Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Five teams to watch this spring
Washington boys track
Championship pieces are in place for the Prexies, on the team and individual levels.
Washington placed second at the WPIAL Class AA team championships last year thanks to some dominating performances in the relays. And the boys team claimed four individual/relay medals at the PIAA championships.
Dustin Fuller, Mykhael Kelley, Darius Spinks, Jordan Thomas and Josh Wise are among the top returning lettermen.
Pitcher Kiersten Conwell is gone, but two-time All-State player Kayla Briggs will take over full-time pitching duties and Observer-Reporter Player of the Year Colby Miller is back behind the plate.
The Bucs lost one game last spring, but it came in the PIAA Class A semifinals. C-H will once again be in contention for a WPIAL championship, which would be the eighth in program history.
C-H hopes to have senior shortstop Rachel Tucker back for the start of the regular season.Tucker had a season-ending shoulder injury during basketball season.
Peters Township softball
Peters Township is the lone local softball team with a pair of Division I recruits in the starting lineup.
Pitcher Tara Konopka will play at Drexel next year, and she went 9-6 with 120 strikeouts and a 1.97 ERA as a junior. Shortstop Morgan Matetic is headed to George Washington and will be counted upon to drive in runs.
PT has several outstanding defensive players but, to piece together a run in rugged Class AAAA, the Indians will need more offense.
First-year coach Scott Henson inherits a quality pitching staff, and the majority of those pitchers are left-handed. It makes Trinity an intriguing team in Class AAA, and a good bet to get back to the postseason after a difficult 2011 season.
Senior Hunter Bigler will pitch at IUP next year, while junior Nick Riotto is a Penn State recruit.
Trinity should benefit from the new artificial playing surface at Consol Energy Park, where the Hillers play home games. Last year, the park wasn't completed in time for Trinity to start its season and the Hillers were one of the last WPIAL teams to play an official game.
The Raiders were the surprise of WPIAL Class AA baseball last year. After a season-opening loss to Beth-Center, Waynesburg didn't lose again until the WPIAL championship game, and that came by one run to eventual PIAA champion Riverside.
With a pair of Division II recruits in pitcher/infielder Joe Monica (Concord) and catcher Stephen McCaw (Mercyhurst), Waynesburg has one of the better one-two punches in the district. McCaw (pictured), the WPIAL Class AA Player of the Year as a junior, will pitch more this season.
Another key player for first-year coach Kevin Pinkavitch will be Alex Swauger, who bats in the middle of the order.