Seton LaSalle coach Brad Bestic called his team’s game Tuesday against Our Lady of the Sacred Heart one of the wildest he’s ever been a part of.

“I’m going to be 35 in June, but I feel like I’ve been in the game of baseball for decades, and I’ve never been part of something like that,” Bestic said. “I’m still speechless.”

One inning Seton LaSalle fell into a three-run hole and saw its top player — who is also one of the WPIAL’s premier players — ejected.

And the very next inning it used a huge rally to surge back into the WPIAL championship game.

Defending champion and No. 3 seed Seton LaSalle scored six runs in its final at-bat to claim a wild 9-6 win against No. 2 OLSH in a Class 2A semifinal at West Mifflin.

The win sets up a championship rematch between the Rebels and No. 1 Serra Catholic, teams that have squared off quite a few times in big postseason games over the years, including last year’s WPIAL final won by Seton LaSalle, 8-1. The teams will meet in the final May 28 or 29 at Wild Things Park.

To get back to the title game, Seton LaSalle (16-3) got past a red-hot OLSH team (17-5) that had won 12 games in a row and defeated the Rebels twice in the regular season. Seton LaSalle held a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning when things got rocky. OLSH, which had not registered a hit up until that point in the game, touched Seton LaSalle starter Gio LoNero for two runs to tie the score. And an inning later in the sixth, the Chargers charged to a 6-3 lead after scoring three more runs.

LoNero, a senior who led the WPIAL in hitting during the regular season with a .644 average, remained in the game to play shortstop while freshman Josh Burkholder took over as pitcher. But it wasn’t long before LoNero exited for good after being ejected.

“There were some words said in front of an umpire, and they’re really tightening things up in the playoffs,” Bestic said. “It was a super emotional game and I think it was a little bit of frustration because they ended up taking the lead.”

Under PIAA rules, LoNero faces an automatic two-game suspension, meaning he will miss the WPIAL championship and Seton LaSalle’s PIAA first-round game.

At the time, even advancing to the final wasn’t a likely possibility for Seton LaSalle, but that all changed courtesy of a six-run top of the seventh. Mark Weber’s fourth hit of the game went for an RBI double to cut the OLSH lead to 6-4 and Connor Rothaar’s groundout plated a run to make it 6-5. After Roman LoNero walked, Aric White followed with a two-out, bases-loaded infield single to tie the score.

“Massive,” Bestic said. “Aric is another one of those guys who have worked super hard. And speed is an asset of his. I just tell him to put pressure on the defense.”

Two batters later, Nate Baxendell’s two-run single surged the Rebels into the lead and Mike Todd then added an insurance run with an RBI double to make it 9-6.

“Absolutely enormous,” Bestic said of Baxendell’s go-ahead hit. “For him to do that, especially for him having struggled a little bit as of late, it was great.”

Burkholder retired OLSH in order in the bottom of the seventh to pick up his first career win.

Other Class 2A semifinal

• No. 1 Serra Catholic (17-1) advanced to the final for the third consecutive season after defeating No. 4 Burgettstown (12-4-1), 5-1, at West Mifflin. Owen Dumbroski was the winning pitcher, giving up one run and five hits over seven innings. Collin Holmes hit a two-run single to highlight a three-run first and singled and scored in the fourth. Tyler Skaggs also had two hits.

Class 6A semifinals

• David Shields had five RBIs and Sawyer Klasnick collected four hits as No. 1 and two-time defending champion Mt. Lebanon (18-4) rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat No. 5 Seneca Valley (12-9-1), 11-5, at Boyce Mayview Park. Mt. Lebanon broke a 5-5 tie by scoring four runs in the fifth. Freshman Graham Keen pitched 5⅔ scoreless innings to pick up the win in relief.

• Pinch-hitter Michael Hershberger’s two-run single in the top of the eighth snapped a tie and No. 3 North Allegheny (16-6) held on to defeat No. 2 Pine-Richland (17-5), 5-4, at Boyce Mayview Park. Nico Varlotta’s RBI single in the seventh allowed North Allegheny to force extra innings. Andrew Dixon had a sacrifice fly and RBI double for the Tigers, last year’s runner-up.

