May 24—The Big Three in Section 3-5A baseball is down to the Big One through two rounds of the WPIAL playoffs.
First, South Fayette was stunned by Peters Township in the opening round, then Shaler lost a heartbreaker to Bethel Park in the quarterfinals.
West Allegheny remains standing, thanks in part to the play last week of senior Adam Crawford.
The Cal (Pa.) recruit started his postseason play with a bang, racking up four hits in a 14-1 rout of Hampton.
“He has been doing it all year long,” West Allegheny coach Bryan Cornell said. “He is an aggressive player and always seems to be in hitters’ counts. He has great speed and is very knowledgeable.”
Every playoff victory is precious, so it was nice for West A to take control early with an eight-run inning against the Talbots.
“Absolutely, that has been the trend all year long, good and bad,” Cornell said. “Sometimes after we have a good inning, we seem to put it in cruise control and we know in order to win a championship, we have to be able to be consistent throughout the game.”
Crawford continued his consistency in a quarterfinals victory over Penn-Trafford.
“Adam led the game off with a single and was able to score,” Cornell said. “Anytime he gets on, we know we are capable of scoring runs. We have three big hitters behind him that are at their best when he is on base.”
Crawford also has shined on defense. He was a force in center field this past week and the entire season.
“Adam has been tremendous in the outfield this year,” Cornell said. “He is able to cover from gap to gap and gets a great jump on the ball. He has made many diving catches that we never thought he would be able to get to.”
Crawford and his Indians teammates will need to be at the top of their game Monday when they face No. 2 seed Bethel Park in the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals.
“Bethel Park is a very strong program,” Cornell said. “They are well coached and they have kids that are scrappy and want to win for each other. We scrimmaged them at the beginning of the year, and you could tell that they would be a team that we would see in the playoffs.”
2021 Trib HSSN Baseball Players of the Week:
Week 7 — Steven Budash, Indiana
Week 6 — Spencer Barnett, North Allegheny
Week 5 — Louie Kegerreis, Franklin Regional
Week 4 — Drew Lafferty and Austin Lafferty, South Park
Week 3 — Payton Conti, California
Week 2 — Jake Slazinski, Keystone Oaks
Week 1 — Jake Walker, West Mifflin