Jake Robinson has played the role of Montour’s closer this season.
But on Monday, this closer became a starter, and his sparkling performance now has Montour a step closer from playing for a WPIAL Class 4A title for the third year in a row.
Making his first start of the season, Robinson scattered four hits, didn’t walk a batter and had 10 strikeouts to lead No. 1 Montour to a 2-0 win against No. 9 Hampton in a quarterfinal at West Mifflin.
“He had rattled off five straight saves in some tight games and had really established himself over the last month. He really earned the opportunity,” Montour coach Bob Janeda said of Robinson, a junior right-hander who improved to 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA on the season.
The win moves Montour (19-3) into Tuesday’s semifinals, where the Spartans will meet Latrobe at Boyce Mayview Park. The Spartans were the WPIAL runner-up in 2021 and 2022.
Robinson outdueled Hampton left-hander Ryan Apaliski, a James Madison recruit who allowed only three hits and struck out eight while going the distance.
“His fastball was really working,” Janeda said of Robinson. “He was ahead of 70% of the hitters.”
Montour tallied the game’s only runs in the second and third innings. Maddox Tarquinio scored on an error in the second and Robinson doubled home Zac Stern in the third.
With Robinson pitching Monday, Janeda said Montour will turn to ace Vinnie Markulin to face Latrobe. Markulin is 6-0 with a 1.35 ERA this season.
Other Class 4A
• Latrobe (16-6), the No. 5 seed, scored two runs in the sixth to slip past No. 4 Chartiers Valley (14-7), 4-2, at Gateway. The Wildcats went ahead, 3-2, on Dante Basciano’s run-scoring single and added an insurance run courtesy of a Chartiers Valley error. Riley Smith also had an RBI for Latrobe.
• No. 7 Indiana (15-7) scored two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to rally for a 4-1 win against No. 2 Blackhawk (15-3) at Seneca Valley. Winning pitcher Gavin Homer gave up seven hits (all singles) and also had a pair of RBIs. Steven Budash had two hits for Indiana, while Antonio Borello and Zach Oliver each had two for Blackhawk.
• Hopewell (10-11), the No. 14 seed, continued its surprising run by defeating No. 6 North Catholic (10-11), 6-2, at Seneca Valley. Lucas Arington hit a two-run homer for Hopewell, which upset No. 3 West Mifflin in the first round.
• Nolan Smith’s sacrifice fly in the sixth was the difference for No. 5 and defending champion Mt. Lebanon (11-10) in a 2-1 win against No. 4 Seneca Valley (16-5) at North Allegheny. Winning pitcher David Shields pitched a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts for Mt. Lebanon, which has won eight of its past nine games.
• James Desmond’s two-run single in the top of the seventh vaulted No. 6 Butler (13-8) to a 3-2 win against No. 3 Canon-McMillan (15-6) at North Allegheny. Madden Clement got the win for Butler, giving up two runs and four hits while striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings.
• Winning pitcher J.D. Costanzo gave up only one hit and struck out eight in five innings as No. 2 North Allegheny (15-6) blanked No. 7 Norwin (8-12), 3-0, at Boyce Mayview Park. Andrew Dougherty and Spencer Barnett knocked in runs for the Tigers.
• No. 1 Pine-Richland (15-6) raced to a 9-0 lead before holding on to defeat No. 8 Hempfield (11-10), 14-12, at Plum. For Pine-Richland, Jacob McGuire doubled twice and drove in four runs, while Joey Perry had three hits and three RBIs. Conner Burkey and Dylan Firmstone each had four hits for Hempfield. Burkey had three RBIs.
• Brody Hoffman, Dylan Grabowski, Peyton Bigler and Carmen Metcalfe drove in runs for No. 3 Penn-Trafford (14-5), which defeated No. 6 Peters Township (14-7), 4-2, at West Mifflin. Winning pitcher Nolan Marasti struck out seven and Evan Del Signore earned the save. Jack Lutte and Jack Natili had an RBI apiece for Peters Township.
• Miguel Hugas went 3 for 3 with a home run and three RBIs and also picked up the pitching win to help No. 1 Shaler (17-4) roll to an 11-1 win against No. 8 Fox Chapel (13-9) in six innings at Plum. Hugas improved to 7-0 after giving up just three hits and an unearned run while striking out six.
• Evan Holewinski allowed five hits and fanned nine over seven innings and also hit a two-run home run to lead No. 2 Bethel Park (16-4) to a 6-0 win against No. 10 Upper St. Clair (10-12) at Peterswood Park. Winners of nine in a row, the Black Hawks beat the Panthers by scores of 3-0 and 3-2 in the regular season.
• No. 4 Plum (14-7) scored three runs in the fourth to rally for a 5-4 win against No. 5 South Fayette (16-5) at Gateway. Trailing, 4-2, Plum got a two-run single by Sean Franzi to tie the score and an RBI single by Dom Beyer to go in front. Tyler Pitzer had a two-run single for South Fayette.
