Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Olsh Pitcher Finds Baseball Easy after Dealing with Tragedy

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Olsh Pitcher Finds Baseball Easy after Dealing with Tragedy

Article excerpt

Even with the tying run positioned at third base, Preston Falascino never lost his cool.

Keep in mind it was the bottom of the seventh inning and there were no outs.

That's the situation the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School junior right-hander faced Monday night before he struck out the next three batters and helped guide the Chargers to a 6-5 victory over Coudersport at Berwind Park in Saint Marys, in the first round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.

"It was a big game, but I've been there before," Falascino said. "I've pitched in these types of situations before, so I knew what to expect and knew what I needed to do.

"I stayed calm and knew I had to hit my spots."

With the game tied, 3-3, after three innings, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (18-6) added three runs in the fourth inning and held off the District 9 champion Falcons.

"We're really excited about the win," said Chargers coach Phil McCarren, whose team captured the program's first state playoffs win. "The kids battled. We jumped on them early and were able to maintain our lead.

"Coudersport is a good, fundamental team and they battled back, but we were still able to hold our lead."

Junior pitcher Tim Mulvey started for the Chargers and lasted three innings before Falascino entered the game in relief and struck out eight batters in four innings.

"Preston pitched well," McCarren said. "He was able to get out of some jams and did a very nice job that last inning."

That clutch performance, however, was not out of the ordinary for the Chargers' ace pitcher.

The victory Monday gave Falascino a 9-2 record. He also boosted his strikeout total to 101 and will finish the season as the program's all-time single-season strikeout leader.

"Preston is a tremendous player," McCarren said. "He's started since he was a freshman and continues to get better every year.

"He made a tremendous improvement with his command on the mound this season. He learned to pitch and not just throw. He loves baseball and is very serious about it."

But this season has been anything but easy for Falascino.

Just 13 days after pitching a no-hitter against Avonworth, his mother, Christine Falascino, died on April 10. …

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