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Gateway baseball team falls short in section opener

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Michael Love | The Times Express
Gateway junior Jessi Rossi doubled and scored a run in a nonsection loss at Fox Chapel on April 5, 2013.
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Gateway varsity baseball team opened Section 2-AAAA action Monday at Pittsburgh Central Catholic, and the Gators were hoping to kick off the 10-game section slate in winning fashion.

However, the Vikings were able to defend their home turf and pick up a 5-1 victory over the Gators.

“We haven't been outside too many times this season, and we are still working through some things,” Gateway head coach Mark Wardzinski said.

Gateway opened its season last week with a 7-5 loss to North Allegheny and suffered an 11-1 defeat at the hands of Fox Chapel two days later.

“The first couple of games gave us a good idea of what we need to improve on,” Wardzinski said. “It's still early. We can make a run.”

Wardzinski said his players did some nice things against a North Allegheny squad which routed perennial playoff contender Norwin, 12-0, on Saturday.

Gateway took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second against Central Catholic, as freshman Jake Haberle led off the inning with a single.

With two outs, senior Nate Dillon reached on an error, and Haberle moved into scoring position.

Senior Dan Toner then singled home Haberle.

Central Catholic responded with all the runs they would need in the bottom of the second.

The Vikings scored three times in the frame and added single insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

Senior Connor Olson got the pitching start for Gateway. He worked into the sixth inning and gave up four hits and five earned runs.

Olson walked four batters and hit five others.

“A couple of Connor's pitches got away from him,” Wardzinski said.

“He has pitched well. He just needs to limit his walks. If he does that, he will get a couple wins under his belt.”

Haberle came on in the sixth and gave up a walk and struck out one.

Each team finished with four hits.

“Central Catholic got some timely hitting, and that helped them out,” Wardzinski said.

“We have to focus on situational hitting — moving guys over — and driving them in when they are in scoring position.

“Central Catholic is a tough team. We knew that coming in. We played a decent game, but not well enough to win.”

Gateway had some tough luck in Friday's loss at Fox Chapel.

A throwing error with two outs led to both Foxes runs in the bottom of the first.

Fox Chapel tallied four runs in the second inning on a pair of two-out base hits.

Gateway got its run in the top of the fourth, as junior Jessi Rossi led off the frame with a well-hit double deep to center field.

Senior Alex Augustine followed with a single to move Rossi to third, and junior Cody Emerick brought Rossi home with a sacrifice fly to left.

Emerick was the hitting star in the game against North Allegheny, as he doubled twice and added a single.

Gateway was slated to host section foe Plum on Wednesday at the Gateway High School sports complex.

The Gators step away from section competition Thursday at 4 p.m. at Norwin before returning to section play Friday at 4 p.m. at Franklin Regional.

Gateway hosts section newcomer Baldwin on Monday at 7 p.m.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412- 388-5825 or at

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