Baseball defeats Penn-Trafford to advance to WPIAL finals


Chrissy LeJeune

Ray Altmeyer celebrates during a game earlier this season.

Bethel Park baseball is on the cusp of their first WPIAL title since 1987. The 5A top-seeded Shaler stands as the last hurdle in the way of that elusive final piece of what has been a remarkable run for the Bethel Park baseball program over the last few years.

Despite their back-to-back PIAA state championships, the Black Hawks have yet to claim that WPIAL crown.

“It’s time to be locked in,” said sophomore pitcher Ryan Walsh, “We’ve been practicing forever and keeping our focus. We know how hard we work and how prepared we are. We want to finish the job.”

On the night of the semi-final, Washington and Jefferson College’s Ross Memorial Park played host to the Hawks and Warriors. Penn-Trafford struck first and Bethel struck back. Tied at 3-3, Penn-Trafford sent a two-run home run into the night sky to put the Warriors up 5-3.

Penn-Trafford’s starting pitcher would hold the Hawks quiet until the fifth inning when a pitching change was made.

In the 2/3 innings that the new Penn-Trafford pitcher threw, the Hawks would rally.

With five hits, including triples from Lucas Lybarger and Ryan Petras, as well as a perfectly played suicide squeeze by Jason Nuttridge, the Hawks left the fifth inning up 8-5 on Penn-Trafford.

Ryan Walsh relieved Evan LeJeuene in the sixth inning. Walsh got three strikeouts in an immaculate nine pitches. Walsh closed out the Warriors in the seventh and the Black Hawks celebrated on the night as they clinched a WPIAL championship game berth.

The Hawks will meet the aforementioned Shaler. Shaler narrowly defeated the Hawks in their regular season meeting. Bethel Park will be entering the final having won ten straight games.

The final will take place at Wild Things Park on Tuesday, May 30 at 7 p.m. For those who can’t make the game in person, it’ll be broadcast on TribLive. Go Hawks!