Baseball and softball playoffs underway
With the baseball playoffs heating up this week, few teams are as hot as the Vincentian Royals.
The Royals took the section with a mark of 7-1. They are loaded with a pitching staff that consists of Jay Cortese and Ian Taylor as the starting duo. Greg MacQueen and Alex Madonna also provide options.
“I have been really happy with the pitching,” Vincentian coach Paul Quarantillo said. “They throw strikes and give our fielders a chance.”
Quarantillo said that as the season concluded the Royals were leaving more guys on base than he wanted, but the Royals worked on baserunning to make sure everyone was ready to do their job.
Christian Fedko has been a good leadoff hitter, according to Quarantillo.
“Christian does a good job of getting hits with two strikes or drawing walks,” Quarantillo said. “We have Phil Madonna, Jay, Ian and Mark Cyterski all hitting over .400.
“We have a good team when we aren't making mental mistakes. And, we are young, we only start two seniors.”
Catcher Phil Madonna may be the key to a playoff run. He is a slugger at the plate, and when he is behind it, he is the unquestioned field general.
“Phil's baseball IQ is off the charts,” Quarantillo said. “He calls out what everyone needs to do (in specific situations). He helps everyone out.”
At 9-1 in section and 11-5 overall, the Hampton Talbots team enter the playoffs as Section 5 AAA champions. Hampton won two of its last three section games and holds some impressive wins over some big opponents this season. Notable wins over Class AAAA playoff teams North Allegheny (6-1) and Seneca Valley (8-2) and a season split with section rival Mars give the Talbots confidence heading in.
The Talbots are once again under the guidance of Gary Wilson, who was the skipper for some deep playoff runs of the past.
Hampton has several players to watch including pitcher Ben Vey, outfielder Eddie Edwards, catcher Brandon Olszewski and second baseman Zach Staszak.
The Titans are back in the playoffs with a 7-3 section record in Section 4 Class AAAA and a mark of 14-5 overall.
Shaler earned big wins over Butler, Moon and rival Pine-Richland but fell short of the top spot in the section by a game.
With ace pitcher Jake Potock on the hill, Shaler has a chance in every game.
Justin Mazza, Noah Hernandez, Matt Carter and Jim Hughes are among the core of this team that can do some damage in the playoffs.
The Rams took Section 4, Class AAAA this season with a mark of 14-5 (8-2).
The Rams split the season series with Shaler, swept Moon and defeated Butler and Seneca Valley.
They will attack the bracket with pitcher Jamie Switalski, shortstop Daane Berezo, first baseman J.T. Riley, catcher Joey Professori and pitcher/outfielder Nick Roth.
Early on, the sledding was tough in section play for Shaler team.
But after going 2-2 in its first four section games, Shaler ran the table for a 10-2 section record and a share of the section crown.
Shaler earned a bye as a result of the strong finish and will await the winner of Norwin and Bethel Park.
The Titans will follow the leads of sophomore pitcher Bri Dobson, catcher A.J. Nichols and shortstop Lauren Miller.
The Royals earned the second spot in Section 3 Class A and will play Sewickley Academy at 2 p.m. May 15 at Hampton.
The Lady Royals defeated section champion Jeannette, 5-3, in the season finale.
Vincentian finished the season with a 10-2 mark in section play and a 10-3 record overall.