(Photo: Blaise McCarty will get the start for Riverside in the Class AA title. John Heller/Post-Gazette.)
"The Riverside baseball team is trying to win a PIAA title without winning a WPIAL championship. It is a familiar path for the Panthers, and one that other WPIAL teams have traveled a number of times in recent years.
Riverside (21-6) meets Pine Grove (23-6) in the PIAA Class AA title game at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Penn State. A win will shove that WPIAL championship loss to Ellwood City to the back of the Riverside players' minds -- and put gold medals around their necks.
Riverside has won three previous PIAA titles, but this would be the second time in the past eight seasons the Panthers could end up as a state champion after losing a WPIAL title game. The other was 2005.
"I think both the WPIAL and state are important," said Riverside coach Dan Oliastro. "I think the WPIAL is important because it's been there for a long time and there has always been a lot of hype attached to it."