Elizabeth Forward baseball closes in on playoff berth
TribLIVE Sports Videos
A week ago, it appeared to be an impossibility.
Now it seems like a sure thing.
Elizabeth Forward baseball coach Frank Champ didn't buy it then and isn't about to fall into that trap awaiting him Thursday.
After winning three games in four days against some of the toughest competition Section 4-AAA had to offer to keep their once-faint playoff hopes alive, the Warriors appear to be on the path to the postseason after Tuesday's 5-2 win over South Park in a game that completed from last week.
A win Thursday over the section's only winless team, Ringgold (3-10, 0-10), a team EF mercy ruled a month ago, would elevate the Warriors (10-7, 6-5) to the postseason for the second consecutive year.
After what EF went through to get to this point, Champ is sure of one thing: his team isn't going to look past Ringgold.
“I don't think it is a trap game because we have been saying all along that we needed to win all four of these games,” Champ said. “If we would've lost this game, there would've been no one worried about Thursday.”
Champ pointed to EF's first meeting with South Park (9-8, 7-5) as a perfect example. The Eagles won 16-6.
“Sure we beat Ringgold, 15-0, but that can be turned right around on us,” Champ said. “I am not going to lie. It's been a little stressful. I am glad that we have now put ourselves in the situation where we win and we can get in.”
The Warriors did that with a spectacular week with wins over Thomas Jefferson, Belle Vernon and South Park by a total of seven runs.
“We've played a lot of close games, and we needed them all,” Champ said.”
Tuesday's game was no different. Actually there wasn't much variation from EF's previous two wins: good pitching and timely hitting.
Luke Padezan pitched three solid innings to pick up the win before giving way in the seventh to Ryan Wardropper, who closed out the game by inducing a 1-6-3 double play.
The Warriors got timely run-scoring back-to-back hits from Jake Terrick and Padezan in the fourth to plate four of EF's five runs and give them a 5-1 lead.
“We got the timely hits, that's for sure,” Champ said. “We have had that kind of offensive production lately.”
Four of EF's seven hits came in the fourth inning off of losing pitcher Brian Yoest.
“They seemed like they had a little more pep in their game,” South Park coach Steve Bucci said. “It wasn't so much what we did today as it was what they did today, and they were the better team today.”
It didn't hurt that South Park clinched a playoff spot earlier in the day, when the Eagles beat Ringgold in a game that was suspended Monday before traveling to Elizabeth Forward for what turned into a meaningless game.
“Maybe some of the life was out of us. Who knows?” Bucci said. “But it was still an important game for the integrity of our section. We wanted to come out and play well, and we really did except for that one inning. We felt that being up 6-0 on Ringgold is the game that we had to put the hammer down.”
Seven players got hits for Elizabeth Forward, while six players for South Park got hits, including doubles by Brad Collas and Josh Wagner.
“We needed this game, but we need Thursday's game, too,” Champ said. “We aren't going to look past anybody.”
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.
- Deer Lakes’ own field of dreams — North Allegheny
- Hempfield offense, pitching deliver in WPIAL semifinal victory
- BVA rallies to earn spot in title game
- Top-seeded Belle Vernon rallies for walk-off win over Southmoreland
- Late explosion carries Yough to finals
- Deer Lakes softball reaches WPIAL Class AA title game after routing Steel Valley, 10-0
- Trib Cup: Monessen softball had year of firsts
- High school roundup: Big inning carries Yough to title game
- A-K Valley softball playoff capsule: No. 1 Deer Lakes vs. No. 12 Steel Valley
- One hit is enough for BV Area in 1-0 win
- Deer Lakes senior Gozzard delivers when it counts