New Castle News

May 16, 2013

WPIAL Baseball Playoffs: Beaver pitcher shuts down Laurel bats

Joe Sager
New Castle News

BUTLER — Once again, Austin was awesome for the Beaver High baseball team.

This time, it was Austin Logan who pitched a gem and led the Bobcats past Laurel, 6-0, in a WPIAL Class AA quarterfinal clash at historic Pullman Park.

Beaver’s Austin Ross tossed a no-hitter the last time the two teams met in Section 5 play.

Yesterday, Logan shined on the hill. He struck out 17 batters and limited the Spartans to two hits.

“We just didn’t hit the ball. We were all speechless; I don’t know what to say. I’ve never seen something like that. I’ll tip my hat to Logan; it was his day,” Laurel coach Eric Verdi said. “Bottom line, no matter who was pitching or on the field, if you can’t put the ball in play or get a guy on base, there’s no chance. I give Logan all the credit. He struck out 17 guys and that’s a rarity.”

Logan, a senior righty, fanned the first five Laurel batters. The Spartans (10-8) managed to get three balls out of the infield through six innings. At one point late in the game, Logan whiffed seven-straight batters. He struck out each Laurel hitter at least once.

“Laurel is a great team. Austin had one of the greatest nights of his life on the mound,” Beaver assistant coach Jeff Mullen said. “He hits his spots. If an umpire will give him the corners, he will paint them all night. He has great control and he throws the ball hard enough where it’s tough for batters to hit.”

Through the first six innings, R. J. Stewart had Laurel’s only hit and was the team’s lone baserunner. Brandon Ritchie added a single in the top of the seventh and two walks loaded the bases, but the Spartans failed to score.

Ross doubled in Logan for a 1-0 Bobcats (15-3) lead in the bottom of the third. They blew open the game with a five-run fifth. Jordan Yates belted a two-run single to highlight the inning. Ben Herstine, Matt Rose and Jon Hill all had run-scoring singles.

“That took a lot of pressure off the kids,” Mullen said. “We’ve done this all year where we haven’t put people away. But, by the end of the game, they come out and get the runs when they need the runs.”

It was the Bobcats’ third win over Laurel this season. Beaver swept the two section encounters (5-3 and 11-1).

“Anytime you face a team three times in a season, you never know what’s going to happen,” Mullen said. “In most sports, you don’t beat a team three times. The quality of these kids fighting away is what made us win.”

The Bobcats move on to Monday’s semifinal against Shady Side Academy (14-7), a 2-1 winner over Chartiers-Houston.