Mt. Pleasant holds off Shady Side Academy to reach WPIAL semifinals
Almost was the word of the day at Hempfield for Monday afternoon’s WPIAL Class 3A baseball quarterfinal.
A few cars and spectators almost were hit by foul balls.
A photographer almost lost a camera.
And Shady Side Academy almost came back against Mt. Pleasant.
None of it happened, and Mt. Pleasant can thank the equity it built across the first five innings for the third part. The No. 3 seeded Vikings held on for a 10-6 win against the No. 11 Indians to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2010.
“We had two weeks off (with a bye) so we had to try and keep the boys loose,” Vikings coach Chris Firmstone said. “They stayed focused at practice. They are just a great bunch of kids.”
Mt. Pleasant (12-5) will take on No. 7 Ellwood City (13-9) on Wednesday for the right to go to the WPIAL finals.
Jason Beranek pitched a complete game in Monday’s drawn-out win, which the Vikings appeared to have in control with a 10-1 lead.
“But we always seem to have that one bad inning,” Beranek said. “But we know if we can overcome it, we can with the game.”
Beranek allowed eight hits and struck out four. It looked like he might be pulled for a reliever a few times, but the coaches stayed with their ace.
“He is our workhorse,” Firmstone said. “He was on point today. We have total confidence in him that he can get the job done.”
Said Beranek: “I usually don’t do this, but I think I would have said, ‘Don’t take me out.’ ”
Shady Side (7-11), which upset No. 6 Avonworth to reach the quarterfinals, led 1-0 when the Vikings put three runs up in the third, and five more in the fourth.
Leadoff hitter George Tetteris, who went 3 for 4 with a triple and two RBIs, tied it 1-1 with a bloop single that dropped between three defenders.
An error and wild pitch allowed the Vikings to take a 3-1 lead.
After Tetteris helped turned a double play in the fourth, singles by Beranek and Brady Duricko, and a bases-loaded fielder’s choice by Brandon McCormick, stretched the advantage to 8-1.
A run-scoring single from Joe Shrum and Tetteris’ RBI triple made it 10-1.
In the sixth, an error helped Shady Side score twice, and a scratchy seventh prolonged the finish as an error and wild pitch helped the Indians get to within 10-5 before Billy Frohlich hit his second straight double to get Shady Side within four.
“We know our lineup can produce, and everyone can contribute 1 through 9,” Firmstone said. “It’s nice to know we have that leadership from our three seniors (Beranek, Duricko and McCormick). They have done a phenomenal job leading our younger guys.”
Hunter Piper doubled and scored for the Vikings. Ben Kosbie added two hits for the Indians.