SHANKSVILLE - Jordan Deasey was about the only Bison hitter having any success against hard-throwing Waynesburg Central right-hander Joey Monica, so he decided to share some advice with his Bedford Area High School baseball teammates.
"He had a decent curveball. I just told them to look for that first-pitch fastball and jump all over that.'' Deasey said. "You've got to make adjustments.''
The Bisons did, and it worked.
Deasey and Marcus Shippey belted RBI doubles to highlight a three-run fifth inning as Bedford, the District 5 Class AA champion, came back to oust WPIAL runner-up Waynesburg Central, 3-2, in first-round PIAA action Monday at scenic Shanksville-Stonycreek High School.
The victory pushed Bedford over the .500 mark at 9-8 with its third straight playoff win. The Bisons will play defending PIAA runner-up Central on Thursday in an all-area state quarterfinal.
"We told the kids that, once you get into the playoffs, it's a whole new season. You forget about what you did beforehand and just move forward,'' Bisons coach Scott Waugerman said.
Bedford trailed, 2-0, entering the bottom of the fifth. Monica only had faced three batters more than the minimum while striking out five in a pitcher's duel with Bison righty Ryan Robinette, who had just given way to Shippey in the top half of the inning.
The bottom three in the Bison lineup were 0-for-3 at that point, but No. 7 hitter Zach Kendall started things off by blooping a hit into shallow left. One out later, Justin Himler lined a single to center, putting runners at first and third with the top of the order coming up.
Already 2-for-2, Deasey grounded one over third base to score pinch runner Steve Simons. Robinette followed with a grounder into center field that brought home Himler and knotted the game at 2-2.
"I love hitting with guys on,'' Deasey said with a huge grin. "We know we've got good bats. We kind of felt bad. [Robinette] was pitching a gem, and we couldn't get him any runs. We had to change that.''
That set the table for Shippey, the biggest Bedford bat, to launch a shot that bounced off the fence in dead center, easily plating Deasey with the go-ahead run and chasing Monica.
"We just had to put the ball in play. A lot of kids were striking out or hitting groundballs. We just had to put some hits together at the right time,'' Shippey said. "He was coming fastball with the first pitch every time, so I kind of figured that's what he'd throw. I saw it coming right down the middle and hit it out.''
Shippey also took the lead, too, and knew what to do with it. After coming on for Robinette - who only allowed four hits and struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings - Shippey got out of a first-and-third, one-out jam with WPIAL Class AA player of the year Steven McCaw at the plate. He retired all eight Waynesburg hitters he faced, striking out four of the last six.
"We knew it was going to be nip-and-tuck. We sure didn't want to give up any more runs,'' Waugerman said. "That was big. Marcus has been our relief guy all year. That was why we made the change. Ryan did a good job keeping them off-stride until that point.''
The Raiders came into the game with a gaudy 18-2 record, losing only in the season-opener and by one run to Riverside in the District 7 championship game.
"I didn't know anything them coming in. I knew they had to be a good ball club to make the state playoffs,'' Waynesburg coach Steve Coss said. "We didn't hit the ball well. Our thing all year long was, when you get guys in scoring position, you've got to score. And we did it, until the last couple of games.''
Three of the five runners Waynesburg left stranded were in scoring position, two with fewer than two out.
The victory guaranteed Bedford, which entered the 5-AA playoffs as the third seed out of four teams, at least a .500 season. The Bisons have been in this boat before: Last year, they entered the football playoffs with a losing record and had to reach the state semifinals just to go 7-7.
"Most of our football players play baseball, and they know what it's like and how we can win if we get a chance and can put things together,'' said Shippey, a quarterback/linebacker in football.
"It feels great,''Deasey said. "I don't care so much about the record. I just want to keep it going here in the playoffs, keep the momentum going. We're not done yet.''
Game notes: Bedford's Sean Leister had two hits. First base umpire Bruce Holsopple needed a couple of minutes to compose himself after being hit squarely by an errant pickoff throw by McCaw, the Raider catcher, in the fourth inning.
WAYNESBURG CENTRAL (2): Kelsey 2b 301, Monica p-ss 300, McCaw c 311, Lohr 3b-1b 200, Swauger cf-p 301, D. Coss lf-cf 300, Ziefel ss-3b 311, Lippencott lf 200, Ammer 1b-lf 200, Johnson ph 100. Totals - 25-2-4.
BEDFORD (3): J. Deasey ss 313, R. Robinette p-1b 301, Shippey 1b-p 301, Gibbons 3b 300, Black c 300, Leister cf 302, A. Robinette rf 000, Kendall dh 301, Simons pr 010, Henry 2b 300, Himle lf 311. Totals - 27-3-9.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Waynesburg001 100 0-2 4 2
Bedford000 030 X-3 9 1
E-Swauger, Ziefel, Deasey. DP-Waynesburg Central. LOB-Waynesburg Central 5, Bedford 6. 2B-Deasey, Shippey. RBI-Kelsey, D. Coss, Deasey, R. Robinette, Shippey. SAC-Lippencott.
Waynesburg Central: Monica (L)-4 1/3 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO; Swauger-1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO.
Bedford-R. Robinette-4 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO; Shippey (W)-2 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO.
Records: Waynesburg Central (18-3); Bedford (9-8).