Laurel Highlands soared into the WPIAL baseball semifinals for the second season in a row and Carmichaels reached the final four as well in 2021.
The Mustangs and Mikes lead the Herald-Standard All-Area Baseball Team with LH’s Nick Kumor earning Big School (Class 4A-6A) Player of the Year honors and Carmichaels’ Gavin Pratt and Drake Long tabbed as Small School (Class 1A-3A) Co-Players of the Year.
Laurel Highlands went 15-6 overall and 9-3 in Section 3-4A to finish in second place then won two playoff games before falling to top-seeded Montour. A 3-2 loss to Blackhawk prevented the Mustangs from reaching the PIAA tournament in a game Kumor missed due to injury.
Kumor was 5-1 as a pitching in the regular season with 53 strikeouts and hit .500 with three home runs, 19 RBIs and 22 runs. The senior, who is a Marietta College recruit, added another home run in the playoffs.
Carmichaels swept through Section 1-2A with a 10-0 record and finished 17-4 overall. The Mikes also won two playoff games before suffering a 7-6 loss to a Shenango team that went on to win the WPIAL championship and came within a one-run loss of taking the state title. Carmichaels also qualified for the PIAA playoffs.
Pratt was 6-0 with 46 strikeouts as a pitcher and the senior slugged five home runs while hitting .520 with 22 RBIs and 22 runs in the regular season.
Long, a junior, was 4-0 with 35 strikeouts as a pitcher and also smacked five home runs with 24 RBIs and 24 runs in the regular season.
Jefferson-Morgan’s Bryce Bedilion was a close second to the Mikes’ duo.
The Big School and Small School coaches of the year also came from Laurel Highlands and Carmichaels.
Scott DeBerry battled through health issues that forced him to miss several games but prepped and guided the Mustangs to a second straight run at a district title. Dickie Krause took the Mikes into the state tournament for the first time since 2014.
Honorable mention coaches were John Curtis of Jefferson-Morgan and Lou Pasquale of California.
Curtis led the Rockets to a second-place finish in Section 2-A and a pair of playoff victories to put J-M in the final four for the second time in four years. Pasquale rallied his team from two early-season blowout losses to Carmichaels to an 11-game winning streak, a second-place finish behind the Mikes and a playoff win.
Other local teams who earned berths into the postseason were Connellsville, Elizabeth Forward, Belle Vernon, Yough, Brownsville, Waynesburg Central, Beth-Center, Bentworth and West Greene.
The complete Herald-Standard All-Area Baseball Team follows:
Big School Player of the Year: Nick Kumor, Laurel Highlands.
Small School Co-Players of the Year: Gavin Pratt and Drake Long, Carmichaels.
Big School Coach of the Year: Scott DeBerry, Laurel Highlands.
Small School Coach of the Year: Dickie Krause, Carmichaels.
Albert Gallatin: Noah Mildren, Nick Pegg
Belle Vernon: Andrew Sokol
Beth-Center: Cam Palmer
Brownsville: Derrick Tarpley
California: Payton Conte, Jordan Kearns, Hunter Assad
Carmichaels: Gavin Pratt, Drake Long, Nick Ricco, Stush Ferek
Connellsville: Gage Gillott, James Domer
Elizabeth Forward: Luke Alvarez
Jefferson-Morgan: Bryce Bedillion, Easton Hanko,
Laurel Highlands: Nick Kumor, Kadin Early, Joe Chambers
Mount Pleasant: Aaron Alakson
Southmoreland: Anthony Govern
Waynesburg Central: Lincoln Pack, Mason Switalski
Yough: Vinny Martin
Albert Gallatin: Caleb Matzus-Chapman
Belle Vernon: Ryan Hamer, Andrew Kostelnik
Bentworth: Colton Brightwell
Brownsville: Nick Keeney, Cole Rankin, Tyler Wible, Zach Kutek, Cam Brosky
California: Brody Conner, Conner Vig, Jacob Pitkel
Carmichaels: Jacob Fordyce, Liam Lohr
Charleroi: Joey Campbell, Ben Shields, Zach Usher
Connellsville: Zakary David, Beau Bigam, Brant Bonadio, Kole Koontz
Elizabeth Forward: Logan Cherapko, Isaiah Hart
Frazier: Dom Dorcon, Dan Olbrys, Aiden Shetterly
Jefferson-Morgan: Kyle Clayton, Ayden Pratt
Laurel Highlands: Alex McClain, Carson Damico, Ty Sankovich, Zach Koffler, Braeden O’Brien, Braeden McKnight
Mapletown: Landon Stevenson
Ringgold: Hunter Mamie, Joey Shumaker, Gianni Catini
Southmoreland: Ben Zimmerman
Uniontown: Hunter Chaikcic, Tate Musko, Christian Thomas
Waynesburg Central: Logan Higgins
West Greene: Morgan Kiger, Hunter Hamilton
Albert Gallatin: Nate McCusker, Johnny Skochelak
Belle Vernon: Aidan Ochs, Zach Jackson
Bentworth: Landon Urcho
Beth-Center: Ethan Varesko
California: Fred Conard
Frazier: Braden Baccino, Chase Hazelbaker
Mapletown: Lance Stevenson
Monessen: Jack Sacco
Ringgold: Gage Fuller, Lorenzo Glasser
Uniontown: Tanner Uphold, Colt Sparks
Yough: Christian Park, Ryan Lubovinsky, Sean Royer