SHINGLEHOUSE, Pa. – After advancing to the second round of the PIAA playoffs for the first time in school history in 2017, Oswayo Valley looks to take another step forward in 2018 when the Green Wave meet WPIAL champion Vincentian Academy in PIAA Class 1A quarterfinals at 4 p.m. Thursday at Showers Field in DuBois.
(Photo of Gavin Babcock of Oswayo Valley. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)
Vincentian Academy won the PIAA title in 2016 but missed the PIAA postseason last year. The Royals advanced to the quarterfinals with a 10-0, five-inning win over District 9-10 third-place finisher Jamestown in a contest that didn’t require VA to use either of its top two pitchers.
Oswayo Valley rode the left arm of Garren Black to a 2-0 win over Berlin Brothersvalley in Monday’s first-round game, the second PIAA victory in school history. Last season, the Green Wave feel to Greensburg Central Catholic in the second round.
With Black having thrown 102 pitches in the win over Berlin Brothersvalley, Oswayo Valley will need to turn to another pitcher Thursday.
The most likely bets are Jacob Karr or Ryan Graves.
Karr is 4-0 on the year with a save in 19 ⅓ innings of work. He has struck out 27 and walked just two, while Graves is 3-1 with a save in 14 ⅔ innings on the mound. He has struck out 17 and walked seven.
While the Green Wave will be piecing together their pitching, Vincentian Academy has its top two arms available.
Expect senior Stephen Turzai to get the nod.
Turzai is 7-0 on the year with a 1.16 ERA. He has struck out 52 and walked just 12 in 42 ⅓ innings of work.
The Royals have plenty of good arms to back up Turzai if he struggles including Dan Morgano (2-1, 1.50 ERA), Nathan Christian (4-0, 3.32 ERA) and Nate Stover (2-1, 2.69 ERA).
Those pitchers could face a challenge against an Oswayo Valley lineup that is hitting .387 on the year with a 1.003 OPS.
Black is hitting .536 with seven home runs, five doubles and 28 RBIs with Gavin Babcock batting .458 with seven doubles and 27 RBIs, Gage Babcock is hitting .469 with six doubles, four triple, two home runs and 16 RBIs and Ryan Graves is hitting .431 with five doubles, a triple, a home run and 16 RBIs.
Also for the Green Wave, Karr hits .365 with 19 RBIs, Gunner Bean is hitting .340 with 14 RBIs and Camden Graves is hitting .339 with 19 RBIs.
Vincentian Academy is a good hitting team as well coming into the contest with a .384 team average led by senior Kyler Fedko who is hitting .642 with seven home runs, 13 doubles, four triples and 38 RBIs.
Morgano is batting .424 with four doubles, four triples, a home run and 24 RBIs with Aidan Thompson hitting .390 with six doubles, a triple, a home run and 19 RBIs.
Christian (.389, 24 RBIs), Mark Yakim (.382, 22 RBIs) and Jake Stotsky (.377, 20 RBIs) give the Royals six batters all over .375 on the year.
The winner of the game gets the winner of the quarterfinal contest between District 6 champion Homer-Center and WPIAL third-place finisher Greensburg Central Catholic Monday, June 11, at a site and time to be determined.
The other two quarterfinal games feature District 4 champion Sayre vs. District 1 champion Faith Christian and District 3 runner-up High Point vs. District 5 runner-up Southern Fulton.