Riverside coach Dan Oliastro said he has a good idea of where he would rank the latest of his 696 career wins.

“I don’t know how you can compare it to any of the others,” said Oliastro, who is 79 years old and in his 55th season.

Not only had the winningest coach in WPIAL history never experienced a win quite like it, but no WPIAL team ever had.

Riverside made history Thursday, becoming the first WPIAL team to win a PIAA championship with an unbeaten record after defeating Camp Hill, 4-0, in the Class 3A final at Penn State’s Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Up until this season, no WPIAL team had ever even reached the PIAA semifinals with a perfect record. But at 25-0, Coach ‘O’ and his team ended the season with 0 in the loss column. After winning a sixth WPIAL championship two weeks earlier, Riverside claimed a fifth PIAA title, two more than any other WPIAL team. The Panthers won their previous titles in 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2012.

Riverside’s Daren McDade celebrates with Evan Burry after Burry scored against Camp Hill in the PIAA Class 3A baseball championship game on Thursday at Penn State’s Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Riverside won, 4-0. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

“It’s unreal,” Riverside pitcher Christian Lucarelli said. “We deserved it. We’ve just worked so unbelievably hard and played every game like it’s our last.”

Lucarelli and the Garvin brothers, Hunter and Mitch, were the stars for Riverside against Camp Hill (21-4-1), the District 3 champion. Lucarelli, a sophomore right-hander, gave up only two hits before being relieved with two outs in the seventh after throwing his 111th pitch. Lucarelli struck out nine and walked five. Sophomore Hunter Garvin drove in a pair of runs with RBI singles and senior Mitch Garvin added a two-run double. Hunter relieved Lucarelli and needed only two pitches to record the final out of the game.

In a game that saw the teams combine for six hits, it was a pitcher’s duel between Lucarelli, a Duke recruit, and Camp Hill’s Luke Parise, a senior right-hander and St. Joseph’s signee. Lucarelli entered the game with a 6-0 record and Parise was 9-0. Parise went six innings, surrendering four runs, four hits and two walks to go along with 11 strikeouts.

Lucarelli worked through some nerves and out of some trouble in the top of the first. After Camp Hill loaded the bases with one out, Lucarelli got Luke Decker to foul out to third and Kobe Moore to hit into a forceout. Lucarelli, who said his fastball and slider were both working well, then settled in, giving up only four more baserunners the remainder of the game. Three came on walks (one intentional) and the other on a double with one out in the fourth.

“He was really good,” Oliastro said of Lucarelli. “He’s really come into his own this season.”

Parise was lights out from the start, as he set down Riverside in order each of the first three innings. But with two outs in the fourth, the Riverside offense awakened. After reaching base on a fielder’s choice, Bo Fornataro stole second and scored when Hunter Garvin sharply hit a 3-2 pitch into right field to put the Panthers ahead, 1-0.

“It was huge,” Lucarelli said. “That got us started and gave us the lead. It was probably the climax of the game. That was the turning point. We were locked in after that.”

Riverside’s Christian Lucarelli allowed just two hits before being relieved in the seventh inning to lead the Panthers to a 4-0 victory against Camp Hill in the PIAA Class 3A championship game Thursday at Penn State’s Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

With the way Lucarelli was pitching, it looked like the one run would be enough. But Riverside didn’t want to leave anything to chance, so the Panthers added to the lead by scoring three runs in the sixth. Hunter Garvin came through again with a run-scoring single, this time knocking in Evan Burry, who had a one-out single. Brother Mitch then got into the RBI act, as he quickly followed with a two-run double that knocked in pinch-runner Shawn Krisophel and Hunter Garvin. Mitch also hit a two-run double in the sixth inning of Riverside’s win against Neshannock in the WPIAL championship. It was another special moment for the Garvins, whose father, Mike, was a starter on Oliastro’s first WPIAL championship team in 1986.

After the game, the Riverside team made a stop at Jersey Mike’s, a dinner that had to be especially good after the Panthers became the first District 7 team to finish as undefeated Pennsylvania state champs.

“It’s amazing,” Oliastro said. “I’m a little overwhelmed right now. To think that’s never happened, it’s hard to believe.”

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at beverett@unionprogress.com.

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at beverett@unionprogress.com.