Brentwood misses playoffs by one game
It was a "near-miss" finish for Brentwood's varsity baseball team this season.
The Spartans (11-7 overall) missed out on a WPIAL playoff berth by one game, finishing slightly behind third-place Steel Valley in the Section 4AA standings.
Shady Side Academy won the section championship with a near-perfect 11-1 slate, followed by Greensburg Central Catholic (9-3), Steel Valley (8-4) and Brentwood (7-5).
"On one hand, we had a very good year. This was our second consecutive winning season," said Greg Perdziola, Brentwood's head coach. "On the other hand, we failed to make the playoffs.
"I really feel bad for our four seniors. They really worked hard, not only this year but for the last four years. We had our chances; we just came up short. One more hit or one less error, and we would have made the playoffs. That is how close we were."
The Spartans won their final two games, and three of their last four, this season. But it was the one loss, an 8-5 decision at home against Steel Valley, that cost the local club a playoff berth.
Steve Krzyzanowski, a senior catcher/ pitcher, proved to be one of the better hitters in the WPIAL again this season.
Krzyzanowski led the Spartans with a .556 batting average and 22 RBI. He also scored 17 runs and clouted two home runs.
"He led the team in batting, and was solid behind the plate," Perdziola said.
Krzyzanowski, who finished with a .500 batting average last year, also led the Spartan' pitching corps with a 5-0 record and 2.03 earned run average.
Senior shortstop Spencer Hubsch complemented Krzyzanowski offensively thanks to his .448 batting average and team-leading 20 runs. He also had 13 RBI, six doubles and one home run.
Senior first baseman Matt Stein hit .333, scored 12 runs, and drove in 12 runs.
Trevor Wosko, the fourth senior in the lineup, was a defensive stalwart in the outfield for the Spartans.
"Trevor had a great year defensively in the outfield," Perdziola said.
Along with Stein, five other Brentwood players were members of the ".300 club" this season.
Other leading hitters on the team included sophomore catcher/designated hitter Derek Hogue (.355), junior outfielder Jason Pilarski (.354), sophomore outfielder Justin Vickless (.320), junior outfielder/designated hitter Justin Bauer (.313) and freshman second baseman Connor McWilliams (.304).
Hogue clouted one home run, one double and two triples in 2012. Pilarski had five doubles, 12 RBI, and scored 12 runs.
Vickless finished with 12 RBI, and scored 13 times. McWilliams scored 12 times.
Krzyzanowski and junior Chris Shortley anchored Brentwood's pitching staff.
Shortley, the team's workhorse, finished with a 3-4 record with 48 strikeouts and a 2.19 earned run average in 48 innings. He was 3-1 in 2011 with 30 strikeouts in 26 innings.
Hubsch was 2-2 with 18 strikeouts in 21 innings, along with a 4.33 ERA.
McWilliams chalked up one victory in five innings of work. He struck out five and didn't allow a run.
"The future looks bright," Perdziola said. "We have a good group of players returning, and we will be moving to a new section next year."
Players who will be looking to crack the starting lineup next season include juniors Jake Held, a first baseman/outfielder, and Brian Jowers, an outfielder, along with Pilarski and Bauer.
Along with Hogue and Vickless, sophomore candidates from 2012 include outfielder/pitcher David Bushman, third baseman/pitcher Jeremy Cenci, in-fielder/pitcher Sean Cloonan, infielder Kevin Bakowski, and catcher Derek Hogue.
Freshman prospects include McWiliams, first baseman Brendan Mulholland, Tyler Paranzino, a pitcher/outfielder, catcher Tyler Jorgenson, and infielder Nathan Christopher.
Brentwood's section opponents in 2013 will be Avonworth, Carlynton, Freedom, New Brighton, Quaker Valley, Seton-La Salle and South Side Beaver.