Gateway baseball hopes to make an impact in postseason
The Gateway varsity baseball team isn't just happy to be in the WPIAL Quad-A playoffs.
The Gators also want to make their mark and extend what already has been a successful 2016 campaign.
The playoff pairings are to be released Friday, and, according to the baseball calendar on the WPIAL website, the first round is to start Monday.
That, of course, is subject to change.
Gateway finished third in Section 4-AAAA with a 5-5 record.
The Gators duplicated their section mark from last year, but in 2015, Allderdice crashed the party and joined Plum and Franklin Regional in the postseason.
Gateway hoped to build momentum Tuesday as it faced Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic at home in a WPIAL tune up.
The game was to be contested past the deadline for this week's edition.
The Gators find themselves in the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2012.
That year, Gateway also finished third in the section — Plum and Pittsburgh Central Catholic tied for the section title — and it suffered a tough 2-1 loss to North Allegheny in the first round.
The Gators are gunning for their first WPIAL playoff victory since the mid 1990s.
Head coach Bill Stoops feels the team has what it takes to break that streak.
With a playoff spot on the line May 2, Gateway came out firing on all cylinders against McKeesport.
The Gators eliminated the Tigers with a barrage of offense and the pitching efforts of Max Herman who surrendered only three hits and two walks while striking out seven.
The dominating effort against McKeesport followed the Tigers' close 3-1 setback to undefeated and top-ranked Plum two days earlier.
Stoops said he like the way his players bounced back from their heartbreaking 3-2, 11-inning loss to Franklin Regional on April 27 with a 10-1 rout of Brashear two days later and then the victory over the Tigers three days after that.
Stoops said he saw the fight he has come to expect from his players in that loss to FR.
Gateway held a 2-0 lead entering the bottom of the seventh as Mike Vojnik limited the Panthers offense and provided some offensive of his own with a two-run double in the second inning.
But FR, which finished 8-2 in the Section 4 standings behind Plum (10-0), rallied in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run homer from Bryce Halleck.
Stoops also is pleased to see his seniors, who have been through a lot in their varsity careers, including a 1-19 combined section mark as freshmen and sophomores, get the chance to go out with a run in the postseason.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.