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Sewickley baseball headed to postseason

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Academy's Sam Duerr takes a swing against Vincentian Thursday, April 18, 2013, at Nichols Field in Edgeworth.

Coming into the season, Sewickly Academy baseball coach Andrew Heck wanted his team to limit giving up big innings to the opposition.

The Panthers saw the devastating effects it could have last week.

In a 14-3 loss to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the Chargers scored six runs in the third inning to go ahead for good. Then in an 11-5 loss to Vincentian Academy, the Royals scored six runs in the second inning.

“We had done a pretty good job of preventing big innings all season,” Heck said. “I have to give other teams credit, but we made mistakes that ended up hurting us. We need to make sure we play more sound ball.”

The week wasn't all bad, as the Panthers recorded a 15-5 win over Sto-Rox in six innings. Jordan Milo got the win on the mound while Sam Duerr and Joe Nagel recorded doubles.

The team also tallied a 10-1 win over Northgate, as freshman pitcher Adam Snyder picked up the victory.

“He pitched an unbelievable game,” Heck said. “I can't say enough about how great of a job he did for us. He has gotten spot starts and has looked strong. In both the wins, I liked the pitching and how well we performed on defense backing the pitchers up.”

The four-game stretch wrapped up Sewickley Academy's Section 5-A schedule. The team finished with 7-3 section mark for a second-place tie with Vincentian Academy. OLSH won the section with a 10-0 record.

The section record will send Sewickley Academy to its first postseason since 2006.

“I told the guys not to lose their minds over the losses,” Heck said. “They have done something that has not been done here in awhile. Playoff were the goal and we did it. We cannot worry about the past and things we weren't happy with. We need to move on.”

The team's 10-4 overall record is only the second winning season for the Panthers in the last decade.

As Sewickley Academy gets prepared for the playoffs, Heck said the team is going to work on several things to get fine turned, including communication and improving the defense.

He also wants to work on the team's mentality. The first-year coach isn't worried his players won't be excited for its first playoff game — he is concerned they will be too excited.

“One thing is we don't want them to be too pumped up,” Heck said. “A lot of times if you get too excited in baseball, you will start to do things you have never done and lose concentration. We want to stay even keel.”

The Panthers finish their regular season Thursday, as they host Quigley. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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