Upper St. Clair and South Fayette advanced in the WPIAL baseball playoffs, while Mt. Lebanon and Peters Township ended their seasons.
While the Panthers and Lions were defeating Hempfield, 6-3, and Montour, 5-4, respectively, the Blue Devils and Indians dropped decisions to Norwin, 10-2, and Butler, 5-3.
USC improved to 13-6 overall and moved on to face top-seeded Penn-Trafford at 4 p.m. May 21 at West Mifflin in the quarterfinals of the Class 6A tournament.
“Penn Trafford is a very good team, but we expect that every team in the quarterfinals is a good team,” USC manager Jerry Malarkey said. “We are playing good baseball right now and we are excited to be continuing playing.”
Andrew Casey smacked a home run with Ryan Ghise aboard in the first frame.
After Mark Krolczzk doubled and Joe Casey walked, Grant Walnoha drilled a two-run double in the second stanza.
USC tacked on two more runs in the fourth. Luke Geisler doubled home J. Casey, who had walked, and Harrison Bavaro, who had singled, in the fourth. Walnoha also singled in the inning.
“We had very timely hitting and some big offensive plays,” said Malarkey. “Our offensive production all season has been spread out among all the players in our lineup and guys coming off the bench.”
Aaron Stephan came off the bench in relief of Nate Hamel and got the save. Hamel pitched 6 and one-third innings. The USC arms scattered 10 hits.
“Timely hitting and pitching were keys to the game,” Malarkey said. “Our players battled back after falling behind twice. Our pitchers showed their mental toughness and competitiveness. We also had several big defensive plays that killed several rallies.”
Meanwhile, SF relied upon the pitching of Richie Dell and the hitting of Tyler Sharp to post victory. Dell struck out 11 batters in five frames of work. Sharp tagged a two-run homer in a pivotal fourth inning for the Lions.
Mark Lehman tagged three hits, including a triple, and drove in a run but that was not enough for Peters Township, who were upended by the Golden Tornado.
PT finished the season at 13-7 while Butler improved to 7-13 overall.
A slow start, falling behind by four runs in the first inning contributed to Lebo’s loss. Sam Rolfson, Jeffrey Dengler, and Cam Powers doubled though in the second to narrow the gap to 4-2.
Dante Borris, Colin Dalson, Rolfsen and Dengler each finished with two hits each for the Blue Devils, who finished the year at 10-11 overall, while Norwin improved to 14-6.
Bethel Park, which received a first-round bye in the Class 6A tournament, will face Seneca Valley 4 p.m. May 21 at Boyce-Mayview Park.
Bethel Park, Upper St. Clair and South Fayette all were eliminated in first-round playoff action.
In a 15-6 loss to Norwin, Reagan Milliken and Gianna Scull both had two hits. Kayla Miehl ripped a home run.
The Knights pounded out 14 hits against the Hawks, who lost four of their final six games to finish 12-4 overall.
“Norwin is a good hitting team but errors played a factor in some of their runs,” said BP coach Heather Scott. “Because of nerves, we started slow and fell behind. But by the time we relaxed and began playing like we had all season, it was too late.”
Despite the defeat, Scott is optimistic about BP’s future.
“I am proud of what this group accomplished this season and look forward to years to come,” she said.
USC’s first playoff appearance in 20 years was brief as North Allegheny scored a 3-2 win thanks to a three-run homer from Kristen Chomos.
With the loss, the Panthers finished the season at 13-7.
Finally, Albert Gallatin blanked South Fayette, 2-0. The Lions finished 11-8 on the year.
The final four in the WPIAL Class AAA girls’ lacrosse playoffs are set for May 20 with Upper St. Clair battling Pine-Richland at 6 p.m. at Mars and Mt. Lebanon tackling Shadyside Academy at Moon. The Lebo ladies play prior to the Blue Devil boys take on North Allegheny at 7:30 p.m.
The top-seeded Panthers defeated North Allegheny, 20-4, to earn their semifinal slot while Lebo dispatched Fox Chapel, 9-6. Bethel Park lost its bid for the Final Four when the Lady Hawks succumbed to Pine-Richland, 12-9.