WPIAL Baseball Playoff Recaps for Wednesday, May 16th

Quarterfinals Wednesday in All Four Classifications
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For those teams who enjoyed an opening round bye, it was the first taste of postseason play after a lengthy rest. For all others, it was a quick turnaround after winning a playoff game just 24 hours before. Day Two WAS Round Two of the 2012 WPIAL Baseball Playoffs as the Quarterfinals was the focus in all four classifications. Here are recaps from the games heard here on The Network as the winners head to the Final Four while the losers are left to wonder...what happened?

A special thanks to Bob Orkwis, Randy Gore, Don Rebel, Ken Laird, Mark Schaas, Dennis Fischer, Lee Mohn, Brandon Showers and Hugh Mulvey for their help on the recaps. 

WPIAL CLASS AAAA QUARTERFINALS:

Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 5 - Norwin Knights 2  
Luke Hagy led off the game with an opposite field homerun off of Knights starting pitcher Nick Cubarney and the ninth seeded Blue Devils never looked back in upsetting top seeded Norwin at Gateway High School.  After Hagy’s homer, Anthony Paladino walked and scored on shortstop Ian Happ’s triple to centerfield. Pat Goff blooped a singled to leftfield scoring Happ and Mt. Lebanon jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Sophomore pitcher Mike Duffy would make the lead stand up, as the right hander allowed only one hit through 6 innings against a potent Norwin lineup. The Knights would score a run in the bottom of the second inning, when Nick Kolat led off with a walk and took second on a wild pitch. Jake Pribanic’s groundout moved Kolat to third and the senior third baseman would score on another wild pitch. But the Blue Devils answered back in the third inning. After one out, Paladino was hit by a pitch and Haap would work the count full against Northeastern bound Cubarney. The senior hit the payoff pitch over the right field fence and Mt. Lebanon had a 5-1 lead. Duffy, who allowed only a two-out single to Max McDowell in the first inning, would retire 10 straight Knights at one point. Norwin, which came into the game undefeated at (17-0), would try to stage a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. Pribanic reached base on an error. Cubarney’s ground out moved him to second and he would score on a base hit by designated hitter Casey Rebosky. Rebosky took second on a passed ball and then moved to third on an infield single by Max Redovan. Mt. Lebanon head coach Pat McCloskey then went to his bullpen, calling in the hitting hero Happ to close the door on Norwin. Facing the top of the Knights batting order, Happ slammed the door shut on Norwin’s season, striking out Tommy Quealy and Cameron Onderko to preserve the 3-run victory and earn the save. Duffy, who pitched well in a late season win over Peters Township, allowed only two hits and one earned run in 6 and 1/3 innings. The Knights, who were also (17-0) last season, suffered déjà vu once again by seeing their perfect season end in a quarterfinal playoff loss to a Section 3 team. Battled tested Mt. Lebanon, who defeated Plum 8-2 on Monday night, improved to (13-8) with the win. The Blue Devils move into the AAAA semifinals for the first time since 2006, a year in which they captured the WPIAL Championship. Mt. Lebanon will face its third consecutive higher seed, when the Blue Devils take on 5th seeded North Allegheny in the Quad-A final four. The Tigers defeated Hempfield 10-0 in their quarterfinal matchup. The semifinals will be held next week at a site and time to be determined. You can catch the Blue Devils and the Tigers in action next week right here on the MSA Sports Network.

North Allegheny Tigers 10 - Hempfield Spartans 0 
Sophomore Mitch Machi tossed five scoreless innings and drove in two runs in North Allegheny’s 10-0 win over the Hempfield Spartans on Wednesday night.   Machi went 3-for-4 at the plate and invoked the 10-run rule with an RBI single in the 6th inning to end the Class AAAA quarterfinal contest.  On the bump, Machi went 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball and struck out eight batters along the way.  The game was one-sided from the start as the Tigers scored at least a run in every inning of the game.  Every batter in the line-up produced a hit and all but one produced either a run or RBI.  Other notable games included junior catcher Justin Dattilo’s 3-for-4, two RBI performance.  Tigers DH David Steinbeck had two RBI’s and a pair of hits, including a triple.  For Hempfield, it was a quiet night with the exception of a 2-for-2 night for DH Greg Martin.  North Allegheny improves their record to 13-9 on the season and advances to the AAAA semifinals to face the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils.  Hempfield’s year concludes with a 16-6 record.

Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings 6 - Bethel Park Black Hawks 2  
The Vikings used gutty pitching, timely hitting and solid defense to pull off the upset of the second-seed Black Hawks 6-2 Wednesday at the Boyce-Mayview Complex in Upper St. Clair. Bethel Park struck first on an RBI double by Logan Corrigan in the 3rd inning to score Jake McCall who had walked. However the Hawks left the bases loaded. The lead was short-lived as Central Catholic answered with two runs of BP starter Aaron LaPaglia on a sac fly by Cam Balego to score P.J. DeMeo and an RBI single by Dom Fazio scoring Garrett Vrbanic. Both runs were unearned when DeMeo reached on an overthrow to start the inning and Vrbanic was safe at second on a dropped ball during a stolen base attempt. The Vikings chased LaPaglia in the 5th inning when they scored four runs after two outs. Two singles sandwiched a fground out and an intentional walk loaded the bases as Tyler Grishoff replaced LaPaglia. After a strike out, Sabbatino DiNardo walked, Cole Carlino was hit by a pitch and David O'Leary singled to left to drive in two more giving Central Catholic a 6-1 lead. Courtesy runner Zac Forsyth scored the games final run in the 6th inning when Vikings 1B O'Leary could not come up with a line drive off the bat of Ryan Kogler. The Vikings got a solid performance from starter Matt Stoessel, a Bethel Park resident, who pitched five innings, allowed one earned run on three hits. Dom Fazio pitched the final two innings, giving up an unearned run on one hit. Central Catholic improves to 17-4 with their eighth straght win and will battle defending champion Seneca Valley next week in the Semifinals. AAAA Section 3 champion Bethel Park ends their season with a record of 18-3.      

Seneca Valley Raiders 5 - Upper St. Clair Panthers 2 
A three-run 6th inning for the 3rd-seeded Seneca Valley Raiders broke a 2-2 tie and sent the defending champions to a 5-2 victory over the 6th-seeded Upper St. Clair Panthers in the Quad A baseball quarterfinals on Wednesday at Fox Chapel High School.  Misplays in the field aided in the decisive run-surge, as Brad Gresock reached to start that bottom of the frame on a dropped ball in right field.  Gresock’s courtesy runner Johnny Choma would come around to score after a sacrifice bunt, a single from Austin Bream, and a Zach Spangler RBI single off of the third-baseman’s glove.  Then, Seneca third baseman Carson Kessler broke the game open with a two-run RBI double to left, smashing one off the wall on a hop.  Those three unearned runs led to a tough-luck loss for USC starting pitcher Steve Gannon, who at one point retired 11 straight and 12 of 13 opposing batters.  Gannon went the distance, as did winning pitcher Matt Smith who allowed just 5 hits through 7 innings, with only 1 of his 2 runs allowed earned.  USC took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI single by Jack Elliott, as Mike Wilcox dove safe at home plate ahead of a strong throw by Seneca left-fielder Connor Coward.  After a 2-spot by the Raiders in the bottom of the 1st inning on RBI singles by Sam Fragale and Jason Martin, USC settled in and tied the game in the 5th as Alex Bell’s groundout brought home Shane McMurty.  However, USC began that 5th with runners on 2nd and 3rd base and nobody out, and was unable to scratch more than one run across.  The Panthers finished their WPIAL season at 15-5, while Seneca Valley improved to 16-4 and advanced to the Semifinals.


WPIAL CLASS AAA QUARTERFINALS:

Blackhawk Cougars 1 - Chartiers Valley Colts 0  
It was a Blackhawk pitcher who was nearly unhittable at North Allegheny High School, but it wasn't who you would think. Senior Adam Rosseau found out about an hour before the game that he would get the start over sophomore Brendan McKay and he made the most of it. Rosseau tossed six scoreless innings and allowed two hits, pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, the righthander fanned nine and walked only two. He sat down twelve straight Colts batters from the first thru the fifth inning. Blackhawk got the only run of the game in the top of the second on Joe Lopez's double, he was caught trying to stretch the hit into a triple to end the inning. Char Valley pitcher Mike Mulvihill was also strong, he struck out nine in going the distance. Mulvihill had a stretch where he retired nine in a row.
Char Valley loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth with one out, Rosseau got Mike Teti to pop out to third and Dom Castello to ground out to end the inning. McKay did come on in the bottom of the seventh, he retired the side in order to get the save. Coach Bob Amelia said after the game that he had McKay as the starter, but decided to go with Rosseau after McKay had trouble getting loose. Ohio State recruit Matt Emge was 1-3, Amelia said he is battling a bad ankle and has not practiced in over a week. Blackhawk is now 19-2 overall, the Cougars avenge losses to the Colts in both the 2009 and 2011 quarterfinals. Up next for Blackhawk is Thomas Jefferson in the semifinals next week. Char Valley ends their season 15-7.

