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Big inning not enough

SV baseball falls to Mt. Lebo in WPIAL semifinal

UPPER ST. CLAIR — Seneca Valley’s first trip to the WPIAL baseball championship game in 10 years had to seem tantalizingly close for the Raiders after taking an early 5-run lead on Mt. Lebanon.

After a big second inning, however, the Raiders hit a wall.

Relief pitcher Graham Keen held SV scoreless on just two hits over the final five innings as the top-seeded Blue Devils earned an 11-5 win in a Class 6A semifinal Tuesday at Boyce Mayview Park.

“I think the pressure got to us a bit today,” said SV coach Eric Semega. “Even though the final score was 11-5, we were in this game. But when the wheels come off, they really come off, especially against a team that can hit the ball as well as Mt. Lebanon.”

The two-time defending WPIAL champion Blue Devils wasted no time responding to SV’s early edge, plating four runs in the bottom of the second against Nick Parrotto. David Shields’ two-run triple was the biggest hit in the inning and Mt. Lebanon later scored an unearned run thanks to a throwing error.

“We needed to keep the energy up,” said Keen of facing the early deficit. “We kept fighting and played for each other.

“When we had that big inning to get back in the game, it just gave me more confidence.”

Leadoff hitter Sawyer Klasnick, who finished the game with four hits, singled in the tying run in the third frame. There was no indication Mt. Lebanon was in for a 4-run fifth, not after Parrotto set the Blue Devils down in order via strikeout in the fourth. But with one out in the next frame, Maddox Yost’s double was followed by two errors. Base hits from Shields and Nolan Smith pushed the lead to 9-5.

Parrotto did not survive the inning as Aedan Fowler took the mound with two outs and pitched the duration of the game.

“(The loss) wasn’t about pitching for us,” said Semega. “It was poor decisions in the field, throwing the ball around. We played defense a lot better during the season than we did today.”

Keen earned the win with six strikeouts and three walks in 5.2 innings of work.

The Raiders had chased Blue Devils starter Nolan Smith from the game in the top of the second.

Back-to-back singles from Kallen Durbin and Parrotto to start the inning were followed by Owen Malak getting hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Aedan Fowler grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Durbin being forced out at home. But when catcher Maddox Yost tried to compete a 5-2-3 double play, the ball hit Fowler and two runs scored for the initial lead.

Ryan Rebholz singled home Fowler and, two batters later, Smith was relieved by Keen, who surrendered a two-run single to Luke Anderton. That sequence closed the book on Smith.

The Raiders (12-9-1) nearly broke the 5-5 tie in the top of the fourth. Creed Erdos doubled with one on, but courtesy runner Quinn Carney was thrown out at the plate.

Shields drove in five runs for Mt. Lebanon (18-4).

Seneca Valley 050 000 0 — 5 6 3

Mt. Lebanon 041 042 x — 11 13 1

W: Graham Keen 5.2 IP (6K, 3BB). L: Nick Parrotto 4.2 IP (7K, 3BB).

Seneca Valley (12-9-1): Creed Erdos 2B, Luke Anderton 1B 2RBI, Owen Malak 1B R, Ryan Rebholz 1B R RBI

Mt. Lebanon (18-4): Sawyer Klasnick 4-1B 2R 2RBI, David Shields 2-1B 3B 2R 5RBI, Nolan Smith 1B RBI, Maddox Yost 1B 2B, Nate Girod 1B 3R

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