Like many readers of The Varsity Letters, I make a regular practice of reading Mike White's Varsity Blog, available on the Post-Gazette web site. It's highly informative and always a good read.
And that's where I saw the sad news concerning Lawrence "Deuce" Skurcenski, a Western Pennsylvania high school statistical institution.
Deuce, as he's called by everyone, suffered a stroke last week and remains in Allegheny General Hospital. Deuce is one of those guys that, if you've been around high school football or basketball for any amount of time, you know.
He's quite the character, so much so that a documentary film was made about him. (Yes, I got to see it.)
The last time I encountered Deuce was during the PIAA basketball playoffs and he was quick to tell me that the game was the 10,987,345th or so that he's attended. He's been to nearly as many football games and the man is literally known by coaches from Class A high schools to major college basketball powers.
Deuce is a fountain of information, and other things. He also can provide some great tips, like letting me know that a young man named Dan Davis was transferring from Peabody High School to Fort Cherry. Davis went on the be the O-R Boys Basketball Player of the Year. He also loves to share his opinions, like he did with me while trying to write near deadline following the WPIAL Class AAA championship basketball game between South Fayette and Montour.
Here's to a speedy recovery and hope to see you out this fall.
* This is the absolute worst spring for rain that I can remember.
* Fort Cherry junior Tanner Garry struck out 17 Southmoreland batters in an eight-inning game last Friday. That's the most I can remember in a varsity game for a local pitcher in some time.
* Speaking of the Rangers, junior Jessie Merckle had another outstanding early-season javelin throw.
In a meet Thursday at Burgettstown, Merckle had a WPIAL-best throw of 143-5. Merckle's personal best is a 147-7, which came during her sophomore year and is the 16th best throw in WPIAL history according to Jim Faiella's honor roll.
Merckle, the Girls Field MVP at Saturday's Washington & Greene County Coaches Meet, is ranked sixth nationally according to milesplit.us. With Beka Bellhy and Jenna Lucas, Fort Cherry has three of the top six javelin marks in WPIAL Class AA.
* Clairton's Trenton Coles ran a wind-aided 10.37 in the 100-meter dash at Thursday's Blackhills Invitational at Chartiers-Houston. It may be wind-aided, but that is an outstanding time regardless.
* The WPIAL will announce its fifth Hall of Fame class Tuesday, April 26 at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the History Center in Pittsburgh's Strip District. A total of 15 inductees will be announced, in addition to the 2011 WPIAL Courage Award winner.
Former O-R sports writer and proud Wash High graduate Jim Montecalvo, who died on June 7, 2008 at the age of 26, was honored posthumously with the Courage Award in 2010.
* Washington is dropping varsity boys golf.
* Beth-Center senior Jeff Tarley is a three-sport standout who is in the middle of baseball season for the Bulldogs, who look like one of the better teams in Class A at this point.
Tarley's best sport is wrestling and there's a chance he could end up signing with West Virginia University soon.
* Burgettstown has hired Rich Tranquill as its new boys varsity basketball coach. Tranquill, an Avella graduate, spent the past three seasons with the Blue Devils as an assistant coach.
* The Washington-Trinity alumni football game is scheduled for July 8 and, according to Robert Bishop of Alumni Football USA, there are waiting lists to play for both teams and a venue outside of Washington is interested in hosting.
Both teams will hold a meeting Saturday at the Vernon C. Neal Sports Complex at noon.
* Follow me on Twitter: @TheMikeKovak