Seneca Valley falls, 9-4, in PIAA playoffs

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For the first time in the postseason, Matt Smith didn't pitch for Seneca Valley. And for the first time in the postseason, the Raiders lost.

Altoona banged 12 hits off three Seneca Valley pitchers and knocked off the Raiders, 9-4, in a PIAA Class AAAA first-round game Monday at Pullman Park in Butler.

Seneca Valley (18-5) won three games in the WPIAL playoffs to win the title, and Smith, who is 10-1, pitched every contest. But against Altoona, Seneca Valley started Zach Detillio, who lasted only 11/3 innings. Zach Spangler then pitched 41/3 and Jason Martin 11/3.

Altoona (16-5) scored five runs in the second inning, but Seneca Valley scored three in the bottom of the second. Altoona led, 6-4, before scoring three in the sixth to break the game open.

Christian Helsel, a University of Mississippi recruit, pitched all seven innings for Altoona and scattered nine hits. He also had three hits, including two doubles. Anthony Lombardo and Shea Slayer had two hits apiece.

Austin Bream had three hits for Seneca Valley.

More Class AAAA

• Mt. Lebanon 7, McDowell 4: Mt. Lebanon (15-9) broke open a close game by scoring twice in the fourth and three times in the fifth -- on only one hit -- to win a first-round game against McDowell (19-4). Chris Girvin's sacrifice fly tied the score, 3-3, in the fifth. Mt. Lebanon went ahead on a wild pitch. In the sixth, Mt. Lebanon scored three runs on two wild pitches. Zach Bahm pitched 62/3 innings for Mt. Lebanon before Ian Happ got the final out of the game.

Class AAA

• Thomas Jefferson 4, Warren 2: Greg Schneider has nine pitching wins this season, but in this first-round game at Slippery Rock, Schneider helped Thomas Jefferson win with a big hit. A three-run triple by Schneider in the third inning gave Thomas Jefferson (17-5) a 3-0 lead and the Jaguars held off a late Warren rally. Joe Shaffer pitched five shutout innings for Thomas Jefferson before Schneider pitched the final two. Warren made things interesting in the seventh. Andrew Bevevino led off with a triple and Schneider walked the next batter. After a strikeout and flyout, Thomas Jefferson committed an error on a ground ball, allowing two runs to score. Schneider then got a groundout to end the game.

• Belle Vernon 11, Punxsutawney 7: Dom Francia had three hits, including two doubles, and also pitched the first 41/3 innings to help Belle Vernon (19-5) win at St. Marys. Chaz Balsano and Colin Berkley had three hits apiece for Belle Vernon.

Class AA

• North Star 2, Ellwood City 0: The WPIAL champion Wolverines (21-3) averaged 12 runs in the WPIAL playoffs, but managed only two hits off North Star's Brantley Rice in this first-round game at Pullman Park in Butler. Ellwood City pitcher Christian Kerns had a perfect game until the sixth inning, and North Star scored runs in the seventh on a sacrifice fly and an error.

• Riverside 6, Brookville 3: Rob Hardy pitched a two-hitter and hit a two-run homer to lead the Panthers (19-6) to the win at Brockway. Hardy struck out seven. Corey Belonzi and Anthony Meneice both had two hits for Riverside.

• South Fayette 5, Mount Union 4: South Fayette (16-7) scored three times in the top of the seventh to pull out the win in Altoona.

• Saegertown 4, Shady Side Academy 1: All of the scoring came in the first inning. Saegertown's first run scored on an error. Luke Carter then drove home a run with a single and Kyle Wise followed with a two-run single. Shady Side Academy finished with a 17-4 record.

Class A

• Neshannock 2, Bishop Guilfoyle 0: Neshannock (22-2) scored both runs in the first inning and that was all pitcher Alex Strittmatter needed to win at Pullman Park. Strittmatter pitched a three-hitter and struck out seven.

• Bishop McCort 7, California 1: With the loss at Homer City, California ended the season with a 19-2 record.



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