Beaver spoils Quaker Valley baseball's perfect season, wins WPIAL Class AA title
Quaker Valley entered with the perfect record. Beaver emerged with the perfect ending.
Austin Ross pitched a complete-game three-hitter and the Bobcats beat the previously-undefeated Quakers, 7-1, in the WPIAL Class AA baseball championship game Tuesday evening at Consol Energy Park in Washington.
“We knew we had a tougher section, so that made us more competitive, but you can't take anything away from them,” Beaver catcher Ben Herstine said. “They went undefeated, that's not easy. They deserved that, but we just came out in the end and it feels great.”
Jonathan Hill had one of his three RBI during a five-run third inning for the Bobcats (17-3), who have won eight consecutive and 12 of 13. The WPIAL title is Beaver's third and first since 2008.
Herstine was the bat boy for that team, and he remembers the jubilation of the celebration on the same field. His father, Bruce, was the coach of that team.
Bruce Herstine remains the coach now, although neck surgery on the day of the season opener has limited him to little more than a vested adviser. Jeff Mullen served as acting coach and handled all on-field duties.
“It's really special to win the first one, but I wanted this one for my son more than I wanted it for me,” Bruce Herstine said. “I wanted him to enjoy what I experienced the first time around — and he did.
“I asked the guys, ‘Was it as fun as I told you it would be?' And they said, ‘Yeah, it is. The feeling's that good.' ”
Ross, who also had a two-run single during the Beaver outburst in the third, was sharp from the start. He had nine strikeouts, including two in the first inning, prompting to Bruce Herstine say, “You can tell when he's on, and he was throwing strikes right from the beginning so I knew right then we were in a good position today.”
Ross, a Division I Radford University recruit, did not walk a batter or allow an extra-base hit, and just four balls were hit out of the infield.
“Even when I got here today I felt great,” he said. “My mindset was right, my arm felt good — everything was great. Everything I threw felt good.”
Quaker Valley (21-1) hadn't been previously held to fewer than four runs in a game this season. Quakers starter Jake Pilewicz retired six of the first seven he faced but was tagged for five runs on four hits and two walks while getting chased in the third.
Austin Logan and Jalen Lawson each drove in a run with a single in the third for Beaver.
Nelson Westwood scored on a Shane Emery groundout in the fourth for the Quakers, who were attempting to win their first WPIAL championship since 1984.
“I always hear you're bound to have one like this one time — I don't believe in that,” Quaker Valley coach Todd Goble said. “You know what, we've done a good job all year; we just didn't play our best baseball today and you can't do that right now.
“We didn't come out on top, but our guys fought. We have classy kids and I'm very proud of them.”
Both teams advance to the PIAA tournament that begins Monday.
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.