Bucs win opener against Prexies
YOUNGWOOD: Burrell didn’t need any extra motivation heading into Wednesday’s WPIAL Class AA first-round playoff game against Washington.
Still feeling slighted by the fact they did not receive a first-round bye after an undefeated regular season, the Bucs rode the right arm of senior pitcher Bobby Reifschneider to their 17th consecutive victory, 4-0, over Washington at Westmoreland County Community College.
Using a tailing fastball as his tonic, Reifschneider struck out seven and walked two in a two-hit shutout of the Little Prexies (6-7), who helped the Bucs’ cause by committing five errors.
Third baseman Craig Lacata backed Reifschneider with a pair of doubles, reaching base in all three of his plate appearances while driving in two runs.
‘I have been feeling pretty good lately,’ said Reifschneider, who started the game with two consecutive strikeouts on six pitches. He retired 11 consecutive batters until a fourth inning walk, and took a no-hitter into the fifth before allowing a sharp single to opposing pitcher Dale Dollard. ‘My arm seems to get looser every time I throw.’
‘I think not having a bye helped us a lot. It made us stronger. Burrell always seems to have to prove itself.’
Burrell (17-0) proved its ready for the quarterfinals. The Bucs will face Mohawk at 5 p.m. today at Pullman Park, Butler.
Reifschneider and Dollard dueled for the first three and two-third innings before an error allowed Burrell to score the game’s first run.
Lacata doubled to start the home half of the inning, then scored when third baseman Tim Prosser’s throw to first off of a grounder by Alex Sharick skipped off the dirt and got past first baseman Dan Mozes.
‘They have a very good pitcher,’
Washington coach Bob Peton said. ‘We couldn’t hit him. We made some mistakes, and a good team knows how to capitalize on them.’
Reifschneider, who had two hits, doubled to open the fifth, and moved to third on a booted grounder by shortstop Dom Winters. With Reifschneider at third and Jared Bennis at first, Lacata brought home both runners with his second double of the day.
‘Coming in, we felt like we didn’t get a lot of respect,’ Lacata said. ‘We wanted this one. It felt good to be a part of it. This was one of my better games.’
Also in the fifth, leftfielder Kevin McArdle followed with a sharp single to left to score Lacata.
‘Our defense was very solid,’ Burrell coach Mark Spohn said. ‘That and the hitting is the key for us. The kids were a little nervous early on, but they wanted to win this one.’
Dollard, the Prexies usual shortstop who was filling in for injured ace Justin Gregula, who broke his ankle last week in a scrimmage, was roughed up for five hits and three earned runs before he was pulled in the sixth.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review local sports editor. You can contact Bill at 724-224-2696, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .