QV pitcher Pilewicz silences Freeport's bats in quarterfinals
The chatter from Freeport's dugout barely faded during Wednesday's WPIAL Class AA quarterfinal at Fox Chapel even as the Yellowjackets found themselves down by four runs to unbeaten No. 1 seed Quaker Valley.
But the Yellowjackets' bats were silent.
Winning pitcher Jake Pilewicz held Freeport to one hit in Quaker Valley's 6-1 win.
The Quakers advance to the semifinals where they will play No. 4 Deer Lakes (17-3) at a time and location to be determined.
Neither team excelled at the plate. Quaker Valley finished with eight hits, three of which were infield singles. But the victors better utilized their scoring opportunities.
“This is playoff baseball, and you're not going to rip it every time,” Quaker Valley coach Todd Goble said. “We scratched and clawed. We just try to play hard, put the ball in play and run like crazy.”
Quaker Valley (20-0) stranded Clayton Bouchard at third base in the top of the first and third innings.
Freeport (12-4) also squandered a chance to make an offensive splash early. Levi Negley hit a two-out, line-drive single to left field in the top of the first.
Matt Swartz and Damon Smith received free passes to first base as Swartz walked and Smith took a pitch to the batting helmet.
Negley scored during the next at-bat, when, with the bases loaded, Luke Mariotti worked a full count into a walk.
Pilewicz, who pitched a complete game, averted further damage with a strikeout.
Quaker Valley answered Freeport's small-ball tactics with its own base-to-base offense in the top of the fourth when it scored five runs.
Walks put Pilewicz and Ben Utterback on base. Matt Delie drove home Pilewicz with a single to center field. Two more walks followed to load the bases, and Robbie Miller replaced Ethan McCormick on the mound.
Bouchard then beat a throw to first for an infield single that scored Delie and kept the bases loaded. A walk brought Nelson Westwood home, and Aden Pilewicz scored on an infield single by Jake Pilewicz.
Fox Chapel's rubber-lined synthetic-turf field was a target of Freeport's frustration.
“We kind of beat ourselves there,” Freeport coach Chris Graczyk said. “I just don't think we anticipated it being that soft.”
Just chip away at Quaker Valley's cushion, Freeport's players and coaches told one another. But no other Freeport player reached first base until the bottom of the final inning when Josh Beale benefited from a throwing error.
“Our bats just really weren't alive,” senior left fielder Dustin Koedel said. “We could've hit the ball a lot better, and we should've.
“None of us really hung our heads. We realized that we can't hang our heads because if we do, it's game over, so we were still all full of energy. We just didn't get the offense going.”