Tuesday, May 29, 2012

California's Conway, Hartman honored by WPIAL baseball coaches

California High School annually puts out a competitive baseball team, and the Trojans frequently compete for section and district championships.

California has won three WPIAL titles and played for a PIAA championship in 1984 when there were only two classifications in the sport.

This season, California is 19-0 for the first time in a long time (possibly ever) and the Trojans play Neshannock Wednesday afternoon in the WPIAL Class A championship game at Consol Energy Park at 5:30 p.m.

"Coming in, our goal was to be competitive," California coach Don Hartman said. "This group came together and the chemistry is outstanding. To say it was the least expected of the teams we've had make it this far, it was."

At this point, it may seem difficult to believe that California didn't enter the season with such lofty expectations. That may be one small reason why Hartman was honored by the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association as the Class A Coach of the Year. Senior pitcher T.D. Conway, who is 13-0 with 120 strikeouts, is the Class A Pitcher of the Year.

Former Canon-McMillan coach Steve Bucci was the Class AAA Coach of the Year for his work at South Park.

Player of the Year
AAAA - J.J. Matijevic, Norwin
AAA - Zarley Zalewski, Valley
AA - Ben Hartz, Shady Side Academy
A - John Sansone, Neshannock

Pitcher of the Year
AAAA - Anthony Garofalo, Plum
AAA - Greg Schneider, Thomas Jefferson
AA - Anthony Carusone, Ellwood City
A - T.D. Conway, California

Coach of the Year
AAAA - Mike Liebdzinski, Norwin
AAA - Steve Bucci, South Park
AA - Skooter Roebuck, Brownsville
A - Don Hartman, California

Michigan football recruit faces backlash for posted picture

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Logan Tuley-Tillman insisted he didn’t think it was a big deal when he posted a picture on his Twitter account of him burning an envelope from Ohio State.
The Michigan football recruit found out otherwise.
“It’s been kind of crazy,” Tuley-Tillman said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
The highly touted offensive tackle from Peoria, Ill., has committed to the Wolverines’ 2013 recruiting class, and posted the photo Saturday.
“I wanted to do it and send a message because people kept saying I was going to flip to Ohio,” Tuley-Tillman said. “I don’t know why they sent me that letter when they know I’m committed to Michigan. I don’t like the state of Ohio or that school. I can’t wait to play them.”
Tuley-Tilman was picking up on Brady Hoke’s penchant of referring to the rival as Ohio, not Ohio State, since taking over college football’s winningest program in 2011.
NCAA rules prohibit Hoke commenting on recruits until they sign a letter of intent.
Hoke, though, has said he isn’t a big fan of social media when it is used for sharing personal thoughts and pictures for all to see.
Wolverines offensive line coach Darrell Funk, according to Tuley-Tillman, has been in touch since the inflammatory picture heated up one of the best rivalries in sports.
“He told me to be careful,” Tuley-Tillman said.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

PIAA track medal recap

Phew! The PIAA Track & Field Championships were a scorcher, from the soaring temperatures to the results.

The 2012 meet goes down as one of the best in recent memory for local competitors. It's been some time since the area produced three local champions and a second-place team at the same meet.

Individual medals
1st place - Dustin Fuller, Washington (AA, 300 hurdles), Marissa Kalsey, Waynesburg (AA, pole vault), Jessie Merckle, Fort Cherry (AA, javelin)

2nd place - Dustin Fuller, Washington (AA, 400 dash), Mira Carrozza, Canon-McMillan (AAA, javelin), Kailyn Clancy, California (AA, shot put)

3rd place - Shawn Johnson, Canon-McMillan (AAA, high jump and triple jump), Alyssa Wise (AA, 100 dash and 200 dash), Peyton Hampson, Waynesburg (AA, 800 run)

4th place - Darius Spinks, Washington (AA, long jump)

5th place - Josh Wise, Washington (AA, high jump), Washington 1,600 relay team of Mykhael Kelley, Darius Spinks, Mijerean Witcher and Dustin Fuller, Margo Darragh, Fort Cherry (AA, 800 run)