Thomas Jefferson Jaguars 1 - Hampton Talbots 0 in 11 Innings 
In a game for the ages, the #4 seed Thomas Jefferson Jaguars defeated the #5 seed Hampton Talbots 1-0 in 11 innings in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL baseball playoffs at Woodland Hills on Wednesday afternoon, the game ending on a controversial call.  TJ will play the winner of the Blackhawk/Chartiers Valley game in the semifinals at a site and date yet to be determined.  Senior righthander, Greg Schneider, pitched the first nine innings for Thomas Jefferson, stifling Hampton on just three hits while striking out 17.  But a trio of Talbot pitchers matched Schneider and reliever Joe Shaffer through 10 innings in what turned out to be a classic pitchers' duel.  Junior Joe Vita pitched the first 5 2/3, followed by junior Brandon Marsonek with two scoreless innings, and sophomore Ben Vey with 2 2/3 of shutout ball.  Together, they allowed eight hits and struck out 10.  But in the bottom of the 11th, the Jaguars Joe McHugh led off with a single and advanced to second on a fielder's choice.  After an intentional walk, and another fielder's choice that moved the runners to second and third, a second intentional walk loaded the bases with two outs.  Ryan Ruffing then hit a groundball to third.  Ryan Gally fielded the ball cleanly and appeared to tag a sliding Derek Toboz coming from second base.  However, Toboz was ruled safe as McHugh raced in from third with the winning run.  Shaffer was the winning pitcher for Thomas Jefferson (15-4), completing the final two innings, giving up two hits and two walks while striking out one.  Sophomore David Cricks, Hampton's fourth pitcher of the day, took the loss giving up one hit and two intentional passes.  Hampton's season ends with the Talbots finishing at 14-7.

Hopewell Vikings 2 - Greensburg-Salem Golden Lions 1 
Hopewell scored 2 runs in the top of the 6th inning to squeak out a 2-1 victory over Greensburg Salem and move on to the semi finals next week.  It was a pitchers duel through the first 3 innings as Greensburg Salem's Pat Boyer and Hopewell's Tim Hughes would combine to just give up 3 hits.  Greensburg Salem would strike in the 4th inning loading the bases with no outs off of reliever Stefan Mrkonja.  Mrkonja would walk in the first run then would get 2 infield flies and a strikeout to get out of the jam.  Hopewell would score there 2 runs in the 6th putting the first 2 runners on via an error and walk.  Logan Johnston would knock in the tying run putting runners on 2nd and 3rd then a suicide squeeze by David Claypoole would provide the go ahead run.  That is all Stefan Mrkonja needed as he cruised the rest of the way striking out 6 in a row then getting the ground ball to end the game.  Greensburg Salem finishes the season 15-5-1 while Hopewell improves to 18-3.


WPIAL CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS:

South Fayette Lions 12 - Laurel Spartans 4  
The Lions took advantage of eleven walks, two hit batters and six Spartan errors to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2009 with the win at North Allegheny.
Laurel starting pitcher Brandon Ritchie was perfect thru the first two innings and the Spartans jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a run scoring single by Brad Telesz and a wild pitch that scored Ryan Hites. But that lead quickly evaporated as the Lions sent ten batters to the plate in the top of the third. Jake Quattro singled home a run, Aaron Fonner brought home two with a single and Dylan Witt was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, giving South Fayette a 4-2 lead. Laurel cut into the lead with a R.J. Stewart ground ball that scored a run in the bottom of the inning. South Fayette widened the margin with a three run fifth, with two walks and a pair of Laurel miscues. Zach Fonner squeezed home a run to push the score to 7-3. The Spartans scored in the sixth, Hites led off with a single and scored after a pair of South Fayette errors. South Fayette batted around in the seventh off of reliever Josh Dando, scoring five runs to move on to next week. Adam Nietsch started for the Lions, he was pulled after 1 1/3 innings, Aaron Fonner came on and allowed just two runs the rest of the way to get the win, he was also 3-5 at the plate with three rbi's. Mike Fetchet added an inside the park homer to center in the seventh. South Fayette is now 15-6 overall.
Brandon Ritchie started for the second consecutive day for Laurel, he took the loss allowing seven runs and walked seven batters. Hites and Telesz each were 2-3 for the Spartans, who finish 16-6.

