Tigers Top Raiders for WPIAL Crown, 4-2
(5/29/13) North Allegheny captured its first WPIAL baseball title since 2009 with a 4-2 victory over rival Seneca Valley on Wednesday night at CONSOL Energy Park. In doing so, the Tigers denied the Raiders’ attempt for their third straight WPIAL championship. A superb pitching effort from Mitch Machi, solid defense, and well-executed bunts propelled the Tigers to the title.
Seneca Valley started the scoring in the top of the second as a Zach Spangler sacrifice fly scored Carson Kessler. Kessler doubled on a bloop down the right field line to begin the frame, but they could muster just three additional hits during the game against Machi. North Allegheny answered in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Sean Fitzgerald singled to left. Zach Woloszyk followed with an infield hit to second base. Raiders starter Connor Coward looked to be out of the inning after striking out Machi, but the ball bounced away from catcher Brad Gresock, and Machi reached to extend the inning. A bases-loaded walk to Brandon Bergstrom forced home Fitzgerald, and Coward subsequently balked home Woloszyk, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
For solid defense from his shortstop position, Brandon Bergstrom was named Wright Automotive Player of the Game. He also set the table with a leadoff double in the fifth inning, allowing the Tigers to add some insurance runs. James Meeker put down a sacrifice bunt, but upon fielding the ball, Coward opted to throw to second to try and eliminate Bergstrom. The Tigers’ shortstop dove back safely, giving North Allegheny runners on first and second with no outs. Matt Waugaman looked to sacrifice the runners over, but like the Meeker bunt, Seneca Valley could not record an out. Gresock fielded the bunt and overthrew first base, letting Bergstrom score the Tigers’ third run. Jimmy Divosevic squeezed home Meeker from third to extend the lead to 4-1.
Seneca scored a run in the sixth, and forced Machi from the game after having the tying run reach base in the seventh, but Jason Monper recorded back to back strikeouts for the final two outs to pick up the save and cap off the WPIAL Championship for North Allegheny.
With the win, the Tigers extend their record to 20-4. Along with Seneca Valley, they will advance to the PIAA playoffs. Their first round matchup will be a rematch with the Spartans of Hempfield. In their matchup in the WPIAL semifinals, North Allegheny defeated Hempfield 3-0. The Spartans punched their ticket to the state playoffs with a 9-2 victory over Pine-Richland in the WPIAL AAAA third place game. The game against Hempfield will be played at a time and location to be determined. Check the North Allegheny Sports Network for more information as soon as it is available.
North Allegheny – 4, Seneca Valley 2
|SCORE BY INNINGS||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
WP – Mitch Machi (7-0) LP – Carson Coward; S – Jason Monper (1)