Neshannock wins 5th WPIAL baseball title
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Ejected and maybe a little dejected during Neshannock's WPIAL Class A quarterfinal triumph May 16, pitcher Alex Strittmatter was given two options by his coach.
“I told him ‘You can sit and hopefully get the ball on championship night, if you keep (your teammates) positive, keep them up. Or you can sit there and pout,'” Mike Kirkwood recalled after the senior was thrown out for running into the catcher, leading to a suspension for last week's semifinals.
“‘I think I know which you're going to choose.'”
With the right-hander standing tall on the Consol Energy Park mound Wednesday evening in the league title game, his answer was clear.
Against offensively overwhelming and undefeated No. 2 seed California, No. 1 Neshannock's ace struck out 10 in a 5-0 victory. It is the second consecutive title and fifth overall for the Lancers, who are moving to Class AA next seson.
“We've made it to three consective WPIAL championships, and I pitched in all three,” Strittmatter said. “I just kept thinking I'd rather be known as the pitcher who won two instead of losing two.”
California's T.D. Conway matched Strittmatter's strikeout total, and the pair put on a tense duel over the first four innings, with both escaping bases-loaded situations. But the Trojans' starter tired as the game went on.
Strittmatter scored on an error with two outs to open the scoring in the fourth, and Ryan Giangiuli earned the game's first RBI with a single in the next inning. The Lancers sealed the win with a three-run sixth inning that featured two more errors before John Conglose's two-run double.
“T.D., he's in great shape,” Trojans coach Don Hartman said. “But he did throw a lot of pitches today, more than normal. ... Bottom line is we didn't hit the ball when we had our opportunities.”
California (19-1) will attempt to begin a new winning streak Monday against the District 6 champion in the first round of the PIAA tournament. Neshannock (21-2) meets the runner-up from District 6 the same day and is looking to end a different streak — they've lost in the opening round two years in a row.
“We definitely have a chip on our shoulder from last year,” Lancers shortstop John Sansone said. “We've been circling it since last year.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- GCC baseball team wins, reaches WPIAL Class A title game
- Junior Stobert helps No. 2 Knoch reach WPIAL title game for 1st time
- Back to ‘A’ title game for California
- Norwin posts 3rd straight shutout, reaches WPIAL finals
- Redbank Valley falls in District 9 quarterfinals
- After capturing 3rd straight section title, Hempfield baseball falls short in opening round
- Serra Catholic tops Jeannette in WPIAL quarterfinals
- Knoch’s baseball success story years in the making
- Neshannock pulls past Steel Valley, reaches WPIAL baseball finals
- Pitt-bound Cyphert leads Cranberry into District 9 finals
- Eisel, Kozarian keys to Baldwin’s baseball future