NEW CASTLE —
Laurel High’s offense came to life in a big way yesterday.
The Spartans pounded out 15 hits and scored even more runs in a 20-8 home win over New Brighton in WPIAL Section 5-AA baseball action. The game was called after five innings because of the mercy rule.
The victory snapped a two-game skid for Laurel (8-4 section, 13-5 overall), which can clinch a WPIAL playoff berth with a home win over Beaver Falls today.
“I was real happy to see the guys hit the ball the way we hit,” Laurel coach Eric Verdi said. “We took care of business and now have to do it all over again against Beaver Falls.”
Brandon Ritchie led the Spartans attack with two doubles and two singles. Ryan Hites singled four times and drove in five runs. Todd Fennick finished 3 for 3 with three runs and four RBIs, while Dylan Jones added a pair of singles.
Josh Dando was the winning pitcher.
Laurel leads Shenango (7-5, 10-8) by a half game for the section’s final WPIAL playoff spot. The two teams meet Monday at the Wildcats’ field.
A clutch performance by Union sent the Scotties to the WPIAL Class A playoffs.
Union tied the game with two outs in the seventh inning and won it on a solo home run by Devan Schuller in the ninth and final inning of a Section 3-A road game.
The win placed Union in a two-way tie for second place in the section with Western Beaver. And since the Scotties (7-3, 11-6) beat Rochester (6-5, 6-10), which is in third place, in both matchups this year, they would win any tiebreaker with the Rams.
“They really deserved this one,” Union coach Gene DiGennaro said. “They stuck with the game plan and played together as team. They played good defense, we got a good pitching performance and really, all-out hustle won us this game.”
Carrington Bell (5-1) pitched all nine innings, striking out 13 and allowing two runs — one earned.
His teammates made sure he got the win.
Union tied it in the seventh when Drew Robinson reached first base on a wild pitch. Robinson actually struck out on the pitch, but since it got by the catcher, he sprinted to first base and beat the throw. He then stole second and scored on an RBI single by Wayne Seamans.
Schuller, who committed two errors, then connected for his only hit of the game, a home run to center field, his second homer of the season.
“Schuller made two errors, and he could have hung his head, but he didn’t,” DiGennaro said. “That’s not the kind of kid he is. He looked forward to the next play, and he made his at-bat count.”
Bell allowed only four hits and while he walked eight, three came in the first inning when he allowed his only earned run. He was dominant from then on.
“He started off with three walks and a hit batsman and we were able to get out of that with just one run,” DiGennaro said. “He threw about 90 percent fastballs. He had a lot of swings and misses. He just kept getting stronger and he was pounding the strike zone from the second inning on.”
New Castle 6,
Central Valley 4
Strong pitching performances from Johnny Matarazzo and Adam Vastano led the Red Hurricane to a Section 1-AAA road win.
Matarazzo allowed four hits and four runs — three earned — in 5 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out four. Vastano came on in relief during a key point of the game. The Warriors (1-11, 3-15) had a man on second with two outs in the sixth. Vastano walked the first batter, but struck out Central Valley’s No. 3 hitter to end the threat. He then struck out the side in the seventh to earn his first save of the season.
“(Matarazzo) was getting ahead in the count and he was getting his curveball over for strikes,” New Castle coach Paul Malley Jr. said. “He’s tough when he gets ahead in the count. He battled and pitched a good game for us.
“Vastano did a great job. He came in and struck out the final four batters of the game. That was our first save of the year.”
Vastano also drove in three runs, including capping off a three-run rally in the first inning by belting two-run single. The ’Canes (5-7, 8-9) collected five hits in the inning. They extended their lead to 5-0 in the second as Joe Ambrosini and Sean Coyne each provided RBI singles.
Ambrosini finished 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI, while Vinny Jannetti was 2 for 4 with a a run and an RBI.
We got up early and kind of sat on the lead,” Malley said. “The last five games we’re staring to come around and play better.”
Ellwood City 8,
South Side Beaver 2
Christian Kerns improved his record to 7-2 as he pitched the Wolverines to the Section 5-AA home victory.
Ellwood City (10-2, 16-2) led, 4-0, after three and blew the game open with a four-run fifth inning.
Matt Germanoski led the hosts with a double and a single. Kerns had a single and drove in two runs.
The Wolverines, who have wrapped up a WPIAL playoff berth, return to action today against New Brighton.
The ’Cats’ playoff hopes were dimmed in a Section 5-AA home setback to the Panthers.
Riverside’s Blaise McCarty limited Shenango’s batters to four hits. He struck out eight as the Panthers (11-1, 14-4) stayed atop the section standings.
Greg DePorzio led the ’Cats, currently fourth in the section, with a double and he drove in the team’s only run. Brett Chieze, Martin Tedrow and Doug Bennett added singles.
“Riverside got some opportunities early and cashed in on them,” Shenango coach Mike Othites said. “We just got a little overpowered by McCarty. They are a good team.”
Shenango returns to action tomorrow at South Side Beaver.
The Lancers continued their mastery in Section 3-A play with a home rout.
Neshannock, which swatted 12 hits, held a 5-0 lead after three innings before it erupted for 10 runs in the fourth. The game was called after that inning due to the 15-run mercy rule.
John Sansone and Anthony Van Eman both tripled and singled for the Lancers (10-0, 16-2), who wrapped up at least a tie for the section championship. Ryan Giangiuli doubled and singled, while Alex Strittmatter had two singles.
Neshannock returns to action tomorrow at Western Beaver.
The homestanding Tigers rallied in the bottom of the seventh to post a District 10, Region 2-AA triumph.
Wilmington pitcher Vince Pitzulo silenced Sharon until the final frame.
“Vince Pitzulo pitched a great game for us,” Wilmington coach Garett Malinak said. “He has three losses on the year and each are 1-0; it’s absolutely a shame. Plain and simple, we just need to hit better.”
The Greyhounds (3-3, 8-7) threatened to score in the first and sixth innings, but came up empty.
Pitzulo (2-3) struck out seven and scatted four hits. Davis Smith led Wilmington with a double and a single, while Pitzulo had two singles.
Beaver Falls 8,
The Warriors stranded 12 runners in a Section 5-AA road loss to Beaver Falls.
The Tigers (3-9, 5-12) broke the game open with a four-run fourth inning, giving them an 8-0 lead. They also registered 13 hits. Zack Miller struck out six over four innings to earn the win.
Frankie Shaffer and Luc Tyler led Mohawk (1-11, 2-16). Both went 3 for 4, but the tandem contributed six of the Warriors’ seven hits.
“We have improved a little bit in terms of getting some baserunners and creating some opportunities, but obviously we have to come through and get that timely hit,” Mohawk coach Kevin Sapp said. “A couple of times we got some runners on base with two outs, but it’s hard to get a rally going with two outs. We have to be a little more aggressive at the plate.”
NEW CASTLE —
Laurel High’s offense came to life in a big way yesterday.
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