BVA blasts McGuffey in playoff opener
FREDERICKTOWN - Like last year, Belle Vernon Area High's baseball team opened the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs with an early 3-0 lead.
Unlike a year ago, the Leps didn't end up losing.
Instead BVA (16-2) remained one of the WPIAL's hottest teams, belting McGuffey, 8-1, Monday at Beth-Center Stadium for its 12th straight win.
"We weren't going to let Mo-hawk happen again," said BVA coach Jim Russell recalling the Leps' 14-3 defeat. "I knew I had chessboard moves to make with our pitchers and they worked out."
Brian Horner, the Leps' No. 2 pitcher, started and blanked the Highlanders until the fourth inning when McGuffey scored its lone run to trim the deficit to two and had the bases loaded with no outs.
Enter Tim Latham, the Leps' ace, who was playing third base and traded places with Horner.
Latham got Ryan Group to hit a one-hopper to Horner forcing Phil Anderson at the plate before striking out Jake Scherich and Steven Breese to get out of the inning.
Latham, the Sec. 5's MVP, pitched three hitless innings and fanned seven of the 10 batters he faced before giving way to freshman Rob Ramsey, who pitched the seventh.
"It was the first time I pitched in relief this season," said Latham. "I was really pumped up. This was a big game for us. We wanted it more than they did."
"I knew about half hour be-fore the game that I wasn't starting," he added. "The difference in mine and Brian's deliveries threw their hitters off."