After an impressive WPIAL Class AA championship win over archrival Riverside, Ellwood City was looking to extend its success in the PIAA playoffs but North Star’s Brantley Rice had other ideas.
The junior left-hander limited the potent Wolverines lineup to just three singles and ended the Ellwood City season with a 2-0 win.
It was only the second time all season that Ellwood City had been held to less than two runs – the other was a 1-0 loss at Riverside on April 20. In the previous seven games – all wins- the Wolverines had averaged over 10 runs per game but North Star solved that problem. Still, the game was scoreless through six innings before North Star, now 18-4, scored twice in the sixth.
Although the season ended quicker than expected, it will still be remembered as a success in Ellwood City with the Wolverines’ third WPIAL title in the past 11 years. Ellwood City finished 21-3 and would seem to be rebuilding next year as just three underclassmen contributed. The Wolverines have a strong junior high program, though, and, with Jeff Fotia at the helm, Ellwood City won’t be rebuilding for long.