East Xtra: After falling behind early, Allderdice Dragons breathe fire, win City title
Allderdice catcher Brennan Hoffer tags out Brashear's Adam Lynch as Lynch tried to steal home in the first inning of the City League Baseball championship last Thursday at PNC Park.
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Allderdice baseball coach Jon Parker calls his hairstyle a "no-walk Mohawk."
Parker said he got the new look this season to help focus his pitchers on throwing strikes, something the Dragons have struggled with this season.
"I've never had a hairstyle in my whole life," Parker said. "We've just been drilling into them, 'Don't walk anybody, don't walk anybody, attack the strike zone.'
"I'm not a gimmick person. I'm usually pretty steady and stable, but we've really had some pitching challenges."
Last week, Parker and his Mohawk guided Allderdice to a 4-2 win against Brashear for the school's fifth consecutive City League championship.
Kevin Silvio pitched all seven innings for the Dragons, allowing just one earned run and striking out seven. He walked four, but spaced out the free passes enough to avoid any real damage.
Silvio's performance was a big improvement from the last time Allderdice faced the Bulls. The Dragons issued 13 walks in a 7-6 loss to Brashear May 7.
"On a team that doesn't have real depth in pitching, [Silvio] has been what we needed him to be," Parker said.
The senior's resiliency was perhaps the most impressive part of his outing in the title game at PNC Park. A costly throwing error by Silvio gifted the Bulls their second run in the fifth inning, and, at that point, it would have been very easy to let things spiral out of control as Brashear led, 2-0.
Instead, Silvio buckled down and got out of the inning and let the Dragons offense do the rest.
"Some people were losing their heads. I was actually one of them for a second there," Silvio said.
"My friend, [second baseman] Anthony Maggio, he kept me in that game. A lot of us were down and he's the one person I can say who never gave up. He was in it from the beginning and never lost it for a second."
Silvio admitted that he wasn't at his best, and said he had been battling a sinus infection in the days leading up to the championship game. But, true to his coach's hairstyle, he kept the ball in the zone and let his fielders do the rest.
"My curveball wasn't working that well, but everything else was doing pretty well," he said. "I just managed to stay in the zone, get some strikes, get some outs."
While the pitching came through in a tight spot, the Dragons had to scratch and claw a little more on offense than they are used to.
For a team that scored in double-digits 14 times this season, it looked like Allderdice was on its way to getting shut out by Brashear pitcher Regis Sauer. The Dragons finally broke through with four runs in the seventh inning. Parker admitted after the game that he didn't totally see the last-inning rally coming.
"I wish I did," he said. "History says I should have. We've been a team that doesn't ever give up. We've won and come back in five or six games in that fashion."
Parker said his approach was to try and work long at-bats against Sauer to get into Brashear's bullpen. It didn't quite work out that way, but the Dragons did seem to wear Sauer down and eventually scrape together some runs.
"They weren't gap shots," Parker said of Allderdice's offense. "They weren't what we're accustomed to, which is hit, start running and don't stop. They were little bloop singles."
The Dragons' victory marked the final City League baseball championship, as the league's teams will join the WPIAL next season. Brashear coach Nate Geller admitted that the teams probably won't challenge for titles right away, but he expected them to hold their own against the increased competition.
If this year's results are any indication, Geller is probably right. Allderdice beat South Park, a WPIAL playoff team, as well as annual contenders Peters Township and Seton-LaSalle.
Brashear beat Gateway, another WPIAL playoff team that lost a 2-1 nail-biter to eventual semifinalist North Allegheny in the first round.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
First Published May 31, 2012 12:00 am