(Photo: Riverside's Tyler Falk, left, greets Austin Hall after he scores in the fifth inning Monday against North Star in the PIAA Class AA semifinals at Shaler. Riverside won, 6-2 and will play for the state championship Friday. John Heller/Post-Gazette.)
"Rob Hardy said he is "blessed" to be playing in another championship game and "lucky" to be playing for Riverside.
The Panthers have similar feelings reserved for their captain, longtime coach Dan Oliastro said.
"Rob Hardy is a great leader," Oliastro said. "He's our captain, and the kids take his lead."
A three-year starter and standout at the plate and on the mound for Riverside, Hardy will play in a second consecutive PIAA Class AA baseball championship game Friday. The Panthers play Pine Grove 10:30 a.m. at Penn State's Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Riverside has played in each of the past two WPIAL title games, too. That's four championship game appearances in a row -- a remarkable run for any team at any level in a single-elimination format."