6th place - Jenna Lucas, Fort Cherry (AA, javelin)

7th place - Dustin Fuller, Washington (AA 110 high hurdles)

2nd place - Washington, 33 points

Of note: Merckle became the first individual state champion (any sport) in Fort Cherry history. She also qualified for the NFHS honor roll. ... Fuller established school records in the 300 hurdles and 400 dash. ... Kalsey is the second Waynesburg girl to win PIAA gold in the pole vault. Jocelyn Lindsay is the other. ... Carrozza's finish in the javelin may be the highest placement at the state meet in C-M history. ... Clancy is the first California athlete to medal at the state meet. ... Johnson qualified for the NFHS honor roll in the triple jump (49-5 1/4). ... Hampson's 800 ranks 5th in WPIAL history and qualified for the NFHS honor roll.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Live blog, PIAA Track Day 2

12:44 p.m. - A lot to catch up on.

Washington's Dustin Fuller finished seventh in the 110 high hurdles at 15.1.

Wash High's Alyssa Wise was third in the 100 dash at 12.40. According to Wash High coaches, Wise is so sick, they were worried she'd have to scratch out of the event. She has the 200 later. When interviewing Wise, she did not mention being sick. You've got to respect an athlete doesn't divulge such info.

Canon-Mac's Shawn Johnson tied for third in the high jump, and Johnson tied his PR in the event at 6-8. If Johnson medals in the long jump, he may be the first C-M athlete to win three medals at states. No C-M track athlete has ever won a first-place state medal, and Mira Carrozza's second-place finish in yesterday's javelin may be the highest placement in school history.

11:42 a.m. - Fort Cherry's Jessie Merckle is the PIAA Class AA javelin champion and the first state champion in Fort Cherry history. Merckle won the competition with a throw of 154-11.

10:41 a.m. - Washington junior Darius Spinks gets Prexies' first medal - a fourth place finish in the Class AA long jump. Spinks' best jump was 21-8 3/4. After his six jumps, Spinks ran in the 100 dash semifinals.

9:25 a.m. - Shawn Johnson just cleared first height in high jump. Time to go watch Jessie Merckle and Jenna Lucas in Class AA javelin.

9:05 a.m. - Great start to day. A photographer from Penn Track XC.com told me to "Suck it up, Buttercup." It was hilarious. You had to be here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Live blog from PIAA track

The Varsity Letters is coming to you live from Seth Grove City at Shippensburg University.

4:27 p.m. - Fort Cherry's Margo Darragh set a school record of 2:15.8 in the 800 run and is the top seed in tomorrow's finals. Homer-Center's Angel Piccirillo, a Villanova recruit, ran a time of 2:12.48 at the District 6 meet and is also in the finals.

4:05 p.m. - Canon-Mac's Shawn Johnson finished third in triple jump with PR of 49-5 1/4. ... Dustin Fuller easily wins heat in 300 hurdles. Says he's feeling good despite the heat.

2:45 p.m. - Canon-Mac's Mira Carrozza finished second in Class AAA javelin at 132-3. She was disappointed with distance, pleased with placement.

Shawn Johnson leads the triple jump at 49-5. In good shape to win event.

1:33 p.m. - Fort Cherry's Sean Darragh - WPIAL Class AA javelin champ - finished at 141-3. Wash High's Chase Caldwell had a best throw of 154-9.

West Greene senior Mikayla Sonneborn posted the sixth-best time in the 1,600 prelims at 5:15.44.]

Canon-Mac's Shawn Johnson has yet to compete in the triple jump, which started at 12:30 p.m. Johnson is in the third flight.

It's freaking hot people!

1:26 p.m.. - Dustin Fuller bounced back in 400 dash prelim as he wins his heat with a PR of 49.55.

12:20 p.m. - Waynesburg seniro Marissa Kalsey is the PIAA Class AA girls pole vault champion. Kalsey cleared 12-6 on her first attempt, and missed three attempts at 12-8, which would have established a PIAA meet record. Kalsey finished second last year.

11:59 a.m. - Kalsey clears 12-6 on 1st attempt. PIAA meet record is 12-7.

