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Solid season comes to close for Shady Side Academy baseball

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Coleman Strohm, Shady Side Academy pitcher, keeps his eye on first base during playoff game vs. Quaker Valley High School hosted by Fox Chapel High School.
Bruce Siskawicz | The Dispatch
Blairsville's pitcher Bobby Thompson reacts as Shady Side Academy's Chris Sawicki scores during the PIAA baseball playoff game Monday in Homer City.

Shady Side Academy opened up PIAA Class AA playoff competition on June 3 with an exciting 3-1 win over Blairsville.

It was the first state playoff win for the Indians since 2003.

“It was another great and exciting win for us,” SSA coach Bob Grandizio, Jr. said.

Paul McCullough got the victory and pitched seven innings. He struck out seven and allowed only three hits. He did not allow an earned run.

Coleman Strohm earned a save by pitching a scoreless eighth inning and getting out of a bases-loaded jam to end the game.

With the score tied in the top of the eighth, Chuckie Scales led off with a triple and Chris Sawicki singled him home. Paul McCullough bunted him to second base and Evan Eisner followed with an infield single.

Sawicki scored from third after a throwing error.

The Indians scored their first run on an Eric Larkin sacrifice fly that scored Jake Kleindl.

Scales had two hits and scored a run while Sawicki, Jake Kleindl and Eisner also had two hits.

Larkin and McCullough each added a double.

Next up for SSA was WPIAL Class AA runnerup Quaker Valley, which entered the game with a 22-1 mark.

The Quakers used a four-run first to propel themselves to a 7-3 win.

SSA was able to cut the deficit to 5-3 but could come no closer.

Kleindl had two hits and an RBI for the Indians.

The Indians ended their season with a 16-9 mark.

Grandizio will have to replace a lot of talented seniors in McCullough, Eisner, Sawicki, Strohm, Larkin, Brian Hannon, Harrison Gottlieb and Parker Bennett.

“Their leadership will be missed,” Grandizio said. “They never gave up and the rest of the team picked up on that.”

But next year's team will not be without leaders as Grandizio pointed out the squad received solid leadership from its juniors, too.

“Chuckie Scales, Jake Kleindl, Cam Dively, Morgan Dively and Chuck Calabrese will be a strong nucleus to build on,” Grandizio said. “We entered the season with a lot of holes to fill but the kids worked hard to have another good season. We had enough players show an interest that we were able field a varsity team and two JV teams.

“We're looking forward to next season.”

As the coach looked back on this past year one more time, he said it has been an exciting season.

“We knew we had a strong team from the start, but we really hit some rough waters in late April and early May,” he said. “A combination of a difficult schedule and individuals on the team ‘slumping' at the same time really created a tough hole for us dig out of.”

But the team managed rebound and have a strong playoff run.

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

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