trumped by another 3-spot in Riverside’s 6th inning at the dish, as Sutherland, McCarty, and Corey Belonzi tacked on RBI singles.  The final five Riverside runs were charged to Centurions relief pitcher Issac Hertzog, who relieved White early in the 4th-frame.  Hardy, in addition to netting the win, finished with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored for the Panthers, while Falk and centerfielder Dylan Jones each scored three times.  White took the loss for GCC.  GCC, the 14-seed, wrapped up their season at 12-7, while Riverside improved to 16-5 and will move on to continue defense of their 2011 Championship on Wednesday against Deer Lakes at Chippewa Park. 

Deer Lakes Lancers 5 - Freedom Bulldogs 4  
The 6-seeded Deer Lakes Lancers advanced to the Class AA baseball Quarterfinals Tuesday with a 5-4 victory over the Freedom Bulldogs at Pullman Park in Butler.  Freedom, the 11-seed, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning as catcher Sam Beckey and first baseman Francis O’Connor came around to score, the latter on DH Conner Yarzebinski’s RBI double.  That lead help up for the Bulldogs until the bottom of the third, with Deer Lakes erupting for a three-spot on a 2-RBI single from shortstop Kevin Begley and a follow-up RBI single from pitcher Adam Fredley.  Coming around to score were Cody Fleming, Jimmy Fiel, and Ben Lisowski, the latter two of which had reached on walks.  Freedom would tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the 5th, as a two out walk and hit-by-pitch from Deer Lakes hurler Riley Schwartz created problems that Beckey would cash in on with an RBI single to centerfield.  However, Deer Lakes plated the two decisive runs in their half of the fifth with another Begley RBI, this one a double to the left-center gap, and another RBI single from Fredley, an opposite field poke.  Freedom got one run back in the 6th inning on a Zach Keller RBI bloop that scored Yarzebinski, but could not score off of Hoffman, as the relief pitcher recorded the final two outs of the 6th, and stranded two runners in the 7th by striking out Yarzebinski, Freedom’s clean-up batter, on a lively fastball, and then getting Jordan Price to ground out to end the game.  Fredley earned the victory for Deer Lakes, pitching 5.1 innings, surrendering 4 runs with just 3 earned on 6 hits to go along with 4 strikeouts and 2 walks.  The loss went to Freedom’s Nick Schwab, who struck out 5 batters but walked 3 in 4.2 innings, and gave way to O’Connor after allowing the go-ahead runs in the 5th.  All three of Schwab’s free passes hurt him, as all three cam around to score.  Freedom wrapped up their season with a mark of 12-8, while Deer Lakes improved to 11-8 and picked up their 6th straight victory going back to the regular season.  They will advance to take on the winner of Greensburg Central Catholic and defending champion Riverside on Wednesday at Chippewa Park.


Chartiers-Houston Buccaneers 6 - Avonworth Antelopes 0  
Dylan Pounds tossed a complete-game, five-hit shutout as Chartiers-Houston beat Avonworth, 6-0, to advance to the WPIAL quarterfinals.  Pounds struck out five and never faced more than four batters in any inning.  The Bucs (13-6) scored three times in the first off losing pitcher Jake Winter, despite getting only one ball out of the infield--a two-run double by Bob Mele.  Two infield singles and two walks plated on run before Mele's hit down the line in left gave Pounds more than enough support.  Winter settled down after the first, but was charged with two unearned runs in the third.  Avonworth was limited to five singles in the game--two by Chris O'Malley--all coming early in innings (nobody out) but the Bucs turned three doubleplays to preserve the win.  The Antelopes (12-8) turned a couple of twinkills as well, including one to end the first.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers 1 - Beth-Center Bulldogs 0  
Our Lady of the Sacred Heat High School edged Beth Center by a score of 1-0 in its WPIAL A playoff game at CCAC Boyce Campus on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.  Junior pitcher Tim Mulvey pitched six scoreless innings for OLSH.  Mulvey gave up two hits and struck out six, while walking no one.  Mulvey’s hit in the second inning created OLSH’s only scoring opportunity of the game, with the run coming after a sacrifice fly off the bat of freshman Santino Platt.  Preston Falascino led the OLSH hitters with a double and two singles.  Falascino relieved Mulvey in the 7th inning, facing the final 3 batters to preserve the win.  Beth Center was led by senior pitcher Mike Knox, who held OLSH to one run on six hits, while striking out eight and walking two batters.  Knox pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning.  At the plate, C. J. Novak and Zach Holmes led Beth Center, with one hit each.  OLSH advances to the second round of the playoffs where they will face Serra Catholic at Burkett Field in Robinson Township at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16, 2012.

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