11:56 a.m. - Kalsey easily clears 12-0 on first attempt. Looks like three competitors remain in Class AA pole vault.

11:50 a.m. - Kalsey clears 11-6 easily. Has assured herself a medal. ... Wash High's Darius Spinks finished third in 100 dash prelim (11.34) to advance. Nice kick in final 10 meters by Spinks.

11:40 a.m. - Burgettstown's Ryan Dupain (15.51) and Wash High's Dustin Fuller (15.59) advanced in 110 high hurdles. Fuller caught a couple hurdles and didn't run his best race, still good enough to move ob.

11:27 a.m. - Kalsey easily clears her first height (11-0) in pole vault. Wash High sophomore Alyssa Wise wins her heat in the 100 dash. Her time of 12.36 is second best of prelims behind West Catholic's Jada Stewart (12.25).

10:38 a.m. - Merckle's best long jump was 15-8 3/4. Time for her to rest for tomorrow's Class AA javelin. She is the top seed, by five feet.

10:25 a.m. - Waynesburg seniro Marissa Kalsey has not vaulted yet. ... Fort Cherry's Jessie Merckle no longer at the long jump pit. Wash High's Mijerean Witcher has left the triple jump pit. Witcher was WPIAL champion.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Twitter Thursday All-Stars

Twitter Thursday started as a lark, and a not very popular one with some of the older readers of The Varsity Letters. It turned into a popular feature, one read by athletes, coaches and parents alike. Some athletes even changed their Twitter handles to something less vulgar in hopes on landing a tweet on Twitter Thursday. Honestly, the response to something I never thought would catch on was surprising, to say the least.

Eventually, Twitter Thursday became too much of a task. Sifting through all those comments took far too much time and the language used in many of them were inappropriate subject matter for this blog.

No biggie. I still enjoyed reading the posts of many athletes, coaches and parents. It's become a great tool to communicate, and a great tool in terms of contacting athletes for stories.

Not sure what future Twitter Thursday holds, but it's been an interesting year following many of you. And you can still follow me @TheMikeKovak.

So here it is, the Twitter Thursday All-Stars. The only qualifications are you must be a high school athlete to qualify. No coaches, assistant coaches, fellow scribes or journalists were considered.

Twitter Thursday Most Valuable Tweeter
Corey Garry
May 23
"#FCShoutOut to beating charteirs 5 years in a row. Greatest rivalry I've been a part of"
May 23
"#FCShoutOut to the football field being named after my pap. I'm so proud of that."
May 18
"Verlander just gets stronger as he goes on. He's an alien from planet Tralfamadore"
May 16
"Last high school sporting event in the books. It's been a hell of a ride and I love these guys to death. #Beautiful Ride"

The Almost Twitter Thursday Most Valuable Tweeter
Doug Wilson
May 24
"Mr Krabs lives in bikini bottom..think about it"
May 22
"Where's my scholarship for being da best? #imdabest"
May 20
"Who had Danny Green being a better pro than '08 UNC teammates Ed Davis, Tyler Hansbrough, and Wayne Ellington?"
May 18
"I was soooooooo close to winning peters prom king #imdabest"

The rest of the Twitter Thursday All-Stars ...

West Jones, @RealWestJones
May 20
"It's scary sitting in my sunroom at night!! I feel like someone is watching me 😰"
May 19
"The best way to make someone remember you is to borrow money from them."
May 17
"I'm not gonna lie I don't really get nervous or hype for meets. I was listening to Justin Bieber and Rihanna on the way up here haha"

Katie Denning, @kdenning24
May 21
"That's what you get for beating us on senior rec night, lebo. WE'RE GOING TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!! #ptlaxordie"
May 3
"I can't believe four years went by so fast! Let's make tonight's game one to remember #seniorrec #ptlaxordie #beatlebo"
Apr 24
"Can't spell suck without USC. Leggo #ptgl #gameday"

Carolena Gasbarro, @cmgcare42
May 23
"The entire senior class all tearing up with the video .... great job to the people who made it ...."
May 22
"When you get an 85% in gym&you play 3 sports all year round&gym is your worst grade on your fourth nine week report card"
May 20
"Think I'm going to sit in the gym tomorrow and just look in that corner expecting you to be looking right back at me! #MissYouYellingAtMe"

