WPIAL diamond all-stars compete
The Class AAA all-stars and the Class AA squad came up winners Sunday in the 11th annual WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association doubleheader at Butler's Kelly Automotive Park.
Class AAA 4, Class AAAA 3 — A two-run single by Belle Vernon's Dylan Pietrantoni drove in Keith Gannon of Mars and Uniontown's Zack Stashick to give the Class AAA all-stars the lead for good in the seventh inning of Sunday's nightcap.
Later that inning, South Fayette's Tyler Godwin was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring home Pietrantoni with what proved to be the difference.
“It was fun to come out here and play with all these guys,” said Pietrantoni, who will play baseball at St. Vincent. “Everyone's a great player here, and this was a fun kind of day.”
Pietrantoni was named the Player of the Game.
Knoch's Zach Junk, in an unusual setting for him, recorded the save, inducing WPIAL triple crown winner J.J. Matijevic to ground out to second to end the game.
“This was different. I haven't closed all year in high school,” Junk said. “When I got the chance, I took the ball and did the best I could.”
Before the Class AAA team batted around in the seventh, Kiski Area's Ryan Sciullo gave the Class AAAA team its first lead of the game by slamming a triple to deep right, scoring Mitch Machi of North Allegheny and Penn-Trafford's Tyler Smith.
Sciullo, however, overslid third and was out after the runs had scored.
Smith was named Pitcher of the Game, retiring all six batters he faced, including the first four via strikeout.
“My college coach from Canisius was here today,” Smith said of Mike McCrae. “He's a great dude. He stuck with me through my elbow injury last year.”
Class AA 8, Class A 2 — Two players headed to the Erie area for college baseball took home honors in the Class AA/A game.
Seton-La Salle's David Boehme, a Penn State Behrend recruit, was the Player of the Game for his towering shot in the second inning that landed in front of the 385-foot sign in left center.
“I knew I squared it up good, but this park is pretty deep,” Boehme said. “I didn't know if it was going to go out or not. I might have had a triple, but I slipped around first and wiped out there.”
Boehme came around to score the game's first run on a base hit by Neshannock's Ernie Burkes.
Beaver Falls right-hander Jordan Ranson, headed for Mercyhurst, pitched two innings and retired all six batters he faced as part of a five-pitcher effort that limited the Class A squad to just three hits.
“It's definitely intimidating,” Ranson said of facing an all-star lineup. “But we're all-stars, too, and we've got a good defense behind (us), so it wasn't as bad as I thought.”
Class AA starter and winning pitcher Nolan Lamont of South Side Beaver retired six consecutive batters after hitting California's Josh Luko with a pitch to start the game.
Class AA put the game away with six runs in the eighth inning on just two hits.
Three walks, a hit batsman and an error propelled the outburst.
Freeport's Matt Swartz was hit in the helmet with a pitch with the bases loaded for a hard-earned RBI.
An outstanding play turned in by the Class A team came in the ninth inning when right fielder Jake Columbus threw out Shenango's Brent McCormick at the plate after a fly ball out.
George Guido is a freelance writer.