PITTSBURGH – Henry Shaffer dominated WPIAL champion Bishop Canevin to the tune of a no-hitter as Saegertown advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals with a 6-0 win.
Shaffer’s numbers speak for themselves. He struck out nine and walked four, throwing 60 of his 92 pitches for strikes.
Shaffer allowed a leadoff walk to start his outing but responded by retiring 14 in a row, not allowing another baserunner until a 2-out walk in the fifth inning.
With the win, the Panthers have now won opening-round state playoff games in back-to-back seasons. They also bounced back from a 2-0 loss to West Middlesex in the D10 title game.
Shaffer also had a hand in Saegertown’s 3-run first inning, as he singled to bring in Luke Young, who tripled, for the game’s second run. Wyatt Burchill led off the game with a single, with Young’s triple scoring Burchill. Shaffer came across to score on a passed ball for the final run of the inning.
The Panthers also scored single runs in the third, sixth, and seventh on William Shaffer’s RBI single, with William Shaffer walking and coming around to score on an error and Burchill walking and coming around to score on a wild pitch in the seventh.
The top six hitters in the Saegertown lineup – Burchill, Young, Henry Shafer, Sully Zirkle, William Shaffer, and Demarcus Manning all recorded one hit each. Burchill and Young also scored two runs apiece.
Kole Olszewski took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in four innings, striking out four and walking one.
With the win, Saegertown advances to play D9 champion Clarion, a 15-0, 4-inning winner over Harmony, in the quarterfinals on Thursday at a site and time to be determined.
DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC 8, BISHOP GUILFOYLE 5, 8 INNINGS
ALTOONA, Pa. – Great teams just find a way.
Twice defending state champion DuBois Central Catholic rallied in Monday’s PIAA Class 1A first-round game against D6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle in what was ultimately an 8-5 eight-inning win for the Cardinals.
“Great game,” said DuBois Central Catholic coach Adam Fox. “That team (Guilfoyle) is better than any team we saw in the state playoffs last year.”
Guilfoyle sent the game to extras went Cooper Rother and Nick Negola both had RBI singles with two outs in the second, but DCC punched back in the eighth.
Matt Pyne had a bunt single and was on first twitch two outs when Carter Hickman singled to put two runners on. Kaden Brezenski followed with an RBI double and Blake Pisarcik a 2-run single.
“When they tied it up, it was almost deja vu to the Clarion game,” Fox said. “It was just a situation where they had a couple of balls fall and rallied. Pyne laid down a great bunt, Carter Hickman hits a tweener in between second and third, and then Brezenski floats one in there over the shortstop’s head to bring in Pyne. These guys just keep coming at ya. This was just a complete team effort.”
Aiden Snowberger, who threw 99 pitches going into the eighth, retired the side on five pitches in the eighth to preserve the win. The PIAA allows for 105 pitches in the postseason (100 is the limit in the regular season).
“I knew he was at 99 and my plan was to pull him but he just ran back out there,” Fox said. “That’s his mentality. He was a bulldog out there today.”
Snowberger struck out four, walked one, scattered nine hits, and allowed four earned runs in the complete game victory.
“It’s baseball,” Fox said. “We don’t make anything bigger than it is.”
It was a back-and-forth game until DCC’s 3-run sixth gave them a 5-3 lead.
Brayden Fox hit a homer to lead off the third to give DCC a 2-1 lead, but Guilfoyle responded in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI groundout from Negola and an RBI single by Kade Sell to make it 3-2.
That score held until the sixth, and again it was another 2-out rally from the Cardinals. Carter Himes walked with one out and Andrew Green with two outs, setting the stage for Snowberger, who ripped a 2-run triple to make it 4-3 DCC.
Snowberger ultimately came around to score on a wild pitch to make it 5-3.
Owen Dombrusky took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three in 2 ⅓ innings of work.
“They threw three-plus arms at us today,” Fox said. “They resemble a lot of what we do”
With the win, DCC advances to play District 3 champion Greenwood, an 8-0 winner over Meyersdale, in the quarterfinals on Thursday at a site and time to be determined.
“I’ll put our guys against anybody,” Fox said.
