West Xtra: Beaver showing lots of grit as it advances in state play
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL/PIAA QUARTERFINALS
June 6, 2013 8:00 AM
Beaver's Matthew Rose dives safely into home as Quaker Valley catcher Ben Utterback takes the throw in the WPIAL Class AA championship at Consol Energy Field.
By Ryan Riordan Tri-State Sports & News Service
When Beaver won the WPIAL Class AA baseball tournament title in 2008, it bowed out in the first round of the PIAA tournament.
Beaver coach Bruce Herstine said that team was more talented than the squad he has this season, but the 2013 Bobcats now have accomplished more.
Beaver, the 2013 WPIAL Class AA champions, crushed Karns City, 10-0, in six innings due to the 10-run mercy rule Monday to advance to the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals, where it will face District 6 runner-up Mount Union at 4 p.m. today at Somerset High School.
"I think the 2008 team was more talented, but this team is more focused and poised," Herstine said. "They don't get rattled at all; they don't show much emotion. It kind of worries me sometimes."
The Bobcats (18-3) have also picked the right time to play their best baseball of the season.
Over the past three games of the WPIAL tournament and the PIAA opener Monday, Beaver has outscored its opponents, 31-2.
"We have seemed to get better as the season has gone along," Herstine said. "With that, we've grown more confident.
"I know for sure this is the best pitching we've gotten all season."
Austin Logan was dominant on the mound Monday, pitching a complete-game shutout while striking out eight. He also helped his own cause with a home run as the Bobcats dominated the District 9 champions at Pullman Park in Butler.
In Logan's previous start, he struck out 17 batters in a 6-0 WPIAL quarterfinal victory against Laurel.
Austin Ross will toe the rubber today after helping the Bobcats' offense with three hits Monday. Ross is a Division I recruit, having committed to Radford University in Virginia. He has given up one earned run combined in his past two starts, which were wins in the WPIAL semifinals and final.
With two hot pitchers, Beaver had the luxury of picking and choosing how to map out its pitching rotation in the state tournament. Logan and Ross approached Herstine prior to the start of the PIAA Class AA tournament with a plan.
"They came to me and Austin Logan said he wanted to pitch the first game, so Austin Ross could pitch the next game, which figures to be against a better opponent.
"Then from there, Logan could pitch the semifinals and Ross the finals if we can get there. And we can always bring Ross back in the semifinals if we have to."
First the Bobcats will have to get by Mount Union, which is located east of Altoona.
Herstine said he wasn't very familiar with the Trojans, but was doing his best to find some information on the Internet.
"After the game, we were all Googling them trying to find out who they were," Herstine said. "It's hard to tell, but I don't think they're anything outstanding. They were 9-5 overall and 5-3 in their district. But we're going to have to play well."
Which is to say, the Bobcats just have to play at the same level they have for the past couple of weeks.