Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Royals Seize Crown Again 44pt-2 44pt-2 Vincentian Proves It Can Go the Distance

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Royals Seize Crown Again 44pt-2 44pt-2 Vincentian Proves It Can Go the Distance

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Vincentian had won three consecutive PIAA playoff games in five innings, courtesy of the 10-run mercy rule.

But Friday, for the first time in the state playoffs, the Royals had to play a close, seven-inning game.

No matter, though. They emerged PIAA baseball champions for the second time in the past three years. Vincentian beat Southern Fulton, 5-3, at Penn State's Medlar Field at Lubrano Park to claim the Class 1A crown.

"I'd say there's more emotion at the end," said senior shortstop Kyler Fedko, who hit an RBI triple and made several key grabs on defense. "Backs against the wall, it probably feels better to get the win. But a win's a win. Those dominating games still felt good, but I'd rather win a close one."

The path to the state championship began May 2017, Fedko said, when Greensburg Central Catholic eliminated a stacked Vincentian team, the defending state champs at the time, from the WPIAL playoffs in the first round, 1-0.

"It all started in that Greensburg Central loss," Fedko said. "It lit the fire."

It felt pretty good, Vincentian players agreed, to rout Greensburg Central Catholic, 11-0, in the PIAA semifinals this season on the way to another state title.

Against Southern Fulton, the District 5 champion, Vincentian established a comfortable lead before running into some trouble in the final inning.

With one out in the seventh and a four-run advantage, senior Aidan Thomson relieved Vincentian starter Stephen Turzai. Thomson gave up an RBI triple and an RBI single before striking out Gabriel Stotler and retiring Colton Souders on a fly to left field.

"We're a battle-tested group," first-year Vincentian coach Bradley Bestic said of Southern Fulton gaining ground. "We were here two years ago. I think they just dug deep and [knew] that getting to a state championship, you can't let your guard down one second. …

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