Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Baseball: Upper St. Clair Prowling: Panthers Are in Thick of Section Race

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Baseball: Upper St. Clair Prowling: Panthers Are in Thick of Section Race

Article excerpt

Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning against Mt. Lebanon Friday, Upper St. Clair trailed the Blue Devils, 5-3.

With the title race in Class AAAA Section 3 looking destined to come down to the wire, the Panthers knew a win against a fellow contender could be the difference between first and fourth place.

If the result is any indication, Upper St. Clair will be in this race to the finish.

The Panthers scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to earn a big win against a Mt. Lebanon team that also has designs on winning the section crown this season.

Coach Jerry Malarkey's squad didn't win the game on a three-run home run, but rather a series of timely placed hits, just as the Panthers (11-2, 6-1 before a game Wednesday at Baldwin) have all season.

Troy Schoeppner led off the inning with a bloop single and, Shane McMurty drew a walk and Mt. Lebanon failed to get an out on Mike Wilcox's sacrifice bunt attempt. Jack Elliot drove in a run on a ground out, Alex Bell knocked an RBI single and Zack Tobias hit a chopper to third that scored Wilcox for the winning run.

"I think we have to approach every game the way we approached the last inning of the Mt. Lebanon game last week," Malarkey said. "No one has to get up and hit a home run, just get up and do your job at that moment."

Malarkey also pointed to the Panthers' 12-0 win against McKeesport on April 11 as an example of everybody doing his part. He said of the six pinch-hitters he used in that game, five of them got hits.

"I think you always have an expectation from your guys who are sort of the offensive leaders," Malarkey said. "But they're also going to have off days and you need someone else to pick it up, and that's what we've been getting."

Of course, Upper St. Clair wouldn't be sitting atop the section if it wasn't getting contributions from those offensive leaders as well. Through last week's games, first baseman Elliot was hitting .500 with five home runs and 27 RBIs. …

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