Took in three long WPIAL baseball playoff games Friday at the Burkett Complex in Robinson Township and I came away with some distinct impressions.
1. Trinity can beat Hampton in the quarterfinals.
Pitcher Tyler Schrader was incredibly impressive in relief of Alex Frey against Chartiers Valley. Schrader entered the game with the bases loaded on no outs in the bottom of the third as Trinity nursed a 4-2 lead. Schrader struck out the first two batters then induced a ground ball to get out of the inning without allowing a run. Game over.
Kudos go the Hillers defense for turning two much-needed double plays and making several other big plays.
Also, cathcer Evan Bukowski played with a fever and still went 2-for-4 with two key RBI and a run scored. That's the type of effort which makes playoff runs possible.
2. Rochester lefty J.C. Figueiredo can pitch.
The lanky, 6-4 fireballer was nearly unhittable against a strong Jefferson-Morgan lineup. He struck out 15 in six innings and, if games are spread out enough, Rochester could be a very difficult out in the Class A bracket. Figueiredo not only has the best curveball I've seen from a high schooler this year, he'll throw it on a 3-2 count with runners in scoring position.
Chartiers-Houston is up next for Rochester and the guess here is Figueiredo won't allow just one hit but I also don't expect the Bucs to put up double digits.
3. Union's Markus Allen is a potential prospect.
I had the fortune of sitting beside a Pittsburgh Pirates scout during the Class A first round game between Union and Avella and the scout loves Union centerfielder Markus Allen.
A solidly built left-hander hitter, Allen is aggressive and possesses good bat speed. Every time Allen batted, the scout immediately came to attention.
I asked the scout if he believed any WPIAL players could be drafted and he told me it's possible but not a certainty. He also said the four guys who stand out in the district are Union's Allen, Jordan "Chocolate Truffles" Jankowski, Zak Sinclair of West Allegheny and Seneca Valley's Cory Mazzoni. The scout also said he believes Jankowski is the best hitting prospect in the WPIAL.