Tensions ran high Monday at McDowell Field in Canonsburg when the best rivalry in WPIAL baseball was on display. Canon-McMillan and Peters Township played a back-and-forth game for nine innings that ended with the Indians coming out as the winners.
There was a collision at home plate, words were exchanged, two close plays at home plate that ended with the Big Macs missing out on two runs and the level of talent is a reminder that the Section 5-AAAA rivalry is one of the best.
Both teams have lineups that are a headache for opposing teams to match up against and with Peters Township now sitting atop the standings, it was two of the classification’s best playing each other.
Peters Township’s batting order has three left-handed hitters who can hit the ball to the opposite field and possess big time power. Right fielder Mitch Bianco is the most notable and he made an impact against Canon-McMIllan. Bianco reached base three times, including a double and a run scored.
Designated hitter Tim Swoope has been on fire the past two weeks with power to the gaps and it was much of the same against the Big Macs when he went 2-for-4 with three runs scored, two doubles and a run batted in.
Phil Mary is the Indians’ No.9 hitter and that should say a lot about the strength of Peters Township’s lineup. Mary hit .417 last year as a sophomore. Defensively, the Indians are one of the WPIAL’s best with an incredible middle infield. Second baseman Phil Pisarcik and shortstop Ryan Tassone are great defensively; and bring a lot at the plate.
Canon-McMillan is no slouch either. Its batting order is scary. Left-handed Chandler Palyas is the Big Macs’ lead-off hitter and the team’s second and third batters in the order are what stump coaches when it comes time to make a pitching change late in the game.
Teagan Piechnick, a right-handed hitter, already has six home runs this season and is a threat to go deep every time he steps to the plate. Following him in the order is junior center fielder Jared Beach, who is a left-handed hitter that will have scouts following him around until he makes a college decision.
Piechnick hit a two-run home run against Peters Township and drove in two runs; and also drew three walks. The Big Macs’ talents are not limited to the top of the order as the bottom three guys had a great showing in the rivalry game.
Senior catcher Buzz Boggio went 2-for-4 with a solo home run, designated hitter Dustin Bernardi drew three walks, went 1-for-2 and scored twice; and sophomore shortstop Connor Coleman went 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
Talent is a plenty for both teams, including young pitchers who are throwing well early in the season. It will be interesting to see Canon-McMillan and Peters Township’s next game on May 2.
It could decide who takes home the section title and will surely be just as chippy as Monday’s game.