Late rally keeps Plum’s record unblemished
NEW KENSINGTON: It was wrestling’s equivalent of a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.
Bryan McCarthy, a.k.a. Big Mac, brought the Plum fans to their feet and put the Valley fans in their seats in the final minute of a pin-or-lose match.
McCarthy pinned Joe Tomaszewski with 50 seconds left in the third period of the 275-pound bout to tie the score 33-all and give Plum the victory based on number of matches won (7-6) at Valley High School Wednesday night.
McCarthy, a senior, completed an incredible comeback and spoiled Valley’ upset bid.
Plum improved to 6-0 in Section 4-AAA.
Valley, a Class AA squad only a few years ago, slipped to 4-3.
McCarthy searched for an opening against Tomaszewski in the first two periods, as Plum coach Chuck Froehlich loudly urged him to shoot in and grab a leg.
With 1:15 left in the third period, McCarthy got a takedown and started forcing Tomaszewski onto his shoulders. That brought the Plum fans to their feet, with fists pumping.
McCarthy finished the struggle less than 30 seconds later.
“That kid (Tomaszewski) doesn’t want to get pinned, and he really fought his butt off not to get pinned,” Froehlich said.
Hanna felt badly for his senior 275-pounder, traditionally the last wrestler on the mat.
“There are rules that let you pick which weight class to start with,” Hanna said. “Traditionally, teams run bottom to top. That makes it seem like our last three guys lost the match. But really it’s all in how you look at it. You have to take the match as a whole.”
Hanna was thrilled with his team’s performance, especially in the middle weights.
Valley grabbed a commanding 33-15 lead with four consecutive pins at 140, 145, 152 and 160 pounds. The Vikings’ run forced Plum to win the final three matches, all by pin, to win.
“Four straight pins, that’s 24 points,” Hanna said. “That’s where we had to be.”
The Plum closers recognized and accomplished their mission.
Steve Chirieleison, a junior 171-pounder, and Matt Cassidy, a senior 189-pounder, recorded back-to-back pins in 47 seconds to set up the deciding match.
McCarthy started to prepare mentally after Pat Gartland was pinned by Logan Downes in the 160-pound bout.
“Right after Pat’s match, I knew I’d have to do that,” said McCarthy, who pinned Tomaszewski at a tournament earlier this year. “I was real hyped. I knew (Cassidy) and Chirieleison would get pins.”
Froehlich has quite a bullpen.
“Chirieleison started it off,” he said. “(Tom) Villella’s a good wrestler. Chirieleison getting the pin there turned the match, and then we were ready to go.
“Cassidy and McCarthy followed with pins. We finished with all three of those guys.”
Froehlich expected Valley to give vicious battle.
“They have a great club and a great coach,” he said. “Since I got started, coach Hanna has been like a mentor to me, basically. I knew this was going to be a big match.”
A loss could have spoiled Plum’s chances to win the Section 4-AAA title. Kiski Area improved to 7-0 Wednesday. The two teams are scheduled to meet in the section finale at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at Kiski Area.
Froehlich was in no mood to talk about section titles last night.
“We have a tournament this weekend, and then another match (before Kiski Area),” he said.
103 pounds – Jonathan Grubbs (P) decision Mike Swartz, 11-4.
112 – Danny Worthing (V) dec. Jeremy Mazzotta, 9-4.
119 – Sean Clair (P) dec. Danny Enciso, 6-3.
125 – Billy Enciso (V) pinned Chad DiBiase, 3:09.
130 – Josh DesLauriers (P) dec. Jon Francart, 7-4.
135 – Will Tedder (P) p. Jeremy Astor, 1:44.
140 – Shawn Shemenski (V) p. Ben Morrow, 1:03.
145 – Anthony Arcuri (V) p. John Werley, :31.
152 – Chris Sproull (V) p. Carl Dietrich, 4:38.
160 – Logan Downes (V) p. Pat Gartland, 1:10.
171 – Steve Chirieleison (P) p. Tom Villella, :47.
189 – Matt Cassidy (P) p. Tucker Joslyn, :47.
275 – Bryan McCarthy (P) p. Joe Tomaszewski, 5:10.
Season Records: P: 6-0, 6-0. V: 4-3, 4-3.
Individual records: P: Matt Cassidy 13-0.
V: Danny Enciso 14-5, Billy Enciso 13-4, Jon Francart 16-6, Anthony Arcuri 17-7, Logan Downes 21-4, Tom Villella 17-7.
Next match: Plum at Allegheny County Tournament, Friday and Saturday; Valley at Woodland Hills, 7 p.m. Wednesday.