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Shady Side Academy knocks off last season's state baseball champion

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
SSA Paul McCullough pitches to Fox Chapel during game at the Fox Chapel High School.

The Shady Side Academy baseball team surprised Riverside, the two-time defending PIAA champions, in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA baseball playoffs on May 13.

Led by Chris Sawicki, SSA rolled to a 9-2 win. Sawicki had four hits and drove in four runs.

The Indians led by an 8-0 count after three innings and Paul McCullough picked up the complete game win.

“It was a great win for our kids,” SSA coach Bob Grandizio Jr. said. “They were excited about playing last year's state champs and the team that eliminated us in the semifinals, so there was a bit of a revenge factor.”

“Paul was tough to hit and induced a lot of ground balls and easy fly balls. We played great defense behind him and Chuckie Scales had eight assists at shortstop”

The Indians had some solid offensive efforts to go with Sawicki's four-hit game.

Jake Kleindl had an RBI single and sacrifice fly. Scales had two hits with a pair of runs batted in, two runs scored and two stolen bases.

“As a team, it was the kind of game we played often in the early part of the season, but not as much late in the season so it was great to see us get to back to form,” Grandizio said.

The win advanced the Indians to a quarterfinal matchup with Chartiers-Houston at Upper St. Clair on May 15. Unlike the previous game, this one was filled with drama.

The Indians trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Scales was hit by a pitch and Sawicki walked. McCullough hit a sacrifice fly to move Scales to third and Sawicki stole second.

That set the stage for Kleindl, who hit a two-out, two-run single to give SSA a 2-1 win and move them into the semifinals, which were scheduled to be played May 21.

Coleman Strohm pitched a complete game for the win, allowing four hits and striking out nine.

“It was a pitchers duel,” Grandizio said. “Coleman outdueled their pitcher Alex Ferrari. Coleman was great. He worked fast and used three pitches effectively to keep them off balance and overpowered, at times.”

Evan Eisner had two hits for the Indians.

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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