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.
Team of the Year: Laurel Highlands
Player of the Year: Andino Vecchiolla, Laurel Highlands
Coach of the Year: Scott DeBerry, Laurel Highlands
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
Team of the Year: Yough
Player of the Year: Jarett Bach, Yough
Coach of the Year: Craig Spisak, Yough
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
Team of the Year: Waynesburg Central
Player of the Year: Luke Robinson, Waynesburg Central
Coach of the Year: Jamie Moore, Waynesburg Central
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
Team of the Year: Carmichaels
Player of the Year: Gavin Pratt, Carmichaels
Coach of the Year: Dickie Krause, Carmichaels
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
Team of the Year: California
Player of the Year: Jacob Swartz, California
Coach of the Year: Lou Pasquale, California
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