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WPIAL Class A baseball final pushed to Wednesday

| Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 10:09 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Carmichaels third baseman Billy Bowlen tags out California's Louden Conte on a pick-off play during the WPIAL Class A championship game Tuesday, May 27, 2014, at Consol Energy Park.

When it comes to WPIAL Class A baseball, few teams have seen more success than Carmichaels and California, who met for this year's championship game Tuesday at Consol Energy Park in Washington.

The game was stopped for a lightning delay at 9:02 p.m., 60 minutes after the first pitch with the score tied 1-1. With continued flashes, the game was postponed until 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Regardless of who wins, it will be the sixth title for the two teams since 2001. California, under former coach Don Hartman, won in 2001 and 2006.

Carmichaels captured WPIAL titles in 2003, '05 and '08.

The winner will play the runner-up from District 9 in the first round of the PIAA Class A playoffs Monday. The loser will face the District 5 champion the same night. Times and sites are yet to be determined.

Though California was Trib Total Media's top-ranked team for much of the season, cruising to the Section 1-A title, Carmichaels surged in the playoffs. The Mikes scored 36 runs in wins over No. 7 Springdale, No. 2 Western Beaver and No. 11 Riverview.

California beat its top rival twice this season: 14-0 and 6-5.

Carmichaels took advantage of two California errors and held a 1-0 lead after the first inning.

Center fielder Ryan Zalar reached base and made it to third on a throwing error charged to Trojans third baseman Ronnie Baron. He scored on a flare up the middle by catcher Mike Blasinsky, who went to second when the ball bounced away from first baseman Nathaniel Luketich.

California tied it in the top of the third when catcher Jake Columbus hit a flare the opposite way, stole second and scored on shortstop Louden Conte's triple that sneaked inside the first-base bag.

Carmichaels pitcher Brandon Lawless, who entered the game 8-1 with a 2.04 ERA, issued back-to-back walks before the delay, his third and fourth of the game. Of the 69 pitches Lawless threw, only 33 were for strikes.

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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