New Castle News

Sports

May 14, 2013

WPIAL Baseball Playoffs: Ritchie hurls gem as Laurel advances

CHIPPEWA TOWNSHIP — On a cold and blustery day, Brandon Ritchie brought some heat.

The senior tossed a two-hitter yesterday to lead Laurel to a 1-0 win over Washington in a WPIAL Class AA first-round baseball playoff tilt at Chippewa Park.

 The Spartans (10-7) move on to face Section 5 nemesis Beaver (14-3), a 6-5 winner over Bentworth, at a time, date and site to be announced. The Bobcats swept Laurel, 5-3 and 11-1, during section play.

 “It’s great to move on,” Laurel coach Eric Verdi said. “We get to live another day and get to go to practice (today) to work on some things. We’ll give the ball to Josh (Dando) and we’ll be ready to go for our next game.”

 Ritchie dominated on the hill against the Prexies (11-6). He struck out 13 batters and only two baseballs left the infield through the air. Another trickled through on a single.

 “I am really excited. I love these playoff settings,” he said. “It just feels good to move on; we want to keep it going.”

 The cold weather didn’t bother the George Washington University recruit. The righty had no problems reaching a high velocity on his fastball and was able to generate movement as well. His offspeed pitches were very effective as well.

 “I was kind of nervous before the game; I felt like I was a little bit tight. I am so used to playing in cold weather after this season; I’ve played in colder games. But I felt good,” he said. “I was just mixing my spots. I had a lot of tail on my fastball. I threw five or six different pitches for strikes.”

 Verdi was thrilled with Ritchie’s effort on the mound.

 “He threw a two-hitter and had all his pitches working. I was very pleased with how well he threw,” he said. “That’s just Brandon. He always says he never gets to pitch on a good (weather) day. He is used to it and he battled through it. We really needed him to be at his best and he was. I am very proud of him.”

 Washington had an early scoring opportunity in the top of the second. A dropped third strike, a hit batter and an error loaded the bases for the Prexies with one out. Ritchie shut the door when fanned the next two batters.

 “It just shows that we’re playing older than what we are right now,” he said. “We are a young team, but we stayed composed and we got out of that jam.”

 Ritchie gave himself all the runs he needed in the bottom of the fourth. Dando led off with a sharp single down the line in left. Ritchie followed with an almost identical shot. The ball skipped to the outfield wall and Dando, who was running on the pitch, came around to score. Ritchie cruised into second for a double.

“We had to get something going, so I put the runner in motion and Brandon got a good piece of it,” Verdi said. “The ball went down the line and happened to get past the outfielder and got that run.

“We had to buckle down. We didn’t start off real well fundamentally. Jordan Allen pitched a great game for Washington. We had to lean on Brandon and he came through for us. We scratched. I will take a win any day.”

Ritchie was relieved to get at least one run on the scoreboard.

“I love following Josh and Ray (Scala) in the lineup. They set the plate and I try to drive them in. I got a nice fastball on the inside part of the plate — he jammed me in my first at-bat — and I drove it down the line just like Josh did before me,” he said. “It took a lot of pressure off. I was telling the team all game just to get me one run and I wasn’t going to let (Washington) win.”

Ritchie made good on his promise. He retired the Prexies in order in the fifth and sixth. After hitting the first batter to start the seventh, he struck out the side to secure the win.

Ritchie led the way at the plate with two hits. Nick Peluso, Scala and Dando all had singles for the Spartans.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Wheaton.jpg Steelers' Wheaton eyeing chance after tough rookie year

    Markus Wheaton realizes the pressure is there, but he doesn’t mind.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Polanco.jpg Harrison’s four hits leads Pirates past Rockies, 7-5

    Josh Harrison had four hits, including a tiebreaking homer, to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Sunday. Gregory Polanco and Travis Snider also went deep for the Pirates, who avoided being swept in Colorado for the second straight season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates Rockies Baseb_Fusc.jpg Anderson leads Rockies over Pirates 8-1

    Brett Anderson pitched effectively into the seventh inning for his first win in more than a year and the Colorado Rockies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1 on Friday night.

     

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • MANGINO.jpg Mangino finding new home at Iowa State

     The first time Iowa State defensive end Cory Morrissey saw Mark Mangino, the former Kansas coach and current ISU offensive coordinator stopped him in his tracks.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates.jpg Pirates jump on Haren early, top Dodgers 6-1

    Josh Harrison had two hits with two RBIs and the Pittsburgh Pirates jumped on Dan Haren early in a 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Aloi.jpg Aloi's PIAA eligibility hearing postponed

    The wait continues for Nick Aloi. Aloi, who transferred from Ellwood City Lincoln High to Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School on Jan. 21, still does not know if he will get to play a full season for the Leopards’ basketball team

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates.jpg Polanco, Walker lift Pirates over Dodgers 12-7

    Gregory Polanco broke out of a slump with a solo home run and a tiebreaking two-run single, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ManzielJersey.jpg Manziel scores as NFL’s top-selling jersey

    Second on Cleveland’s depth chart, Johnny Manziel already tops one NFL list.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huston.jpg Greg Huston: Pedro, Steelers' Training Camp and LeBron

    Pedro Alvarez’s throwing woes have not subsided after the All-Star break and he has become a defensive liability, especially late in games.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates.jpg Pirates beat Rockies 5-3 for 3-game sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsbur‘gh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Shoot For 2
House Ads
Photo of the Day