Shady Side Academy Indians 5 - Fort Cherry Rangers 2  
Tuesday Shady Side was able to relinquish the first playoff game played demons that haunted them from last year and today they were able to relinquish the quarterfinals demon.  Coach Bob Grandazio Jr. had to rely on his second pitcher Andrew Geisler.  Geisler pitched a complete game gem giving up two runs on two hits.  His team gave him the run support it needed by plating five runs on seven hits.  The scoring started in the top of the third when Geisler’s control was not at its best.  After beaning the first three batters of the inning and loading the bases full of Fort Cherry Rangers he then settled down a little getting one of his six strikeouts on Tanner Garry.  Then catcher Matt Shaffer hit a sacrifice fly to center field plating Koltan Kobrys.  That was all the damage the Rangers could muster though when the stranded the other two runners on base.  Shady Side didn’t hesitate to respond the Rangers run when in the bottom of the third Centerfielder Mike Holzinger was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on a Chuckie Scales single.  Scales advanced to second on a nice piece of base running as there was a close play at third and some dispute to the call.  Shortstop Paul McCullough came up with the infield in and hit a ground ball to the second baseman Justin Tkach that got past his outstretched glove.  With the speed of the order on second and third both Scales and Holzinger were plated on the contact by McCullough.  Shady Side not content with the one run lead though in the bottom of the fourth wanted to add to the lead.  Right fielder Evan Eisner walked and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Coleman Strohm.  Eisner later scored on a gap shot double by Mike Holzinger.  Shady Side plated two more runs on starting pitcher Matt Heslin who took the loss in the fifth when Ben Hartz and courtesy runner Will Ruppel scored in place of catcher Jake Kleindl.  Fort Cherry did not go gently in the sixth when they were able to score the first batter of the inning Ryan Babirad after he reached on an error and scored on a Korbrys double.  After not scoring in the sixth starter Andrew Geisler took the ball in the top of the seventh to finish the complete game and sat down the side in order.  Shady Side will player the winner of Riverside and Deer Lakes at a site and time to be determined.  Fort Cherry ends their season after getting a first round win in the playoffs as well as a section title.


WPIAL CLASS A QUARTERFINALS:

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers 6 - Serra Catholic Eagles 5 in 9 Innings  
In the WPIAL quarterfinal on Wednesday, May 26, 2012, at Burkett Field in Robinson Township, a young upstart baseball team from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School faced off against perennial powerhouse, Serra Catholic, led by star pitcher Alain Girman while Preston Falascino took the mound for OLSH.  Serra broke through in the third inning with three runs on two walks and two OLSH errors.  OLSH answered in the home half of the inning with two runs on a Santino Platt single and Tristan Snyder double, followed by a walk and a single by Brandon Duerr.  Serra added a run in the fourth inning on a Girman triple.  In this seesaw battle, OLSH regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Noah Shahen doubled and scored on a hit by pitcher Falascino.  Falascino scored on a double by Brandon Duerr, to tie the score at 4-4.  Tim Mulvey’s single drove in Duerr and OLSH had its first lead, 5-4.  In the sixth inning, the Eagles tied the game when a single by Kugler, a walk by Coddington, a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch combined to allow Coddington to score.  Alain Girman finished the sixth inning and was relieved by Chad Hazaga in the seventh.  Preston Falascino pitched through the eighth inning and was relieved by Jason Lanoy in the ninth with the score still knotted at 5-5.  The bottom of the ninth started for OLSH with a Falascino single and a walk by Duerr.    A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third.  Jason Lanoy was walked intentionally, and a fielder’s choice recorded the second out, leaving the bases loaded for Santino Platt, whose infield single scored Duerr with the game winning run.  OLSH: 5 runs, 11 hits, 3 errors; Serra:  5 runs, 7 hits, 1 error.  Jason Lanoy was the winning pitcher, while Chad Hazaga took the loss for Serra.  OLSH advances to the third round of the playoffs and will meet Neshannock, defending WPIAL Class A champion, at a date and location to be named soon.

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