Tigers Edged By Big Macs In WPIAL Championship, 2-1
Canon-McMillan survived two late-inning threats by North Allegheny to capture its first WPIAL championship with a 2-1 win over the Tigers on Wednesday night in the Class 6A title tilt at Wild Things Park in Washington, PA. The Big Macs pitching staff left a runner stranded at third base in the sixth and seventh innings to close out the game.
The Class 6A championship played out as expected, in a pitcher’s duel between North Allegheny’s Luke Trueman and Canon-McMillan’s Zach Rohaley. The Tigers posted the first real threat of the ballgame in the top of the third inning, but as would become a trend, Rohaley wiggled out of danger and left runners stranded at the corners.
In the bottom of the third, Canon-McMillan struck for the first runs of the evening. After two quick outs, Brandon Kline reached on a walk, and moments later, scored on an RBI triple by Cameron Walker for a 1-0 lead. Gannon University commit Ian Hess followed with an RBI single and the Big Macs held a 2-0 advantage.
North Allegheny responded quickly in the fourth inning. Senior Justin Hamm, also a Gannon University commit, reached base on a hit by pitch to start the inning. With two outs, Hamm stole second base and came around to score on an RBI triple by Ryan Dougherty to trim the Canon-McMillan lead to 2-1.
It appeared the Tigers were poised to tie the game in the sixth inning when John Carroll commit Ben Surman drilled a leadoff triple to left centerfield. However, Rohaley buckled down to strike out the next three batters to keep the Big Macs on top, 2-1.
In the top of the seventh, Dougherty walked to start the inning and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Brett Loughner. Rohaley induced a popout of the next hitter for the inning’s second out but had to leave the contest as he had reached the 100 pitch count. Senior Cam Weston, a hard throwing but erratic right-hander, entered the game in relief. Dougherty stole third base to put the game-tying run 90-feet away, but Weston managed to strikeout the final batter of the ballgame to secure his sixth save of the season and a WPIAL title for Canon-McMillan.
Rohaley (11-1) earned the win, striking out nine batters with one walk in 6.2 innings and allowing one run. Trueman twirled a gem as well in a complete-game effort, surrendering two runs with seven strikeouts and two walks. Trueman (3-1) took the hard-luck loss but still earned Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors for an outstanding performance.
Canon-McMillan improves to 17-5 on the season, while North Allegheny slips to 13-11. The Tigers will start the PIAA tournament on Monday at a site and time to be determined. The PIAA first round contest will be broadcast via the internet on the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Baseball vs. Canon-McMillan, 5-30-18
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