WEST MIDDLESEX 12, UNION (New Castle) 2, 5 innings
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Devin Gruver hit a 2-run homer in the second inning as West Middlesex scored 10 runs in the first three innings on its way to a 12-2, 5-inning win over Union (New Castle).
Richie Preston and Kyle Gilson both had RBI singles in the first inning and Gio Rococi was hit by a pitch and came around to on a throwing error after he stole third.
Those three runs turned out to be all West Middlesex needed.
Preston got the win, going three innings and allowing two runs on four hits, striking out five and walking two. Rococo came on in relief and pitched two shutout innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four.
Gruver set the tone atop the Big Reds’ order, going 3-for-3 with four RBIs and three runs, while Preston was 2-for-2 with two walks and two RBIs, Blaze Knight was 1-for-1 with an RBI and Gilson was 1-for-2 with an RBI run and a walk.
Tyler Blanton was also 1-for-2 with a walk, scoring three runs.
Rocco Galmarini took the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) in 1 ⅔ innings on six hits, striking out two and walking one.
With the win, West Middlesex advances to play Southern Fulton, an 8-3 winner over California, in the quarterfinals on Thursday at a site and time to be determined.
CLARION 15, HARMONY 0, 3 INNINGS
DUBOIS, Pa. – The last time Clarion was in the PIAA baseball playoffs was in 2017 when the Bobcats went to the PIAA title game.
The one thing that marked that run was a bunch of close games. Clarion won by scores of 4-3, 3-0, and 1-0, and lost the title game, 2-0.
On Monday, in the opening round of the PIAA Class 1A playoffs, there was no such drama, as the D9 champion Bobcats blasted District 6 runner-up Harmony, 15-0, in three innings.
“They played all three phases of baseball, which is what we always preach,” Clarion manager Rob Jewett said. “They did it to exception today. We hit the ball really hard. It was a lot better than the last game. The last game (Clarion’s win over DCC in the D9 title game) was extremely stressful. We took care of business.”
Rewatch the game
The Bobcats had 12 hits in the game led by junior shortstop Dawson Smail.
The Xavier recruit was 3-for-3 with a two-run home run, a double, three runs scored, and three RBIs.
“I was just seeing the ball really well today,” Smail said. “I wasn’t here to mess around today. I am not here to mess around the whole tournament. Teams are going to have to watch out for us.”
Clarion scored early and often taking a 4-0 lead after an inning of play thanks to two-run singles by Noah Harrison and Tanner Miller.
The Bobcats then made it 6-0 after two thanks to a towering home run to right-center by Smail in the second inning.
“I was actually practicing low, inside pitches the other day with Eric Harrison (Noah’s dad),” Smail said. “I knew it right off the bat.”
A nine-run third inning then put the game in the book for Clarion with Daunte Girvan delivering a two-run single, Smail adding an RBI base hit, Bryce Brinkley chipping in a two-run single, Harrison picking up another RBI with a single, Derek Smail lofting a sac fly, and Tanner Miller doubling to make it 14-0.
Needing just one run to end the game on the three-inning, 15-run Mercy Rule, Matt Alston put the contest to bed with a single to left.
“It feels great,” Dawson Smail said. “We came ready to play. We came ready to make a statement today, and I think we did.”
Watch Smail’s full postgame interview
Harrison added a 2-for-3 day with two runs scored and three RBIs, while Brinkley was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs meaning the top three in the Bobcats’ lineup were a combined 7 of 9 with seven runs scored and eight RBIs.
Miller was also 2-for-2 with a double, two runs scored, a walk, and three RBIs.
While the bats were hitting, Devon Lauer was silencing Harmony.
Lauer didn’t allow a hit and walked two while striking out four in three innings of work to get the win.
“Devon didn’t look too sharp in the first inning (when he walked two),” Jewett said. “But he settled in. He hadn’t thrown in a while. I was glad to see him settle in.”
Jack Bracken took the loss going two innings allowing 14 earned runs on 11 hits, three walks, and a hit batter while striking out one.
Clarion will face District 10 runner-up Saegertown in the quarterfinals Thursday at a site and time to be announced.