Unity blanks Young Township to open District 31 Legion playoffs
Unity held serve in the opener of the District 31 American Legion baseball playoffs.
The No. 3 seed Bulldogs jumped ahead early and went on to defeat Young Township, 14-0, on Monday at Whitney Field in Unity Township.
The game was halted after five innings because of the 12-run mercy rule.
“Everybody hit the ball well tonight, and I hope that continues tomorrow,” said Unity manager Ed Guzik, who saw his team collect 12 hits in the victory.
“We were very aggressive at the plate, and that is something we preach all the time. We also took advantage of a few of their mistakes.”
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Bertolino Field in Young Township. A third game in the series, if necessary, will be back at Whitney Field at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“Whether it’s 1-0 or 14-0 like it was, the guys know they have to forget this one and come out intense tomorrow and bring our ‘A’ game at our field,” Young Township manager Barry Thomas said.
Both Unity and Young Township played a lot of games in a compacted close to the regular season. The Bulldogs played eight games in 10 days, while Young Township played seven games in nine days.
Unity broke through with four runs in the bottom of the second to take control. Mason Seftas delivered a one-out single to score Cole Novak, who led off with a double, for a 1-0 lead.
Tate O’Barto then doubled with two outs to drive in both John Beard and Seftas to extend the advantage to 3-0.
Connor Mondock kept the inning going with a single to score O’Barto.
Unity added four runs in the bottom of the third, highlighted by RBIs from Novak, Seftas and Mondock.
Six runs for Unity in the bottom of the fourth set the final.
O’Barto and Mondock led the way with three RBIs apiece.
Novak picked up the pitching win for the Bulldogs. He surrendered four hits, struck out two and walked none over five innings.
Young Township stranded runners on first and second in the top of the second. Tony Burtolino and Zach Hreha both singled in the frame.
Blake Fairman tripled with two outs in the third, but a flyout by the next batter, Barry Yard, ended the threat.
“I think we hit well, but everything we hit was at somebody, and everything they hit was in a gap,” Thomas said. “Unity was aggressive, and they hit the ball well.”
Field conditions postponed the start of the quarterfinal series between No. 2 Bushy Run and No. 7 Kiski Valley and No. 4 Latrobe and No. 5 Yough. Both now will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Top seed Hempfield East and No. 8 Murrysville were able to play Monday at Pitt-Greensburg, and East came away with a 14-2 victory in five innings.
Andrew Rosenberg earned the victory, and also tripled as part of Hempfield East’s seven-hit attack. Reid Amundson homered for East, which scored five runs in the fourth and seven in the fifth to close out the win.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-856-7400 x8632, [email protected] or via Twitter .