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Westmoreland County baseball notebook: Franklin Regional senior dedicates season to brother battling cancer

To be honest, Blake Bertucci would love to be pitching to his brother, Luca.

To be honest, Blake Bertucci wishes he could pitch to his brother, Luca.

That's how the siblings had imagined it before.

Even though the pitcher-catcher duo is not together this season at Franklin Regional, the feeling remains unchanged.

Blake Bertucci, a senior pitcher and leader of the Panthers’ staff, is joined by Luca Bertucci, a sophomore catcher who is bravely battling cancer.

Blake emphasized that this season is dedicated to his brother, whether they are playing together or not.

“Since we found out about his diagnosis, I knew I wanted to dedicate this season to him,” Blake said. “He has been one of my biggest supporters throughout my career and continues to be, even when he's not always around. I believe we have a special team this year and could achieve significant feats in his honor.

“Luca knows I'm not very emotional, but deep down, he knows I would much rather fight his battle for him.”

Blake mentioned that Luca has been in the hospital for the past three weeks, "battling it out."

“The scans are showing promise, and he only has one more round of chemotherapy left,” he said. “Then, over the next year, they will ensure to keep monitoring him.”

Sunday baseball

Eager and nearly desperate to play their three-game series and get the section schedule back on track, Norwin and Baldwin will play a doubleheader Sunday at Gateway, which has an all-turf field.

The games are scheduled for 1 and 3:30 p.m.

The first game of the series will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Baldwin’s Wallace Field.

The series was rescheduled after rain and unplayable field conditions caused postponements.

Four more years

Wild Things Park in Washington is set to host the WPIAL baseball championships until 2027.

The partnership between WPIAL and Wild Things has been extended for at least four more years.

The WPIAL finals have been held at Wild Things Park — previously Falconi Field — since 2003.

Greensburg Central Catholic (2015), Norwin (2016), Jeannette (2017), Latrobe (2017), and Franklin Regional (2021) have clinched titles at the field.

This year’s finals are scheduled for the week of May 27, with the Pittsburgh Pirates once again sponsoring the title games.

Top games

Highlighted section series to watch on Monday and Tuesday include Ringgold-Latrobe, Mt. Pleasant-Greensburg Salem, and Plum-Penn-Trafford.

Ranking ‘em

Undefeated Hempfield remains in the No. 4 spot in the TribLive HSSN Class 6A rankings.

Latrobe also maintained the No. 4 spot in 4A, while Greensburg Central Catholic moved up from No. 4 to 3 in Class 2A.

Extra bases

Latrobe started 3-1 but had scored as many runs as it has allowed (15). … Through five games, Yough (2-3) scored 30 runs and allowed 30. … Hempfield’s 57 runs over the first six games led Class 6A. … Hempfield (6-0) and North Allegheny (3-0) were the only undefeated teams left in 6A going into Wednesday.

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