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Plum wraps up section slate with Franklin Regional

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Michael Love | Plum Advance Leader
Plum senior David Cross looks in for a sign during a 10-0, five-inning victory over Gateway on April 26, 2013. Cross issued one hit and one walk while striking out five in four innings to earn the victory.

With about a week or two gone in the Section 3-AAAA schedule, it was pretty well established that Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Plum and Franklin Regional would most likely be the three teams to represent the section in the upcoming WPIAL playoffs.

Central Catholic took care of their playoff clinching last week.

The Mustangs earned their playoff spot Saturday with a 16-8 victory over Baldwin, eliminating the Highlanders from the postseason in the process.

Franklin Regional punched its ticket to the playoffs on Monday with an 11-0 whitewash of Gateway.

The final week of the section slate has featured matchups between the top three teams. Plum traveled to Pittsburgh Central Catholic on Tuesday in a game that ended past the deadline for this week's edition.

The Vikings and Panthers were to play on Wednesday, as were the Mustangs and Highlanders.

The rematch between Plum and Franklin Regional is set for Friday at 4 p.m. at Plum High School.

The Highlanders will get one more crack at Central Catholic on Friday.

Central Catholic entered the week 7-0 in section, while Plum was 6-1, and Franklin Regional was 6-2.

It's been a mad dash to the finish in the section with playoff positioning on the line.

Plum will be gunning for its 13th straight victory against Franklin Regional.

The Mustangs stopped the Panthers, 8-1, on April 18 at Haymaker Park in Murrysville. Franklin Regional was coming off an emotional 9-8 loss to Central Catholic three days earlier.

Senior pitcher Zac Manuppelli fired a one-hitter with five walks and four strikeouts in the first meeting. Freshman Alex Kiriloff paced a Mustang seven-hit attack with a bases-clearing double in a six-run fourth inning and a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Franklin Regional won four in a row after the Plum loss, outscoring Woodland Hills, McKeesport, Baldwin and Gateway by a combined 43-6.

The Panthers remained on that four-game winning streak heading into Wednesday's clash with the Vikings.

Plum 16, Baldwin 8

Plum pounded out 12 hits and took advantage of 10 walks in Saturday's win over the Highlanders.

The Mustangs led 7-1 in the fourth inning, but Baldwin rallied for six runs in its home half of the frame.

Plum took control in the late innings with four runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh.

Junior Mike Maleski had a monster day with two hits — one a home run — two walks, three runs batted in and four runs scored.

Junior Nick Stotler homered and drove in two runs, while freshman Ethan Winesburgh and senior Matt Zezza each smacked home runs.

Kiriloff finished 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI.

Four Plum pitchers got work in on Saturday, and junior Dante Palmieri, who gave up one earned run in 2 13 innings of relief, picked up the win.

The Mustangs scored 26 total runs in the two section games with Baldwin.

Plum also upended the Highlanders, 10-2, on April 8.

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

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