WASHINGTON, Pa. —
A strong offense put the Ellwood City Lincoln High baseball program back on top of the WPIAL landscape.
Zach Mathias recorded three of the Wolverines’ 11 hits in a 9-7 WPIAL Class AA championship win over crosstown rival Riverside yesterday at Washington’s Consol Energy Park.
The win captures the fourth district title overall for Ellwood City and the first since 2003. The top-seeded Wolverines (21-2) won crowns in 1962, 2001 and 2003 prior to yesterday’s.
“It’s a great feeling; they played a great game,” Ellwood City coach Jeff Fotia said. “We made some mistakes and walked some people when we shouldn’t have, but we came out on the top end and that’s the main thing.”
Ellwood City, ranked No. 2 in the WPIAL in Class AA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, will square off against District 5 champion North Star on Monday at a time and site to be determined. North Star (16-4) claimed the District 5 title yesterday with a 3-0 win over Bedford.
The Wolverines defeated the section-rival Panthers yesterday for the second time this year. Ellwood City lost the first matchup, 1-0, before capturing the rematch and sealing a share of the Section crown, 13-3.
“As long as Ellwood and Riverside play, it’ll always be like this,” Fotia said of the rivalry. “They have guys who work hard; they have coaches who are good coaches and work hard.
“They are the same mold of kid. They are all original Ellwood people that just branched out.”
Riverside (18-6), ranked No. 3 by the Post-Gazette, will meet the District 8 or District 9 champion on Monday at a time and site to be determined. The Panthers came in as the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class AA champions.
“We didn’t play well. We gave them too many shots,” Riverside coach Dan Oliastro said. “Our kids bounced back. They are a good team. I suspect we might meet them again.
“Most of these kids are first-year players. Most of these players did get better as the year went on.”