Canon McMillan upsets Peters Township
Unheralded Canon-McMillan upset two-time WPIAL champion Peters Township, 8-0, in the PIAA Class AAAA baseball quarterfinals Thursday at CONSOL Energy Park in Washington.
The winning pitcher, righthander Chris Dittmar (5-2), relied on his slider and sailing fastball while limiting Peters Township to three hits and no extra-base hits.
Section 3 champ Canon-McMillan (20-5) advanced to the state semifinals against Central Mountain on Monday at a site and time to be announced.
Peters Township (19-7) had scored 31 runs while winning two of three games against Canon-McMillan this season. Peters Township scored 10-1 and 10-5 victories in the previous two meetings.
“We knew we were going to get a run at these guys again,” Canon-McMillan coach Steve Bucci said. “We were waiting for this game. Our old rival was in striking distance.”
Canon-McMillan took a 1-0 lead without producing a hit in the third inning. Center fielder Mike Hull reached on a walk, moved to second on a routine groundout, stole third and scored on a high throw to third by Peters Township catcher Will McClure.
Canon-McMillan extended the lead to 2-0 in the fourth on first baseman Aaron Wiegel’s RBI single, and 3-0 in the fifth when a throwing error by McClure allowed Hull to reach third. Hull scored on a groundout.
Dittmar allowed just one hit, a single by losing pitcher Jordan Jankowski, during the first four innings.
“They know I’m a fastball pitcher, so we tried to mix it up with changes and sliders,” Dittmar said. “I think it kept them off balance, because, honestly, that’s the best-hitting team in the WPIAL, hands down.
“Last time, they pounded my slider. But I was able to keep it down today, and that was my best pitch.”
Dittmar struck out six, mostly on a high fastball he had Peters Township batters chasing, and faced just five batters more than the minimum during seven innings.
“It seemed we were getting ahead early in the count, and they were guessing,” Bucci said. “It was just our day. Today, we just kept the pressure on, and Dittmar really didn’t face many threats.”
Canon-McMillan broke the game open by scoring five runs in the sixth on Hull’s bases-loaded walk, Dittmar’s two-run single, Matt Pierpont’s RBI infield single and Charles Murphy’s run-scoring double.
For Peters Township, Jankowski ripped a changeup and produced the longest drive of the game, but it turned into an out in front of the 410-foot mark in left-center field.
“We played them deep in the outfield, and it worked out for us on a big field,” Bucci said. “There were at least three or four homers today (at other WPIAL fields).”
Peters Township coach Joe Maize agreed that there could have been three or four homers.
“It’s a big park for high school kids, and there were some shots that would have gone out in other parks, but this is a fun place for our kids to have a chance to play,” he said. “They’re going to have a lot of good memories, but this wasn’t a very good one.
“But nobody will take those two WPIAL championships away from them,” Maize added. “This group has won 59 games the past three years, and there are not too many high school teams that have had that kind of success. We’re going to miss a lot of those three-year lettermen.”
The Class AAAA championship game will be played at 1 p.m. June 13 at Blair County Ballpark.
|2B:CM: Charles Murphy|