Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News
CHIPPEWA TOWNSHIP —
Wayne Seamans and Devan Schuller were quite the 1-2 punch for the Union High baseball team yesterday.
Seamans did his damage at the plate and Schuller was lethal on the mound.
Seamans delivered the go-ahead RBI double in the sixth and Schuller was stellar in relief as the Scotties rallied for a 9-5 WPIAL Class A first-round win over North Catholic at Chippewa Park.
“Good players do good things. That was a great gap shot and it picked us up,” first-year Union coach Mark Stanley said of Seamans’ sixth-inning hit. “All of a sudden, it went from there.
“That was the best Devan has pitched all year. He was 0-2 on almost every batter.”
The 10th-seeded Scotties (13-5) advance and will meet second-seeded Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at a time, date and site to be announced. The Chargers (17-2), ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class A by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, rolled to a 12-0 win over Monessen yesterday.
“It’s win and move on and we’re very fortunate to be moving on,” Stanley said. “Now we’ll get ready for OLSH.”
The win marks the first time since at least 1979 that Union has notched postseason wins in football, boys basketball and baseball. The Scotties’ football team won their first playoff game this year since ‘79.
“At a small school when you’re sharing athletes like that, there’s always one thing that lacks,” Scotties coach Mark Stanley said. “It seems this year the guys seem to excel in all three sports.
“This group has been able to do it in all three sports. I don’t think that’s very common.”
Seamans was 2 for 5 with an RBI. He led off the game with a rope off the left field fence for a double. But Seamans was stranded at second.
Schuller came in with the sacks packed in the third and got Trojans second baseman Jake Matschner to ground out to Tim Sumner at second to end the inning.
“We were definitely trying to add on there,” North Catholic coach Max Zingle said. “ We knew five runs might not be enough.
“We actually thought about stealing home there. We put it in play and hit it hard, but we didn’t drive any runs in.”
Said Schuller, “I wanted to get on the mound as soon as I possibly could. I knew I was going to pitch against OLSH, but I felt like I wanted to pitch. That’s all that was running through my head.”
Unless Union’s next game is scheduled at least Thursday or later, Schuller won’t be making the start against the Chargers because he tossed 4 1/3 innings.
Scotties starter Joe Salmen went the first 2 2/3 innings, giving up four hits and five runs with four walks and three strikeouts.
“We’ve talked all year about making the plays you’re supposed to make and pitchers throwing strikes,” Stanley said. “I thought Joey did a nice job; he did his job. I didn’t think we played well behind him. We made some mental mistakes.
“Devan was big. He came in with the bases loaded and got the out we needed. After that, I don’t think they threatened after that.”
The Scotties, trailing 5-0, wasted little time capitalizing on Schuller’s efforts in stranding the bases loaded. Union put up three runs in the top of the fourth. Schuller got the rally going with a single, followed by consecutive doubles off the center field fence by Carrington Bell and Drew Robinson.
Robinson’s two-bagger drove in a pair of runs. John Hilke knocked in Robinson to cut the deficit to 5-3.
Schuller retired North Catholic in order in the bottom of the fourth. The Trojans (10-5) struggled in the field in the fifth, committing three errors as the Scotties tied the game at 5.
Union finally knocked out North Catholic’s lefty starter Nick Tungstall in the sixth. Tungstall worked five-plus innings, pitching to two batters in the sixth. He threw 110 pitches, giving up five hits and seven runs with no walks and seven strikeouts. Tungstall took the loss.
“Nick is one of the most mentally tough pitchers on our team,” Zingle said. “I thought he pitched a great game; certainly well enough to win.”
Jacob Jendrysik opened the sixth with an infield single on a bouncer to third. Seamans then delivered his second double of the game, plating Jendrysik all the way from first.
Seamans almost didn’t have the chance to supply the heroics. Stanley put the bunt sign on, but Seamans failed on the first offering.
“I said if we get Jacob on, we’re going to bunt him over. He missed the bunt on the first try and they’re really cheating in at third,” Stanley said. “I said he’s our leading hitter, the bunt is off, you have the green light.
“The way Devan was throwing, I figure if we get him one or two runs, they weren’t having much success against him. I don’t like the bunt. I don’t like to play small ball. I believe I have the guys that can swing the bat. You do want to try and get the lead and put some more pressure on them. But when he attempted that first one, he’s my best hitter, I told him let’s go, swing at it and he picked me up.”
Jendrysik was running all the way and Stanley was waving him around from the third-base coaching box.
“I was waving Jacob in and saying come on, get there and he got there. He got a good jump,” Stanley said.
Schuller (5-1) retired the last seven batters he faced, including striking out the side in the seventh to earn the win. He gave up just one hit with no walks and nine strikeouts.
“Pretty much everything was working for me,” Schuller said. “Coach always talks a lot about throwing strikes. I threw a lot of strikes and it worked well.
“I got a lot of swing and misses on curveballs.”