Losing coin toss gives Cal edge
Arguably the two best pitchers in WPIAL Class A were in the midst of a pitchers' duel as each was battling to lead his team to the title.
However, because of regulations on rest for a pitcher, Carmichaels' Brandon Lawless and California Area's Josh Luko won't get to settle their duel on the field.
Well, at least Lawless won't.
Tuesday's showdown of section rivals was called in the fourth inning with the score tied, 1-1, and the Trojans batting and threatening with two runners on base.
Ironically, it was a coin toss before the game that may play a role in deciding who wins the Class A crown.
Even though California is unbeaten and is the top- seeded team, the home team for baseball and softball playoffs is settled by a coin toss before the game.
The Mikes won that coin toss, but maybe they are hoping today they hadn't.
Because Carmichaels – the home team for the game – was on the field in the top of the fourth inning and Lawless had begun to pitch the fourth inning, he must have two days rest before pitching again.
Luko, however, only pitched three innings and he will be able to take the mound when the game is finished today at Consol Energy Field.
“I'm hoping to go out there and pitch,” Luko (9-0) said. “I know I'm eligible to and I definitely want to.
“I don't think I ever pitched two days in a row before. That will probably be a first. I feel good right now and hopefully I will this way (on Wednesday).”
Luko said that going into the game he got no extra motivation because he was going up against Lawless.
“I just came prepared,” he said. “That's all you can ever do. I just hope to do my best and see what happens.”
Luko said he wasn't rattled by a pair of first inning throwing errors by teammates that led to the Mikes taking a 1-0 lead to start the game.
“There's nothing you can do about that,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “You just have to keep throwing strikes. That's all I can do. It's part of the game.”
Unfortunately for Carmichaels, also part of the game is the rule regarding pitchers going into the fourth inning needing rest.
In a game that is tied, it could prove to be the difference.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.