Seneca Valley did it again.
The No. 16 seed Raiders capped their surprising playoff run by earning a third WPIAL title in four seasons after rallying to defeat No. 2 Baldwin, 5-2, in the Class AAAA championship Thursday at Consol Energy Park.
It had been nearly 100 years since a team had reached the WPIAL final four years in a row. After Seneca Valley (10-11) accomplished that, it became what is believed to be the first team to win a WPIAL title with a losing record. Baldwin (16-3) was playing in the title game for the first time.
Having already beaten the No. 1 and 4 seeds, Seneca Valley knocked off another heavyweight by scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to erase a 2-1 deficit.
Matt Rafferty launched a home run to tie the score. Vince Augustine followed with a triple and Connor Coward’s single plated Augustine for what proved to be the winning run. John Davis and John Harper added RBI singles to chase Baldwin starting pitcher Alex Pantuso.
Seneca Valley pitcher Connor Coward allowed two runs in the first, but shut down Baldwin over the final six innings. Coward, a Virginia Tech recruit, improved to 3-0 in the postseason after pitching just once in the regular season because of a back injury. He allowed six hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out 11 in seven innings.
Both teams qualified for the PIAA playoffs, which are scheduled to begin Monday.