Plum's Manuppelli starts for Quad-A in all-star game
The Class AAA team rallied from seven runs down and beat the Quad-A team, 10-9, in Sunday's big-school game at the annual WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association all-star event at Burkett Field in Robinson.
Despite the tough loss, Plum senior pitcher Zac Manuppelli said he had a lot of fun taking the field with a lot of the guys on the Quad-A team he faced during his several seasons on the Plum varsity team.
“It was a great opportunity and a great experience,” Manuppelli said.
“I am grateful that (Plum) coach (Carl) Vollmer nominated me. It was an honor to be able to start the game and be the first pitcher for the Quad-A team. Although we didn't pull it out in the end, it was a lot of fun to be a part of it with a lot of great players.”
Manuppelli got the call for the Quad-A squad and pitched the first three innings.
He surrendered six hits and two earned runs and struck out three as he left the game with the Quad-A ahead 4-2.
In the top of the third, the AAA squad had put together three singles wrapped around a Manuppelli strikeout and had runners on first and second with on out.
Manuppelli then was able to induce a ground ball that turned into a 6-4-3 double play.
“Triple A had some really good hitters, but overall, I thought I did a pretty good job,” Manuppelli said.
The Quad-A team scored four runs in the second and five more in the third to take a 9-2 lead, but the AAA team didn't quit.
It scored three runs in the top of the ninth to take a 10-9 lead and held Quad-A off the board in the bottom half of the frame.
“Triple A didn't stop,” Manuppelli said.
“It seemed like they got a run in every inning (after the third). They kept hitting the ball. The ball fell in, and they were finding the holes. I thought our pitchers were doing well, but the ball kept falling in.”
A pair of North Allegheny players — Jimmy Divosevic and James Meeker — were selected to the Quad-A team, but they didn't play because the Tigers were still in the PIAA playoffs.
The same PIAA rule kept Keystone Oaks star pitcher Jared Skolnicki from playing for the AAA squad.
Seneca Valley's Jonathan Dorogy wasn't able to play, as the standout track sprinter still was dealing with the affects of a hamstring injury suffered during the spring track season.
Manuppelli is playing this summer in the Western Pennsylvania Elite Baseball League, and he also is focusing on the next level.
He will play in college at Division I South Carolina Upstate.
“Every kid dreams of playing college baseball down south in the warmer weather,” Manuppelli said. “But I just wanted to go some place that was the best fit for me, and Upstate was that fit.”
Manuppelli's older brother, Nic, also a Plum graduate, is a junior on the Division I baseball team at Youngstown State University.
Nic, a right-handed relief pitcher for the Penguins, led the team with seven saves in the 2013 season.
It ranks as the third-most for a single season in school history.
South Carolina Upstate finished its 2013 season 28-30 and made a historic run in the Atlantic Sun championship tournament.
The tournament run included a 10-1 victory over nationally ranked Mercer.
Upstate finished 2-2 in tournament play and saw its season end in a heartbreaker.
East Tennessee State eliminated the Spartans in walk-off fashion one win shy of a spot in the conference title game.
“It's a very up-and-coming program,” Manuppelli said.
“They've only been in Division I for a little while now, but every year, they're getting better and better. The coaches have told me that I can bring a lot to the team as a freshman and help them get further into the postseason.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.