Plum baseball ends playoff drought with win over Shaler
By George Guido
Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Plum senior Zac Manuppelli picked a great time for one of his top career performances.
With scouts from several colleges watching, Manuppelli threw a two-hitter as the Mustangs stopped Shaler, 2-1, in a Class AAAA first-round playoff game Monday at Fox Chapel.
The right-hander, also named to the WPIAL all-star game Monday, struck out 10, including six in the last two innings.
“The first couple innings, I didn't feel so great,” Manuppelli said. “My fastball wasn't in command early, but I felt better in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings with my fastball. My curve was working throughout the game.”
Added Mustangs coach Carl Vollmer: “It was truly an intense battle from the first pitch of the game to the last. Zac put us on his back and carried us; he truly did. We're going to truly enjoy this one.”
Plum (15-6) will play North Allegheny in the quarterfinals Wednesday at a time and site to be determined. Shaler finished 11-10.
It was the Mustangs' first playoff victory since a 2008 WPIAL semifinal win over Canon-McMillan. Since then, Plum had lost the 2008 finals, the PIAA opener that same year and then four consecutive first-round games.
“It's a good win for our program,” Vollmer said. “We needed this one.”
The key play Monday was Mustangs senior Andrew Dawson surviving a rundown.
With the score tied, 1-1, in the bottom of the fifth, Dawson was at second with one out. Zack Sansonetti hit a comebacker to Shaler pitcher Jake Potock, who noticed Dawson was halfway to third. Dawson retreated briefly toward second but headed for third, where he eluded a tag by Potock about 10 feet from third base.
“I didn't think I was tagged, but he had the ball for a while,” Dawson said. “It was close; I know that. I slid on the inside of the bag so he couldn't get me.”
Added Vollmer: “That was a real big play. You had a big kid on the mound who has range. Andrew got caught in a bad situation, but it's all hustle and effort. He was able to make a great slide and avoid the tag.”
After Alex Kiriloff was intentionally walked, Nick Stotler hit into a force play at second as Dawson scooted home. Manuppelli then struck out the next five Shaler batters.
Defensively, Plum catcher Eric Bellisario threw out three runners, and ManupelliWith two outs in the seventh, Jim Hughes laced a single to left.
But Manuppelli struck out Noah Hernandez to end the game.
Plum scored in the bottom of the first when Austin O'Block walked and scored on Stotler's single.
In the Shaler third, Justin Defide walked, and Justin Mazza's single and throwing error scored pinch runner Mike Gazica.
George Guido is a freelance writer.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.