Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

As Usual, Mustangs Driving for Playoff Bid

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

As Usual, Mustangs Driving for Playoff Bid

Article excerpt

In Class AAAA Section 3, the color purple stands for control -- as in the purple worn by Plum and Baldwin.

Those two teams control their own destiny in the scramble for a WPIAL playoff berth.

Plum (11-4, 5-2 through Tuesday) is also looking to knock Baldwin (9-1, 6-1) from the top spot in the section standings, but the Mustangs know they are going to need help to do that, having lost to the Highlanders twice already.

"Alex Pantuso pitched well and baffled us both games," Plum coach Carl Vollmer said of Baldwin's ace. "Baseball is like that. Anything can happen and starting pitching is critical."

Most professionals would easily pick Plum to be the section favorite year in and year out, but those familiar with the section knew Baldwin would be a force to be reckoned with this year.

"I think within the section everybody knew they had a lot coming back," said Vollmer, who is in his 10th season as the Mustangs coach. "If you pay close attention to it, then you had an idea that they would be a tough opponent. They built some momentum early in the year. They are playing better now than they were in the beginning of the year."

The same could be said for the Mustangs. Plum has won eight of its past nine games -- the only loss coming against Baldwin -- putting itself in position to contend for the section title. One of the top reasons for the Mustangs' recent spurt was the emergence of their pitching.

"I think we found ourselves pitching-wise," Vollmer said. "We had a lot of guys contribute and step up. We have been able to keep ourselves in games because of that. At the same time we hit in spurts offensively.

"We haven't reached our full potential. I think offensively our potential is pretty high. We are constantly striving to get better so we haven't looked at what we accomplished to this point. Our margin for error is not great. We have to be focused and ready to go on a daily basis."

The Mustangs were a game behind Baldwin in the section standings through Tuesday and have plenty of arms to get them through the final week of the season. …

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