NA has little trouble with Connellsville
After committing seven errors and losing to Connellsville in an exhibtion game earlier this season, the North Allegheny baseball team was determined to take full advantage of its second chance.
No. 1 North Allegheny (19-2) seized a 6-0 lead through four innings of its WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal Thursday at Shaler and cruised to a 7-2 victory against Connellsville (15-7).
"I don't know if we made a statement this time, but we played our game," North Allegheny coach Tim Banner said. "We have the guys that can make the plays."
North Allegheny received a strong pitching performance from left-hander Josh Hungerman and power at the plate from Pat Trettel and John Quimby, who each hit a home run.
After escaping some early jams, Hungerman pitched seven strong innings, allowing just two runs on six hits. He struck out eight and walked two.
"He pitched a good game," Banner said. "That's why he is 9-0."
The Falcons had a chance to hurt Hungerman early in the game, but left runners in scoring position in each of the first two innings. Also, in the fourth, Connellsville had a runner thrown out at the plate to snuff out what could have been a promising inning.
"I just wanted to throw strikes and let the guys do the work behind me," Hungerman said. "We want to win the WPIAL, and this was the first step."
North Allegheny wasted little time scoring, as Trettel singled in a run in the first, then hit a two-run homer off Connellsville starter Casey Shultz in the third to make it 3-0.
"Down there, we played poorly," Trettel said. "But I think we showed what we can do."
The Tigers added three runs in the fourth off reliever Joe Leonard. The inning was highlighted by a two-run homer from Quimby. He later added a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Connellsville's offense came from Chris Pepe and Chad Shroyer, as each hit a solo homer in the late innings.
But missed chances in the early innings doomed Connellsville.
"We had some chances early to take the lead," Connellsville coach Brian Shipley said. "We didn't score in the first inning and that is really what hurt us."
The victory pushes North Allegheny into the semifinals Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Shaler, where it will meet Baldwin.