The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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June 4, 2014

Bisons facing unknown in Northwestern

JOHNSTOWN — It will be a learning experience for District 5 champion Bedford when it meets District 10 runner-up Northwestern this afternoon in a PIAA Class AA baseball quarterfinal at the Burkett Complex near Pittsburgh.

“We really don’t know anything about them,” Bedford coach Scott Waugerman said on Wednesday. “I wish I did. That’s a team we were were unaware of.”

The Wildcats earned their spot in the quarterfinal with a 7-6 first-round victory over Karns City. Bedford arrived on a 10-4 win over District 7 champion Steel Valley.

The Bedford-Northwestern game is the opener of a doubleheader that includes a Class A match between District 6 champion Bishop McCort and District 9 runner-up Cranberry.

“It’s kind of unique that we and McCort are at the same complex (today),” Waugerman said. “It would be nice for two Laurel Highlands teams to bring home two wins.”

In another Class AA quarterfinal today, District 10 champion Franklin will meet District 6 titlist Central in Punxsutawney, a game that Waugerman said offers a clue to what the Bisons will face this afternoon.

“Obviously, the top two teams in their league each won a state playoff game,” he said. “So, we’re assuming it’s a pretty decent district.”

Waugerman said the Bisons were still discussing which pitcher would start today’s game. He said the choice had been narrowed to sophomore Dylan Downs, junior Jeremiah Bingham or sophomore Robert Hernandez.

“Some of that will depend on how their arms feel (today),” he said.

Bedford has won three straight playoff games, defeating Windber and then Chestnut Ridge to win the district championship, then dispatching Karns City on Monday in Fox Chapel. He said he hoped his team had put any playoff jitters behind him.

“We sure hope so,” he said. “We’re really hoping that our kids go out and play just like it’s another game in the Laurel Highlands conference. We don’t want to put any pressure on ourselves – just make it another game and play like we have all year.”

If the Bisons play the way they have in the past couple of games, they can depend on their bats to provide plenty of offense. They put up 12 hits against Steel Valley, the WPIAL champion, in the first round.

“We want to keep swinging the bats the way we have the past four or five games,” Waugerman said.

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