NEW CASTLE —
The news was bad yesterday for the Shenango High baseball team.
Needing a win and holding a four-run lead in the seventh, the Wildcats gave up five runs and dropped an 8-7 WPIAL Section 5-AA matchup to South Side Beaver.
The loss eliminates Shenango (7-6 section, 10-9 overall) from the playoffs. The visiting Wildcats needed a win over South Side Beaver (5-8, 11-8) and another victory on Monday against Laurel to reach the playoffs.
“I feel bad for my seniors,” Shenango coach Mike Othites said. “Once again, we’re going to fall a game short.
“It’s a disheartening loss.”
Wildcats starter Brent McCormick worked 62⁄3 innings. He got the first two outs of the seventh before allowing a hit, a walk and another hit. On a 3-2 pitch to the next batter, McCormick just missed the strike zone and walked in a run.
Othites pulled McCormick and put in Brayden Davies. The host Rams registered three consecutive hits off Davies (2-3) to cap the comeback and post the win.
“You go with your gut sometimes. But my gut failed me,” Othites said. “Davies threw his best.
“I give their hitters credit, they placed them perfectly; they did a nice job at the plate.”
McCormick allowed six hits and seven runs — all earned — with two walks and two strikeouts.
Brett Chieze paced the Wildcats with three hits and Dane Gecina added a pair. Gecina drove in two runs as well.
Shenango’s last trip to the WPIAL playoffs was in 2003 under Jan Budai. The Wildcats were looking like a good bet to end that slump this year, owning victories over Ellwood City (11-2, 17-2) and Riverside (12-1, 15-4).
“We were a little bit inconsistent this year,” Othites said. “I thought we overcame a lot and I thought my young kids did a nice job.
“Most of my staff is sophomores and that’s a good thing. Hopefully there’s brightness in our future. This one will bother me for a long time.”
The Wolverines are ranked No. 3 in the WPIAL in Class AA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Panthers, the defending WPIAL and Class AA champions, are ranked No. 1.
The WPIAL baseball pairings will be announced Friday.
Quigley Catholic 3
Union scored five runs in the first inning en route to a Section 3-A home win over Quigley Catholic.
The Scotties (8-3, 12-6) have won four of their last five games.
“This was a good win for us and a good way to end the home schedule,” Scotties coach Gene DiGennaro said. “At this point of the season, we’re looking to improve on our seed.
“We have to finish strong and go into the playoffs on a high note.”
Steve Donnelly (2-0) started and earned the win. Donnelly tossed five innings, surrendering five hits and a run — earned — with no walks and five strikeouts.
“It’s good to see Steve pitch well,” DiGennaro said. “He’s been working hard.
“Every time we’ve called on him, he’s thrown well and kept the hitters off balance.”
David Wright, Drew Robinson, Joe Salmen and Devan Schuller all had two hits each for Union, which banged out 13 hits as a team. Schuller knocked in three runs and Matt Cassella chipped in with two.
A bang-bang play at first base was all that kept Wilmington’s Drew Nichols from a perfect game.
Nichols (3-2) struck out four, didn’t walk a batter and allowed just an infield single in the third inning of the District 10, Region 2-AA home contest. The game was called after four innings because of the mercy rule.
“He was sparkling today,” Greyhounds coach Garett Malinak said of Nichols. “He was locating the ball really well and they played really good defense behind him. He was fantastic for us.
“And our three captains — Anthony Derrick, Vince Pitzulo and James Foltz — were excellent at the plate today. That was big for us because we were struggling to score some runs.”
Wilmington (4-3, 9-7) managed only three runs in their previous two games, but broke free in a big way against Reynolds (3-4, 5-7). The Greyhounds scored four runs in the second and blew the game open with 10 in the third.
Derrick was 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs, while Pitzulo went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Foltz added two hits, two runs and drove in two. They combined to go 7 for 10 with six RBIs and five runs scored. The Greyhounds tallied 13 total hits.
Western Beaver 4
Marcus Giangiuli led a high-powered Neshannock offense and helped the Lancers pull away from Western Beaver in a Section 3-A road matchup.
Neshannock led, 4-1, before the Golden Beavers scored two runs off Lancers ace Alex Strittmatter in the fourth inning to pull within one. A close game was new territory to Neshannock (17-2, 11-0), which has outscored its section opponents, 136-23, and is on a 15-game winning streak.
The Lancers are ranked No. 2 in the WPIAL in Class A by the Post-Gazette.
“I told the kids, ‘It’s 4-3. It’s about time we’re in a good ballgame. Let’s see what we can do,’ ” Lancers coach Mike Kirkwood said. “And we scored two runs in each of the next three innings.”
Giangiuli went 4 for 4 with two runs scored and four RBIs. The Lancers had been using a designated hitter for Giangiuli earlier in the year, but he’s been on a tear as of late.
“He kept his composure and kept battling,” Kirkwood said. “Over the past five games, he’s 11 for 15 with 10 RBIs. It’s pretty amazing. He’s swinging at better pitches and being a little more consistent in the strike zone. He’s not getting himself in a hole. It’s a little better approach and it’s giving him some confidence.”
Giangiuli had help, too. John Sansone hit his county-leading sixth home run. He also scored twice and drove in two.
Strittmatter (7-0) struck out nine over seven innings. He yielded four runs — three earned — on 10 hits and two walks.
“His pitch count was a little higher than I’d like, but I can’t take anything away from Western Beaver,” Kirkwood said. “They swing the bat as well as anyone we’ve played — Double-A, Triple-A, it doesn’t matter. They can swing the bat.”
Union misses playoffs by a game
Rochester rolled to a 22-8 win over Western Beaver in a Section 5-A matchup. The Lady Rams’ win eliminates the Lady Scots from the WPIAL playoffs.
Union (6-6, 8-9) needed a loss by Rochester to clinch a playoff spot. A Lady Rams (7-5, 10-8) loss would have sent both them and the Lady Scots to the postseason by virtue of a head-to-head split of the regular season series. But Rochester locked up the third and final berth by themselves with the verdict.
The WPIAL softball pairings will be announced Thursday.
Track and field
Yohman paves way
Jon Yohman led Wilmington at the 39th annual Baldwin High School Invitational.
Yohman finished second in the shot put with a throw of 58-0. Yohman also placed third in the discus with a toss of 161-2. Slavi Pontius tied for eighth in the high jump at 6-0. Leading the girls was Alexis King, who took third in the long jump with a leap of 17-91⁄2. Mariah Burns placed eighth in the long jump at 16-10. The girls 400-meter relay team finished seventh at 51.8. The team consists of Ally Miller, Burns, King and Tessa Sikora.
“I was real proud of the kids,” said Wilmington coach J.R. McFarland, who estimated that about 100 teams competed in the invitational. “It’s a very competitive meet, and we had a lot of (personal-best times), so we were just very pleased with how well the kids did.”
NEW CASTLE —
The news was bad yesterday for the Shenango High baseball team.
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