Class 5A semifinals

• Jason Sabol’s three-run home run and Brayden Stone’s two-run triple headlined a six-run fourth inning for No. 7 Penn-Trafford (19-3), which avenged a pair of regular-season losses to Section 1 rival Franklin Regional by defeating the No. 6 Panthers (14-8), 10-3, at Gateway. Ethan Septak also knocked in two runs for the Warriors, who last reached the final in 2019.

Class 5A quarterfinals

• Winning pitcher Santino Diulus gave up just two hits and No. 4 Bethel Park (14-6-1) used a 15-hit offensive attack to reach the semifinals for the fourth year in a row following an 11-1 six-inning win against No. 12 Trinity (9-9) at Boyce Mayview Park. Ethan Stanhoff and Dylan Paul had three RBIs apiece for Bethel Park, which scored at least one run in every inning.

• Brandon Boyce allowed two hits across 5⅔ scoreless innings and Brock Cornell had three hits and two RBIs to propel No. 1 West Allegheny (17-3) to a 5-0 win against No. 8 Shaler (16-6) at Washington & Jefferson. Logan Lambert also had a pair of RBIs for West Allegheny, which has won seven consecutive games and will play in the semifinals for the third time in four seasons.

Class 4A semifinals

• Blake Primrose’s two-run triple ignited a four-run first for No. 6 North Catholic (16-4), which scored 11 runs in the first three innings and collected 18 hits on its way to a 12-4 win against No. 2 Thomas Jefferson (19-3) at Plum. Ryan Shantz had four hits and a pair of RBIs while Tommy Koroly added a two-run triple for the Trojans, who claimed their seventh straight win.

• Ryan Okopal fired a shutout and Andrew McGee hit a three-run double as part of a six-run first to help No. 9 Indiana (13-9) cruise to an 11-0 five-inning win against No. 4 Montour (14-7) at Plum. McGee had five RBIs in the game for Indiana, which also got a two-run double from Charlie Manzi and a home run from Ben Ryan. Indiana has outscored its three playoff opponents, 20-1.

Class 3A semifinals

• Zach Hare gave up only two hits while striking out 11 in six innings to up his record to 9-0 and lead No. 1 and defending champion Riverside (16-1) back into the final following a 2-0 win against No. 4 South Allegheny (17-5) at North Allegheny. Hare added a pair of hits, while Bo Fornataro had an RBI single in the second and Drake Fox an RBI single in the fifth.

• Jack Dolan’s single with one out in the eighth scored Alex Rowe and gave No. 7 Avonworth (15-8) a 2-1 walk-off win against No. 14 Burrell (13-9) at North Allegheny. Rowe doubled and scored in the sixth for Avonworth, which had fallen behind, 1-0, in the third. Avonworth’s Aidan Tinker had 10 strikeouts over seven innings and Jacob Hanny pitched a perfect eighth to earn the win.

Class 1A semifinals

• Kole Olszewski went 3 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs to vault No. 4 and defending champion Bishop Canevin (14-4) to a 7-1 win against No. 8 Carmichaels (13-5) at Washington & Jefferson. Kellen Andruscik added two RBIs and Dom Varley two hits for the Crusaders, while Tyler Maddix earned the pitching win after allowing one unearned run and three hits while striking out eight in 6⅔ innings.

• Winning pitcher Noah Emswiler gave up five hits and struck out seven in seven innings while leading No. 2 Eden Christian (16-4) to the final for the second time courtesy of an 11-2 win against No. 6 Avella (11-6) at Washington & Jefferson. Emswiler also knocked in a pair of runs for the Warriors, winners of seven of their last eight who finished as the runner-up in 2022.


Class 6A semifinals

Mt. Lebanon 11, Seneca Valley 5

North Allegheny 5, Pine-Richland 4 (8)

Class 5A semifinals

Penn-Trafford 10, Franklin Regional 3

Class 5A quarterfinals

Bethel Park 11, Trinity 1 (6)

West Allegheny 5, Shaler 0

Class 4A semifinals

Indiana 11, Montour 0 (5)

North Catholic 12, Thomas Jefferson 4

Class 3A semifinals

Avonworth 2, Burrell 1 (8)

Riverside 2, South Allegheny 0

Class 2A semifinals

Serra Catholic 5, Burgettstown 1

Seton LaSalle 9, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 6

Class 1A semifinals

Bishop Canevin 7, Carmichaels 1

Eden Christian 11, Avella 2

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

Brad Everett

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