Western Beaver beats OLSH to earn Class A title
Chad Miller said he'd been waiting for the water cooler bath all season.
The Western Beaver coach finally got it when his team won the program's second WPIAL Class A title with a 3-2 comeback win over second-seeded Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (19-3) on Wednesday at Consol Energy Field.
His players needed a late rally for the right to drench their coach, though.
The No. 5 seed Golden Beavers trailed most of the game and entered the bottom of the sixth down, 2-1, having been held mostly in check by OLSH pitcher Preston Falascino.
“I thought we were trying to let the game come to us, and I think he's too good of a pitcher for that,” Miller said.
So the coach told his hitters to take a more aggressive approach and swing at first-pitch strikes.
The adjustment paid off when Robert DiMaggio singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth, and Steve Menich followed with a single that got past OLSH's center fielder, allowing DiMaggio to score the tying run.
The Golden Beavers (18-2) took the lead for the first time two batters later when Steve Robison grounded into a fielder's choice to score Menich.
Western Beaver starter Nick Miller clinched the championship and a complete-game victory in the bottom of the seventh by picking off the possible tying run between second and third, causing his teammates to dog-pile on the third-base line in celebration.
“It feels good. The kids played a complete game, played all seven innings,” Chad Miller said. “Our goal was to get here, our goal was to compete and our goal was to win, and we accomplished all three.”
On the other side, the Chargers were left to lament some defensive miscues after the Golden Beavers scored two runs on OLSH errors.
Coach Phil McCarren said the mistakes proved costly but also thought his hitters made solid contact that just didn't find the right holes.
“A lot of times we hit the ball right at guys,” he said. “Sometimes, that's baseball.”
Nick Miller held the Chargers scoreless over the final four innings after giving up single runs in the second and third innings.
“I definitely kept my composure better than I usually do,” Miller said. “I think that kind of gave the team a sense of confidence. “
Both teams advance to the PIAA playoffs.
“We're going to celebrate this for a couple of days,” Chad Miller said, “but then it's back to business.”
Adam Bittner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.