A large crowd was on hand to see Blackhawk pitcher Brendan McKay try to extend his historic scoreless streak. Even the assistant general manager of the San Diego Padres was in attendance to scout McKay.
But thanks to Blackhawk's hitting, all anyone got to see was a condensed version of the McKay Show. It was sort of an episode cut short, but with the same ending.
Blackhawk hit four home runs at North Allegheny's field, and McKay inched closer to the national record for consecutive scoreless innings as the Cougars clobbered West Mifflin, 15-0, in a WPIAL Class AAA semifinal Thursday night that lasted only four innings because of the 15-run rule. In high school baseball, a game is stopped when a team leads by 15 runs or more after three innings.
McKay pitched a four-inning no-hitter and struck out seven in front of Padres assistant general manager Chad MacDonald. That stretched McKay's scoreless-innings streak to 69, dating to last season. It is the third-longest streak in U.S. high school baseball history. The No. 2 streak is 721/3 innings and No. 1 is 80. McKay will pitch again in the WPIAL title game Wednesday.
The win lifted McKay's record this season to 7-0, his career mark to 29-1. He also had four hits, including a solo home run, a three-run double and a run-scoring single.
As a pitcher, he has allowed only 10 hits in 45 innings this season and struck out 101.
West Mifflin's only baserunner came on an error. And get this: McKay wasn't exactly sharp.
"I just didn't think he had his normal pop on his fastball," said Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia.
McKay said: "I don't think I did, either. This is the first time I've come back on four days' rest, and you just try to throw the best you can. The way it worked out, I didn't have to throw long or as well as I needed."
Blackhawk (14-2) scored 15 runs two games after scoring 17 in the first round of the playoffs against Uniontown. West Mifflin (14-5) was trying to reach the WPIAL title game for the first time, but Blackhawk battered five pitchers. Dante Parente hit a grand slam, Cody Bain a three-run homer and Chase Migliore a solo shot.
"We've really brought some energy to the playoffs," said Bain. "We know McKay is going to probably throw a fantastic game, so we know if we throw up just a few runs on the board, we'll have a good chance to win."
Amalia said: "Watch, I say this, and we'll probably get no-hit in the finals. But this is the sixth time since 2002 that we will play in a [WPIAL] championship, and this is probably our best hitting team. We're pretty solid one through nine."
West Mifflin had allowed only three runs in each of its first two playoff games.
"I'm not disappointed in the kids one bit. I'm just disappointed in the day," said West Mifflin coach Jeff Smith.
"Maybe McKay wasn't at his best, but he didn't need to be, and he still was very good. The game was over early, and he was just cruising. ... It was to the point that our only goal to shoot for was that streak. Maybe try and make a headline by breaking up that streak."
For more on high school sports, go to "Varsity Blog" at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh, First Published May 22, 2014 9:00 PM