Nathan Vargo

Eleanor Bailey/The Almanac

Bethel Park pitcher Nathan Vargo scattered four hits in 4 2/3 innings of work before yielding to Ryan Walsh and Cody Geddes in the first round of the PIAA playoffs against Central Mountain. Geddes gained the win on the mound. He also scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch as the Hawks edged the Wildcats, 4-3.

Cody Geddes scored on a wild pitch with two outs in the top of the seventh inning and guided Bethel Park to victory, 4-3, against Central Mountain in the first round of the PIAA Class 5A baseball playoffs.

Geddes socked two hits in the game, including a double, and drove in a run.

Geddes also earned the win in relief. With two runners on base in the sixth, Geddes squashed the rally. He also closed out the seventh inning against the Wildcats.

Nathan Vargo started the game and tossed 4 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and striking out one, before yielding to Ryan Walsh. The freshman got the final out in the fifth and the first in the sixth before Geddes took over.

The Black Hawks jumped on the Wildcats for two runs in the first inning. They increased their lead to 3-0 when Ryan Altmeyer drove in a run on a sacrifice fly in the third inning.

The Wildcats picked up a run in the fourth. They tied the contest, 3-3, in the fifth inning, although the Hawks were pounding out 11 hits in the game.

David Kessler tagged three hits while Evan Holewinski and Ryan Schmude each had two.

“We hit the ball well and put pressure on their very good defense but we struggled after the first inning to get hits with runners in scoring position,” said BP manager Patrick Zehnder.

“Thankfully our pitchers held down a good Central Mountain team enough to give the offense a chance to get the lead back in the seventh. Central Mountain is so well coached and never gives in no matter what the circumstances.”

Despite losing their dream of winning a WPIAL title, falling to West Allegheny, 3-0, in the district semifinals, the Hawks did not give up on their season. They blanked Thomas Jefferson, 6-0, to enter the PIAA tournament as the No. 3 seed out of District 7.

“I was very happy with how the guys have responded,” Zehnder said.

The Black Hawks also showed no affects of their long bus ride to Lock Haven University to battle the Wildcats at Watkins Field in the first round of the state tournament.

“They came out after a long trip with a lot of good energy and were ready to go. Thankfully they are experienced and know how to get their bodies going after sitting on a bus for four hours,” Zehnder said.

En route to a state championship last year, the Black Hawks made trips to Northern York, Southern Lehigh and Altoona before beating Red Land, 4-2, at Penn State. BP edged Central Mountain, 1-0, in last year’s state semifinals.

With the win against the Wild Cats, BP improved to 18-3 overall. They faced West Allegheny (20-4) in the state quarterfinals June 9 at Washington and Jefferson College’s Memorial Park.

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.

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