• No. 4 East Allegheny (14-5) used a four-run sixth to rally for a 5-4 win against No. 12 Mohawk (13-8) at Shaler. Mohawk led, 4-0, before East Allegheny struck for a run in the fourth and four in the sixth. Joe Connors had a run-scoring single for the Wildcats. Mohawk’s A.J. Verdi homered.
• Avonworth (17-5), the No. 2 seed, used a nine-run sixth to defeat No. 10 Shenango (9-9), 9-2, at Shaler. Avonworth’s Mason Horwat had three hits and three RBIs, while Jacob Osborn and Derek Brooks both knocked in a pair of runs.
• Luke Glies’ squeeze bunt with one out in the sixth scored Andrew Moses with the go-ahead run and No. 6 Neshannock (17-4) was able to hang on for a 2-1 win against No. 3 Yough (16-6) at Highlands. Neshannock’s Cam Foy pitched the final five innings of relief to pick up the win on the mound.
• No. 2 Seton LaSalle (15-4) scored six runs in the sixth to rally from three runs down and defeat No. 10 Riverview (10-8), 6-3, at Gateway. In that sixth, Aiden McKenzie hit a two-run single, Corey Myers had a three-run triple and Nate Georgiana added an RBI single. John Patsey had an RBI double for Riverview, which scored all three of its runs in the fifth.
• Tristan Roach hit a two-run double in the first to propel No. 4 Burgettstown (14-3) to a 6-1 win against No. 5 South Side (15-5) at Boyce Mayview Park. James Leuice, Maddox Gratchen, Eric Kovach and Carson Tkalcevic also knocked in runs for the Blue Devils, while winning pitcher Andrew Bredel struck out 11.
• No. 1 and defending champion Serra Catholic (18-2) advanced to the semifinals for the seventh consecutive season courtesy of an 8-3 win against No. 9 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (13-9) at Norwin. Mike Schanck had three hits and three RBIs, while winning pitcher Zach Karp improved to 10-1 after giving up four hits in the complete-game victory.
• Jake McKee struck out nine on his way to earning the pitching win and also drove in a pair of runs in leading No. 3 New Brighton (15-4) to a 5-2 win against No. 11 Ligonier Valley (12-8) at Fox Chapel. Evin Smith had two hits and scored two runs for New Brighton, which has won 11 games in a row
• Matt Stanley drove in three runs and Mike Gunn added three hits to push No. 1 and two-time defending champion Union (13-4) to a 7-2 win against No. 9 Sewickley Academy (10-8) at Pullman Park. Winning pitcher Rocco Galmarini retired the first 11 batters of the game.
• No. 7 Rochester (10-7) denied No. 2 Eden Christian (12-5) from making a second consecutive trip to the final, as the Rams defeated the Warriors, 9-4, at Boyce Mayview Park. After Eden scored three runs in the first, Rochester scored seven unanswered runs over the next three innings. Cayden Jacobs was the winning pitcher, allowing one unearned run in six innings.
• Kole Olszewski fired a three-hitter with five strikeouts to lead No. 6 Bishop Canevin (13-3) to a 4-1 triumph against No. 3 Leechburg (13-5) at Highlands. Tyler Maddix and Kellen Andruscik had two hits apiece for Canevin, which jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
• Addison Panepinto tossed a three-hitter with four strikeouts to help lead No. 4 California (13-7) to its third win against No. 5 Carmichaels (15-4) this season, 3-0 at Peterswood Park. Kris Weston, Brody Todd and Dom Martini knocked in runs for California, which has won six games in a row.
WPIAL Class 6A
Butler 3, Canon-McMillan 2
Mt. Lebanon 2, Seneca Valley 1
North Allegheny 3, Norwin 0
Pine-Richland 14, Hempfield 12
WPIAL Class 5A
Bethel Park 6, Upper St. Clair 0
Penn-Trafford 4, Peters Township 2
Plum 5, South Fayette 4
Shaler 11, Fox Chapel 1 (6)
WPIAL Class 4A
Hopewell 6, North Catholic 2
Indiana 4, Blackhawk 1
Latrobe 4, Chartiers Valley 2
Montour 2, Hampton 0
WPIAL Class 3A
Avonworth 9, Shenango 2
East Allegheny 5, Mohawk 4
Neshannock 2, Yough 1
Riverside 9, Freeport 1
WPIAL Class 2A
Burgettstown 6, South Side 1
New Brighton 5, Ligonier Valley 2
Serra Catholic 8, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 3
Seton LaSalle 6, Riverview 3
WPIAL Class 1A
Bishop Canevin 4, Leechburg 1
California 3, Carmichaels 0
Rochester 9, Eden Christian 4
Union 7, Sewickley Academy 2
Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.