Wicker leads Hempfield East Legion team to district title game
Matt Wicker hasn’t been asked to pitch much for the Hempfield East American Legion team this summer.
Coach Scott Smith was saving him after he threw a lot of innings during the high school season.
Wicker, a Greensburg Salem grad and the Golden Lions’ ace this past spring, answered the call on the mound and at the plate Saturday in the District 31 semifinals at Latrobe.
Wicker banged out four hits including a double and held Latrobe scoreless over the final 41/3 innings as Hempfield East rallied for a 10-4 victory to sweep the series 2-0 against the Jethawks and clinch a spot in the championship game and a berth in the Region 7 tournament.
Hempfield East (19-2-1) will face rival Bushy Run at 5 p.m. Tuesday for the title. Bushy Run defeated Unity, 9-0, to sweep its series.
Latrobe’s season isn’t over. The Jethawks, by being the host team, will join the two finalists in the Region 7 tournament that begins Friday.
Latrobe chased Hempfield East starter Shane Stuchell in the third inning after scoring on a hit by Vinnie Amatucci and on a two-run single by Jake Bradish. Wicker got a strikeout to end the threat as Latrobe left runners on second and third.
Hempfield East tied the score in the top of the fourth inning on a balk and took the lead on Reed Hipps’ single.
East tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning and three in the sixth.
Hipps (three RBIs) and John Malinak each had three hits for East. Amatucci had three hits for Latrobe.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .