Class AAA storms back in WPIAL all-star baseball game
It looked as if the Class AAAA all-stars were on their way to a rout in the nightcap of the 10th annual WPIAL all-star doubleheader at Robinson Township's Burkett Complex.
Trailing by seven runs after three innings, however, the Class AAA all-stars scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to steal a 10-9 victory.
Class AAAA scored four runs in the second inning and five runs in the third before Mars pitcher Dave Bednar was called on with his team behind, 9-2.
Bednar, a Lafayette recruit, slammed the door. He yielded one hit in 3 1⁄3 scoreless innings.
“I was able to throw my fastball over for strikes and get ahead, and then I threw curveballs and a couple of changeups,” said Bednar, chosen as pitcher of the game.
In the sixth inning, the Class AAA team scored three runs with two outs, then scored two more runs in the seventh.
In the ninth, after Hopewell's Logan Johnston drove in Montour's Dan Hoss to tie the game, 9-9, an infield single by Ambridge's Steve Antolic scored Hughes with the decisive run.
Central Catholic shortstop Cameron Balego was chosen player of the game. He had a double, single and three RBI.
“It was a honor to be picked for this game, especially when you see all the players who have been in this (game) before,” he said.
In the opener, Washington's Jordan Allen hit a ninth-inning, two-run triple as the Class AA all-stars played Class A to a 4-4 stalemate.
With the Class A all-stars leading, 4-2, with one out in the top of the ninth, Allen laced a pitch into right center and raced to third. Greensburg Central Catholic's Garrett Brooks and Beth-Center's Josh Miller scored.
“You know my size (5-foot-6) isn't too big, so you've got to play big,” Allen said. “Speed kills.”
Allen, named the game's outstanding player, plans to continue his career at Indiana (Pa.).
Class A had taken a two-run lead in the bottom of the eighth. North Catholic's Ryan Peluso doubled home Serra Catholic's Chad Hazaga. Western Beaver's Robert DiMaggio singled home Peluso.
Laurel's Brandon Ritchie was the game's most outstanding pitcher. The George Washington-bound senior retired nine of the 10 batters he faced in the first three innings, striking out six.
“I walked one. I was upset about it,” Ritchie said. “It was Dylan Kugler. I told him I wasn't going to give him anything good to hit.”
Showcase organizers had decided before the game that it would end after nine innings, regardless of the score.
George Guido is a freelance writer.