California returned to the top of the mountain in the WPIAL with a 9-6 victory over Union in the Class A finals for the Trojans’ sixth district championship to highlight the Herald-Standard’s All-Area Baseball Team.

Lou Pasquale, who was in his second season as head coach at California, guided California to the Section 2-A title at 12-0. The Trojans earned the No. 1 seed and received a bye in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs before edging Eden Christian (9-6) and Quigley Catholic (3-1) to advance to the final at Wild Things Park on May 28.

California dominated Rockwood, 17-7, in the first round of the PIAA Class A playoffs, but had its season come to an end at the hands of West Middlesex (9-3) in the quarterfinals. The Trojans finished the year at 19-2.

Scott DeBerry had coached some very talented teams at Laurel Highlands that cruised through the regular season, but fell short in the playoffs. DeBerry’s squad faced some adversity in the regular season in losing four Section 3-AAAAA games by one run and came into the WPIAL Class AAAAA playoffs at 2-4 in their last six games.

The Mustangs came alive in the district playoffs to win three games and advance to the first WPIAL Championship Final appearance in program history. Laurel Highlands downed Kiski Area, 3-1, in the first round of the playoffs before upsetting Hampton (8-5) and Franklin Regional (4-1) to advance to Wild Things Park for the championship on May 28.

The Mustangs came up short to Shaler, 8-1, in the championship final, but proved many doubters wrong, as the team wasn’t recognized as being one of the best in Class AAAAA when the year began.

Laurel Highlands advanced to its first state tournament in 36 years, but lost to Cedar Cliff, 9-2, in the first round of the PIAA Class AAAAA playoffs. The Mustangs finished their season at 14-8.

Jarett Bach was one of the best pitchers in the WPIAL, and the University of Pittsburgh recruit led the Cougars to the semifinals of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs. Yough lost to eventual champion Beaver Area, 7-2, before a 1-0 setback to New Castle ended the Cougars’ season one win short of the state playoffs.

Yough edged Central Valley, 4-3, in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs before a 3-1 win over South Park in the quarterfinals. The Cougars finished the year at 14-7.

Carmichaels won the Section 1-AA Championship and defeated Jeanette in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs, 1-0. The Mikes saw their season end in the quarterfinals to Neshannock, 11-1. Carmichaels, who is coached by Dickie Krause, finished its season at 16-3.

Waynesburg Central advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs, and it defeated Freedom, 8-1, before a 1-0 setback to Freeport ended the Raiders’ campaign at 12-6.

Beth-Center advanced to the Class AAA playoffs and edged New Brighton, 4-3, but lost to eventual champion Steel Valley, 8-0, in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs were 7-5 in section play and 8-10 overall.

Mount Pleasant ousted defending state champion Ringgold from the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs with an 8-0 victory in the first round. The Vikings’ year came to an end in a 7-6 setback to WPIAL finalist Blackhawk. Mount Pleasant was 10-9 this past season.

Connellsville battled the biggest schools in the area and qualified for the WPIAL playoffs in Class AAAAAA. The Falcons lost to Seneca Valley, 2-0, in the first round of the district playoffs. Connellsville finished its season at 9-7.

Belle Vernon (10-8), Elizabeth Forward (11-8), Brownsville (12-5), Monessen (12-6), West Greene (11-8) and Jefferson-Morgan (7-10) all qualified for the playoffs.

Class AAAAA/AAAAAA

Team of the Year: Laurel Highlands

Player of the Year: Andino Vecchiolla, Laurel Highlands

Coach of the Year: Scott DeBerry, Laurel Highlands

The Elite

Albert Gallatin: Jace Cappellini, Chandler Goodwin, Noah Mildren, Jackson Miller, Willie Palmer

Connellsville: Darren Farkas, Gage Gillott, Kade Musgrove, Tanner Orndorff, Austin Petraglia, Cade Warrick

Laurel Highlands: Tyler Becker, Justin Brestensky, Greg Hensh, Santino Marra, Garrett Myers, Kaleb Scott, Nate Zimcosky

Class AAAA

Team of the Year: Yough

Player of the Year: Jarett Bach, Yough

Coach of the Year: Craig Spisak, Yough

The Elite

Belle Vernon: Max Gauden, Garrett Greco, Josh Hoffman, Cole Naylor, Erik Pietrantoni

Elizabeth Forward: Nate Cole, Nate Homa, Evan Lewis, Patrick Minda, Jacob Schmidt

Mount Pleasant: Pete Billey, Trevor Mason, Mike Secosky, Joe Shrum, Jared Wagner

Ringgold: Chase Angotti, Bobby Boyer, Koby Bubash, Travis Drusbasky, Nick Kolano

Uniontown: John Harim, Wyatt Lepley, Owen Martin, Wyatt Rishel, Nolan Sennett

Yough: Mike Bell, Ray Halahurich, Caden Kastonis, Steve Manon, Cody Ulander

Class AAA

Team of the Year: Waynesburg Central

Player of the Year: Luke Robinson, Waynesburg Central

Coach of the Year: Jamie Moore, Waynesburg Central

The Elite

Beth-Center: Andrew Bower, Anthony Dellapenna, David Morris, Cameron Palmer, Ryan Ross

Charleroi: Justin Day, Leo Iacovangelo, Cole Perry, Dakota Romantino, David Szersen

Southmoreland: Anthony Govern, Brok Potoka, Travis Sipple

Waynesburg Central: Jesse Johnson, Drew Miller, Kyle Shriver, Trevor Stephenson, Tyler Switalski

Class AA

Team of the Year: Carmichaels

Player of the Year: Gavin Pratt, Carmichaels

Coach of the Year: Dickie Krause, Carmichaels

The Elite

Bentworth: Jacob Kisner, Justin Kisner, Austyn Pistilli

Brownsville: Rocco Frisco, Nicholas Keeney, Zach Kutek, Austin Lincoski, Mike Petrock, D.J. Zimcosky

Carmichaels: Matthew Barrish, Al Cree, Zach Gamble, Stush Ferek, Dylan Wilson

Frazier: Chase Hazelbaker, Shane McGavitt, Jake Olbrys

Class A

Team of the Year: California

Player of the Year: Jacob Swartz, California

Coach of the Year: Lou Pasquale, California

The Elite

California: Brody Conner, Payton Conte, Jordan Kearns, Jacob Piktel, Nate Zemany

Geibel Catholic: Hannah Geary, Eli Haky, Kaleb Lehman, Jacob Mariotti, Adam Mucha

Jefferson-Morgan: Bryce Bedilion, Jacob Broadwater, Kyle Clayton, Easton Hanko, Devin Stoneking

Mapletown: Brandon Donley, Clay Menear, Lance Stephenson

Monessen: Zach Evans, Cam Frolo, Vinny Rhome, Tyler Swann, Marcus Tansmore

West Greene: Ben Jackson, Dalton Lucey, Joey Reed, Caleb Rice, Corey Wise

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