Dramatic leap helps North Allegheny win thriller in 10 innings

It was somewhere between a head-on collision and a minor fender bender.

But all that mattered for North Allegheny was that Brandon Bergstrom came through the wreck at home plate unscathed -- or at least untouched.

In a play that saw Seneca Valley catcher Brad Gresock get a possible concussion, Bergstrom scored what proved to be the winning run with two outs in the top of the 10th. The run helped propel North Allegheny to a 4-2 victory against Seneca Valley in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinal Friday at Pullman Park in Butler.

With two outs, Bergstrom at first and the score tied, 2-2, North Allegheny's Matt Waugaman hit a double in the left-center field gap. On the relay to home, Gresock came up the third-base line to take the throw. At first, Bergstrom thought about using a hook slide around the sprawled-out catcher.

Instead, Bergstrom leaped over Gresock as he tried to make a tag. Bergstrom's knee and thigh hit Gresock in the head, but Gresock never tagged Bergstrom.

The run put North Allegheny ahead, 3-2, and Jim Divosevic followed with an RBI single to give the Tigers a two-run cushion.

"I knew I couldn't run right over him. I thought I would have to hook slide," said Bergstrom, who had three singles in the game. "When I decided to jump, my thigh hit his head. It was bad luck."

Gresock lay on the ground for a minute or so after the play before being removed from the game.

"The umpire made 100 percent the right call," said Seneca Valley coach Eric Semega.

"Maybe it was an over-aggressive call by me [to send Bergstrom], but I wanted them to make a play and they did," said North Allegheny coach Andy Maddix. "I think the umpire got the call right, but it was an unfortunate play."

For Waugaman, it was his third RBI. He finished with a single, double and triple, just four days after he hit a two-run homer against Hempfield in a PIAA first-round game.

"Actually, he struggled in the WPIAL playoffs, but he has taken off in the state playoffs," Maddix said.

North Allegheny also got an outstanding pitching performance from James Meeker, who relieved starter Mitch Machi in the second. Machi, who came in with a 7-0 record, gave up two runs in 11/3 innings.

Meeker pitched the rest of the way and allowed only four hits.

"He did an unbelievable job," Maddix said.

The Tigers scored once in the third and tied it in the sixth off Connor Coward, who pitched eight innings before being relieved by Jason Martin.

The Raiders had three runners picked off at second base in the game.

"That's just unacceptable and something that ultimately was the demise of us," Semega said.

It was the fourth meeting between the two teams. Seneca Valley won two 3-2 games in the regular season. North Allegheny beat Seneca Valley, 4-2, in the WPIAL final and by the same score Friday.

"We love going to battle with them," Bergstrom said. "It's kind of like the Steelers and Ravens thing."

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For more on high school sports, go to "Varsity Blog" at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh. First Published June 8, 2013 4:00 AM


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