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Sewickley Academy pitcher earns his revenge against OLSH

| Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 9:42 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Sewickley Academy pitcher Drew Johnson celebrates after the final out of a WPIAL Class A playoff game against Our Lady of the Sacred Heart on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, at North Allegheny High School.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Sewickley Academy pitcher Drew Johnson delivers to the plate during a WPIAL Class A playoff game against OLSH Wednesday, May 14, 2014, at North Allegheny High School.

Beaten by OLSH two weeks earlier, Sewickley Academy left-hander Drew Johnson won the rematch that mattered most.

Inspired by a three-run lead in the first inning, Johnson pitched an efficient four-hitter Wednesday to beat section rival OLSH, 4-2, in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class A playoffs at North Allegheny. The junior, who needed only 93 pitches to complete all seven innings, had seven strikeouts and two walks.

“He's got the mentality that he's going to go out and win a ballgame,” Sewickley Academy coach Andrew Heck said.

It didn't happen last time. OLSH won 4-3 when Johnson pitched May 1. On that afternoon, Sewickley Academy built an early lead, but OLSH rallied late. This time, his lead never faded.

“I'm glad we could finally get him a win against OLSH,” said first baseman Joe Nagel, who drove in a run and scored another in the three-run first. “He's got great off-speed stuff, and he found it late in the game. Everything seemed to be working.”

No. 13 Sewickley Academy (9-5) and No. 5 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (14-6) split their two Section 5 matchups. Yet, it's the lower-seeded Panthers who will face No. 1 California in the semifinals.

“Losing that second game (to OLSH) fueled our fire for this rubber match,” Heck said. “Maybe that worked out for us.”

Sewickley Academy led 3-0 after its first three batters, Mike Manzinger, John Nagel and Joe Nagel, all reached base and scored. Manzinger singled, John Nagel reached on a fielding error and Joe Nagel doubled, scoring Manzinger.

A sacrifice fly by Sam Duerr scored John Nagel.

A one-out single by Derek Littlefield scored Joe Nagel.

All nine Sewickley Academy players batted before Johnson took the mound.

“When you know you're up three (runs), you don't have to worry about mistakes,” Johnson said. “You can just go up there and pitch.”

OLSH senior starter Kyle Seamon, who allowed four hits, was replaced after just two outs. His relief, freshman Dylan Osheka, allowed only two hits over the final 6 13 innings.

“You've got to come out ready to play,” OLSH coach Phil McCarren said. “There were a couple bad bounces, we didn't make some plays and they did. That proved to be all they needed.”

OLSH scored its first run in the third, when Osheka singled and scored.

Both teams added runs in the seventh. OLSH had runners at second and third after no-out singles by Seamon and Adam Pace, who used a wild pitch to advance. Seamon scored on a groundout, but Pace was stranded when Johnson retired the final three batters in order.

“Those last two innings I was just thinking, ‘This is not happening again,' ” Johnson said. “My defense stepped up for me and we got the win.”

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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