West Mifflin shuts down BV Area in 8-1 win

| Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

The Belle Vernon Area baseball team went into its Section 4 AAA opener Tuesday against West Mifflin trying to build off a 3-0 start.

But Titans senior pitcher A.J. Olasz had other ideas, and West Mifflin used a seven-run fifth inning to blow open a pitchers' duel and down the Leps, 8-1.

Olasz, a left-hander and University of Cincinnati recruit, had control issues early. But he used a high-80s tailing fastball to hold the Leps (3-1, 0-1) to one infield single and one run in six innings of work. He walked seven, but struck out 15, including six looking.

BVA senior pitcher Dylan Pietrantoni coasted through four, giving up one run on three hits and striking out seven, before a series of fielding meltdowns put the Leps in a hole.

“Our two-strike approach really disappointed me today,” first year BVA coach Daryl Hixenbaugh said. “We were deep into counts constantly on this kid, but he kept beating us on the outside with two strikes. We needed to shorten up our swings.

“He beats you inside, you sit back down and tip your cap to him. But we kept letting him beat us on the outside.”

West Mifflin (4-1, 1-0) entered the game with only seven extra base hits in its first four contests, but got on the board early when designated hitter Dan Howard deposited a two-strike pitch over the right centerfield fence to put the Titans up 1-0 in the second.

The Titans broke the game open in the fifth, chasing Pietrantoni with six unearned runs without hitting the ball out of the infield. The Leps committed five errors in the inning, and Pietrontoni left the game with two outs and his team in a 6-0 hole.

After Matt Bashioum entered the game to pitch, Howard and Deon Fontaine hit back-to-back run-scoring doubles before BVA was able to get out of the inning.

“They scored six runs on something like two hits, neither of which left the infield,” Hixenbaugh said. “I thought (Pietrantoni) was pitching a great game up until that point. The wind took the ball over the fence in the second, and other than that he was pretty sharp. We just need to back him up.

“Olasz is tough, but Pietrantoni is as good. We just had one of those innings where we made an error and then everything snowballed. That happens to big league teams. That's what I'm disappointed about — our inability to shake things off. The next pitch is always the most important, but we were never able to get our heads back in the game.”

Freshman Timmy Labuda recorded both hits for the Leps, despite not entering the game until the fourth inning. With Parker Lynn on third and Jake Calloway on second — both reached on walks — Labuda reached on an infield pinch-hit single up the third base line, scoring Lynn and ruining Olasz's no-hitter and shutout.

Labuda singled up the middle in the seventh for BVA's other hit.

BVA will be back in action today, traveling to defending section champion South Park for a 7 p.m. start.

Cody Menges is expected to start for the Leps.

California 8, Beth-Center 2

The Trojans (4-0) scored four runs in the second inning to break open the non-section contest.

Aaron Previsky tripled home one run and scored another in the big inning for California.

Teammate Josh Luko had three hits while Louden Conte had two RBI.

Jeannette 13, Monessen 5

The Greyhounds (0-3) got a grand slam from Tyler Shash, but it wasn't enough in the non-section road contest.

Jeannette (1-3) got a complete game from Jimmy Malik, who gave up four hits with seven strikeouts.

Bentworth 16, Mapletown 4

The Bearcats (4-1) scored 12 runs in the fourth inning to rout the Maples in the non-section game.

Hunter Neely had two hits for Bentworth while winning pitcher Kirk Stechly gave up just one hit in the four-inning contest.

Uniontown 11, Yough 8

The Cougars (2-3, 1-1) lost in Section 2 AAA despite getting three hits from Ben Sabljac and a triple from Brandon Regotti.

Zack Heliseck had four hits for Uniontown (1-1, 1-0).

West Greene 5, Frazier 3

The Commodores (1-3) were limited to two hits in the game while West Greene got a double and two singles from Ben Carlisle.

Donnie Tasser is a freelance writer.

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