Mistakes prove costly for West Mifflin in PIAA 1st round loss
TribLIVE Sports Videos
ERIE — The scoreboard numbers pained West Mifflin coach Jeff Smith.
“It's a hard one to swallow,” said Smith after Tuesday's first-round loss to Erie Cathedral Prep, 9-2, in the PIAA Class AAA playoffs at Jerry Uht Park. “With six errors and two hits, you're not going to beat many teams.”
The lack of hits was explainable. Cathedral Prep starter Carter Cross was sharp for six innings.
The errors were more surprising.
“We played pretty good defense all year, and today we didn't,” Smith said. “It's not like they were hard-hit balls we were missing. Most of them were throwing errors.”
With an error, four hits and a walk, Cathedral Prep scored five runs in the second inning. West Mifflin had two errors and a run-scoring balk in the sixth, when the Ramblers scored four more.
“We've been pretty sound defensively all year,” senior third baseman Ryan Catalogna said. “That's just not us. To see that just hurts.”
“It's happened to us,” Prep coach Dave Hess said of the errors. “Baseball is funny. It just happens.”
Cathedral Prep (20-3) was the District 10 champion.
West Mifflin (15-6), the WPIAL's third-place team, was in the state playoffs for the first time.
“They should be very, very proud to accomplish something no other team had accomplished,” Smith said. “I'm just a little disappointed today.”
A right-handed sophomore, Cross retired the first 12 West Mifflin batters in order. He carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning when Catalogna lofted a no-out single to center.
The hit sparked a two-run inning for West Mifflin. The Titans had runners on second and third after catcher Dan Howard walked, Catalogna singled and first baseman Joe Stavor moved them over.
A pick-off error by Cross allowed courtesy runner Jake Liposky to score from third. Catalogna then scored from second on a two-out infield single by Robinson. West Mifflin trailed 5-2.
In the WPIAL consolation game, West Mifflin rallied to beat Hampton, 8-5. But Prep's four-run sixth inning crushed any comeback hopes.
“When they scored five, we got down a little bit,” Catalonga said, “ ... but the four just really killed us.”
Cross had three walks and seven strikeouts in six innings. He pitched a four-hitter to win the District 10 championship. Sam Riley pitched a scoreless seventh.
West Mifflin starter Zach Salmon was relieved by Dom Robinson eight batters into the second inning after six of them reached base. The junior pitched in every playoff game this season.
“He's a very good pitcher but when you are pitching every playoff game, it takes its toll on you,” Smith said.
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.