Bethel Park sacrificed its way into the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals for the second year in a row when the Blackhawks rebounded from miscues and defeated South Fayette, 3-2, in a playoff contest May 18 at Boyce-Mayview Park.

“This team is so unselfish,” said BP coach Patrick Zehnder.

He added that the Hawks had worked on their bunting skills because in the playoffs teams encounter opponents with good batteries that are going to control the running game. Thus BP’s objective was to get guys in scoring position then give themselves a chance to win.

After giving away a pair of runs on three errors and a wild pitch in the top of the sixth, the Hawks responded with their own two-run frame on just one hit.

Cody Geddes reached second base when a fly ball to right field was misplayed and scored on a double by Ray Altmeyer. Pinch-runner Ryan Petras moved to third on John Chalus’ second bunt of the game and scored on Bo Conrad’s sacrifice fly to center field.

“You can’t control the mistake you just made, but you can control how you come back from it,” Zahnder said.

SF came back by taking advantage of several BP fielding miscues.

In the top of the sixth, the Lions forged ahead, 2-1, when Christian Brandi reach base on an error. Throwing errors on an attempted steal saw Brandi score. Tyler Pitzer followed with a double and scored on a wild pitch.

“The guys who made some uncharacteristic mistakes in the top of the sixth but they were our biggest cheerleaders in the dugout, rooting for the rest of the team to find a way,” Zehnder said.

Evan Holewinski and Ryan Walsh did the job for the Hawks on the mound.

A freshman, Walsh struck out two and walked one to record the win. He also fielded a bunt to his right side and completed the throw to Nathan Vargo for an out.

“Ryan’s a special guy. A quiet competitor,” Zehnder said. “He has that killer instinct. While the moment can be big for seniors, I am so impressed what he did in those moments.”

Holewinski pitched 5 2/3 innings. He struck out nine, walked one and scattered four hits.

“Evan is such a bulldog out there. That was a courageous performance by him. Unbelievable effort to keep a lineup like that off balance,” Zehnder said.

“That’s a state championship caliber team in South Fayette and all credit to Coach (Ken) Morgan and what they do over there.”

Chase Krewson did the job on the mound for the Lions. Though he was saddled with the loss, he struck out seven and scattered five hits.

Altmeyer tagged two doubles. Bo Conrad also doubled while David Kessler and Geddes singled.

BP took the lead, 1-0, in the second inning. Chalus was hit by a pitch and yielded to Petras, who moved to third on Conrad’s double and scored on Dylan Schmude’s sacrifice fly to center field.

“It doesn’t have to be pretty and in the playoffs, it won’t usually be, but you have to keep pushing and finding a way,” Zehnder said. “These guys just refuse to lose no matter what the situation is. They keep going. They keep fighting.”

BP, SF advance

Bethel Park and South Fayette reached their quarterfinal showing in dramatically different fashion.

The Hawks needed 11 innings to beat No. 15 Gateway, 6-5, while the Lions blanked Franklin Regional, 10-0, in first-round games played May 17 at the Burkett Sports Complex in Robinson Township.

David Kessler scored the game-winning run for the Hawks on a walk-off double by Cody Geddes.

Geddes also pitched three innings, striking out six. He was one of four pitchers used by the Blackhawks in the extra-inning affair.

Nathan Vargo pitched the first four innings, striking out four. Ryan Walsh hurled 2 2/3 innings, fanning four.

Evan Holewinski was the winning pitcher. He pitched 1 1/3 innings and struck out one.

Offensively, the Hawks received doubles from Jason Nuttridge, Ben Hudson (2) and Kessler, who finished with three hits in five plate appearances.

For South Fayette, Tyler Pitzer pitched a perfect game.

In the five-inning affair, Pitzer fanned nine batters, including seven of the first 10 hitters he faced.

A South Carolina recruit, Pitzer helped himself at the plate. He tagged a triple and drove in two runs.

Michael DiMartini and Gino Satira also drove in two runs each while Chase Krewson, Christian Brandi and Lucas Cooper had the other RBI

DiMartini, Krewson and Brandi each doubled.

Miller leads PT

Sam Miller pitched and batted Peters Township to victory against Connellsville, 7-0, in a first-round Class 5A playoff on May 17 at W&J’s Ross Memorial Park.

On the mound, Miller tossed a four-hitter. He struck out four and walked one. Offensively, he cracked a home run in the first inning.

Drew Ripeppi drilled two hits, including a double, as did Bryce Thompson, who also added two RBI.

Thompson provided one of the big blows as the Indians edged Penn-Trafford, 6-5, in a quarterfinal game on May 18 at West Mifflin.

Thompson tagged a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to vault PT into the lead, 4-3.

The Warriors though forged ahead, 5-4, but in the bottom of the seventh, Jack Kail and Miller smacked back-to-back doubles to even the score. Wes Parker then smacked the walk-off single, scoring Miller with the winning run.

Earlier in the game, Jack Lutte doubled in the fourth to cut P-T’s 2-0 first-frame lead in half.

With the win, the Indians improved to 20-1 overall and advanced to the semifinals to face No. 12 seed Thomas Jefferson, a 1-0 winner over Chartiers Valley.

Upset for CV

CV (10-11) upended No. 4-seeded Mars, 8-6, in a Class 5A postseason game played at North Allegheny.

The Colts scored three unearned runs in the top of the seventh to dispatch the Planets, who finished the season at 14-4 overall.

While Andrew Evans picked up the win on the mound, Kyle Witte accounted for two of the Colts’ nine hits. Kacey Threats and Brendan Cruz each drove in two runs.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!