North Allegheny baseball blanks Plum to reach semifinals
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Plum already had taken down a higher seed in this year's WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.
But the No. 10-seeded Mustangs couldn't repeat the feat Wednesday.
No. 2 seed North Allegheny used timely hitting and strong pitching from junior Mitch Machi to claim a 5-0 win at Shaler's Matulevic Field.
The Tigers (18-4) will play Hempfield in the semifinals Tuesday.
Despite the tough end to the season, Plum coach Carl Vollmer said he was pleased with the team's effort.
“I don't think the score is indicative of the way the game went,” Vollmer said. “They were able to pull away at the end. But our guys fought hard, and I'm proud of them.”
North Allegheny got all the runs it would need in the top of the first. Brandon Bergstrom hit a leadoff single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a bunt down the third-base line by James Meeker and scored on a grounder by Matt Waugaman.
Plum freshman starter Alex Kiriloff held the Tigers off the board over the next three innings, and the Mustangs had several strong scoring chances.
Plum (15-7) loaded the bases with no outs in the second. Freshman Ethan Winesburgh led off with an infield single, and sophomore Brian Albert and senior Tyler Podvasnik followed with bunt singles.
But junior catcher Eric Bellasario popped up to first, and North Allegheny turned an inning-ending double play when senior Andrew Dawson's bunt attempt was caught by Machi, who doubled off Winesburgh at third to end the Mustangs' rally.
Junior Zach Sansonetti reached on a fielder's choice with one out in the third inning and advanced to third on junior Nick Stotler's single. However, Sansonetti was picked off third after Winesburgh failed to make contact on a bunt attempt.
Winesburgh walked to lead off the third inning and moved to third on a pair of sacrifice bunts but was left stranded.
Sansonetti doubled, and Kiriloff singled with two outs in the fifth, but Stotler hit a line drive at Tigers third baseman Meeker for the third out.
“We put ourselves in good position in a couple of innings. We had opportunities and just couldn't come through,” Vollmer said.
“With the bunting, we hadn't had a ton of offensive success lately, so we had to try to make something happen. We had been successful with our bunting, but we just weren't able to complete the job a couple of times.”
In the fifth, Waugaman doubled and scored a run for a 2-0 North Allegheny lead. The Tigers added a run in the sixth and two more in the seventh.
Kiriloff pitched six innings and gave up three runs, two of which were earned. He gave up eight hits, walked three and struck out one.
Winesburgh worked the seventh and surrendered a hit and two unearned runs. Plum committed three errors, and North Allegheny went without an error.
“Alex did a great job today,” Vollmer said. “He's only a ninth-grader. We threw two ninth-graders today.”
Michael Love is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.