Prep Baseball Report

Game Recaps: WPIAL Finals

By Matthew Haines
PA Summer Intern (Mercyhurst University)

A crowd in excess of 3,000 filed in to Consol Energy Park Thursday evening to see the completion of the WPIAL 1A title game followed by the championship tilts in Class 4A and 3A respectively. The majority of the large crowd arrived late to catch a glimpse of Blackhawk senior LHP Brendan McKay in his pursuit of the all-time national record for consecutive scoreless innings. Following is a recap of the day's action with all teams advancing to PIAA state tournament action next Monday.

California Area 6, Carmichaels 1 (Class A)

In a game that began on Tuesday and was suspended due to lightning in the top of the 4th inning, California resumed play with a bang. The Trojans had runners at 1B and 2B with no outs when play resumed and wasted little time seizing control of the game with consecutive singles by Casey Zajicek, Jake Columbus and Louden Conte. 2014 3B Ronnie Baron extended the lead in the 6th inning with a two-out, two-run double. Trojans' starter Josh Luko returned to the hill to complete a dominant complete game performance that he began two days prior allowing four hits and no runs while striking out four over the final four frames.

Both teams advance Monday's first round of the PIAA state tourney where California will play Cranberry (District 9 runners-up) and Carmichaels will play Southern Fulton (District 5 champions).

Seneca Valley 5, Baldwin 2 (Class 4A)

Baldwin jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead over Seneca Valley getting their first six batters on base but RHP Connor Coward (Virginia Tech), ranked #8 in the PA Class of 2014, was able to limit the damage. Following his lengthy 1st inning, in which he wiggled out of a bases loaded jam, he went on to pitch a gem striking out eleven, while walking nobody. On the other side of the ball 2014 RHP Alex Pantuso, a Slippery Rock recruit, allowed just one run through the first four innings.

Matt Rafferty2014 OF Matt Rafferty, who went 2-for-2 with two walks, ignited the Seneca Valley offense by launching a 5th inning lead-off home run to tie the game at two. The Raiders went on to score four runs in the frame allowing Coward some breathing room.

Rafferty led the Raiders on offense getting on base four times. Pantuso went 5 1/3 innings allowing five total runs while striking out seven and walking five. He was relieved by Nicholas Bernick who pitched 1 1/3 innings to finish the game.

Seneca Valley will play Moon (WPIAL No. 3 seed) in the first round of the 2014 PIAA Class AAAA Baseball Championship. Baldwin advances to play DuBois (District 9 champions) in the opening round.

west allegheny 5, blackhawk 3 (8 innings)

Blackhawk West AThe game everyone was waiting for went a little differently than everyone expected. LHP Brendan McKay was everything he was advertised to be through the first two innings of the game, but then with two outs and one on in the 3rd, Mckay did something he hasn't done all season. He hung a breaking ball and allowed a run off a two out Tyler Amedure double.

Mckay registered 71 2/3 scoreless innings of baseball during his impressive streak, placing himself in the national record books with the 3rd longest streak in the history of high school baseball.

West Allegheny was not done scoring as 2015 OF Michael Cummings then singled to plate Amedure with the 2nd run of the inning. The Indians scored again in the 3rd on of a pair of singles from Brandon Pouch and Jake Cunningham.

The game looked almost lost, but Blackhawk battled back in the fourth to tie the game with an RBI triple from Joe Campagna and an RBI single from Cody Bain.

Amedure came on in relief of West Allegheny starter Colin Claus after the three run fourth and went on to pitch five shutout innings to register the win. Amedure's one-out double in the top of the 8th was followed by an RBI single from Cummings and some heady base running by Cummings that allowed the Indians to score a 2nd run on a ground out. Amedure set the Cougars down in order in the bottom of the extra frame to secure the win.             

Blackhawk will face Somerset (Distrcit 5/6/8 Sub-regional winners) in the PIAA Class AAA 1st round. West Allegheny advances to face Punxsutawney (Distrcit 9 champions) in 1st round action.​

+ See the Pennsylvania Scout Blog for measureables and scouting notes on Conte, Aaron Previsky, Coward, Pantuso, Claus, Amedure, McKay, Campagna & Dante Parente.

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