Back-to-back state champs begin playoff run


Chrissy LeJeune

The back-to-back state champion varsity baseball team is more-than-ready for their 2023 playoff run.

It’s Bethel versus Upper Saint Clair.

Cross-town rivals with a lot of history are going head-to-head in the WPIAL 5A quarterfinals Monday at 3:30 p.m. at Peterswood Park.

As the regular season has come to an end, the Hawks finished 15-4 (9-1), which earned them the No. 2 seed in 5A and the Panthers finished 10-11 (3-7) which earned them the No. 10 seed.

Upper Saint Clair upset No. 7-seed North Hills (10-11, 3-7) in round one of the playoffs. They put up a seven spot in the final inning in a come-from-behind victory.

“It’s in the past. We’ve had our success against them before, but we need to be prepared for their best,” said junior pitcher Jack Edner when asked about their previous success against the Panthers in which they won both games in the series.

Pitching is always lights out within the program, but it’s been the Hawk bats that have come alive in the second half of the year. They ended the year on an 8-game win streak, scoring over 50 runs during that streak.

This dominant play has been recognized by players and coaches from surrounding areas. Recently, the all-section teams were announced, and seven Bethel players were selected with honors which include Evan Holewinski (first-team pitching and second-team outfield), Sebastian Schein (second-team pitching), John Chalus (second-team catcher), Coby Goelz (second-team infield), Ray Altmeyer (second-team outfield), Jason Nuttridge (first-team outfield), and Ryan Petras (first-team infield).

The back-to-back state champions look to continue their winning culture against the Panthers. The Hawks will have their ace Evan Holewinski on the mound where he has dominated the entire year. Also, the Hawks are lucky to have sophomore Ryan Walsh in relief returning from an ACL injury earlier in the year.

This game is sure to be entertaining if it’s anything like previous matchups. It’s supposed to be sunny and 77 degrees, a perfect day for playoff baseball.