Josh Wise, @jlwise_whs11
May 23
"Just wana take care of business and have fun up at states need time relax and be stress free this is going to be just what I needed!"
May 22
"I just wana put my helmet on and look through that visor as I go under center #FootballTweet #CantWait"
May 18
"Woke up this morning and looked over to my bed stand and what the first thing I see a wpial gold medal =) I still can't believe it"

Graham Lescallette, @BigSauce_85
May 11
"I just can't fathom the sadness circulating throughout the area. My condolences go out to the Alouise and Herriot families. #RIP"
May 4
"I don't know if I'm getting stronger or if I'm getting injured. #SoSore #LiftingProblems"
Apr 29
"I love that the song Superfly is on the commercial for the new Johnny Depp movie. #CurtisMayfield"

Ryan Dupain, @RyanDupain
May 23
"Being in the NFL does not lead to suicide. Neither do concussions. Other factors, not football."
May 17
"I will rep #BTown and the #WPIAL at the PIAA Track and Field championships running high hurdles. #HurdleGangOrDie #StateBound"
May 10
"Congrats to the boys Wash High track team on their WPIAL championship. Those dudes are for real. Rep the #WPIAL."

Chavas Rawlins, @SiiiTreyy
May 23
"Still can't believe how my life is going. I enjoy everyday of it!!!! Never thought I'd be this far and this happy!!"
May 23
"Committing to #WVU had to be the best decision I ever made!!!!"
May 21
"RIP former WVU coach Bill Stewert. Only talked to you once and still thought very highly of you!!! #RIP"

Quad Law, @TheRealQuad_Law
May 13
"in da movies wit my shirt off!"
May 9
"feels so good to be back in the weight room! 💪"
May 3
"lol you better than me cuz your goin "D1"??? ####"

Joe Graziani, @JoeGrizz52
May 24
"I'm glad my mommy loves me and let's me get early dismissals whenever I want them. #LoveYouMammaGraz"
May 21
"Bible in one hand, Shotgun in the other. #AlwaysReppin"
May 15
"You can learn more character on the two-yard line than anywhere else in life.#OLine #AlwaysAndForever"

Andrew Erenberg, @andrew_erenberg
May 15
"What if the North American hairless log bear mated with the North American Bukovich?"
May 9
"Today is my brothers birthday... Therefore if you see him I am giving you permission to impose your will on his right arm."
April 24
"When you hear Aspen and the first thing you think of isn't California... Your not my friend"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cal's Conway, Bentworth's Delval put on pitching showcase

It’s become an annual criticism concerning the WPIAL baseball playoffs. Teams which receive a first-round bye can throw their top pitcher throughout the postseason tournament, assuming weather cooperates and games remain on schedule.
Two aces – California’s T.D. Conway and Bentworth’s Tyler Delval – displayed their considerable talents and swing-stopping curveballs during the Trojans’ 2-1 win in the Class A semifinals late Monday night at Washington & Jefferson College’s Ross Memorial Park.
It’s doubtful anyone in the overflow crowd complained after Conway and Delval each turned in masterful nine-inning performances as California defeated Bentworth’s for the third consecutive year in the playoffs.
“A lot of people out there say this No. 1 pitcher versus No. 1 pitcher isn’t a good thing,” California head coach Don Hartman said following the game. “If you’re a fan who loves baseball, you couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Conway and Delval, who both took advantage of a wide strike zone by throwing nearly as many off-speed pitches as fastballs, were nothing short of brilliant.
Delval allowed one baserunner on a Sean Cotton single with one out in the fifth through seven innings. He allowed just three hits, struck out 13 and walked one.
I feel very badly for him because he obviously did an outstanding job and he’s taking it hard,” Bentworth coach Dion Jansante said. “Without him, we wouldn’t have been in this game. I hope he realizes that.”
For at least seven innings, Delval might have outdueled Conway, if that’s actually possible. Then again, the Trojans’ ace deserves a little slack. Just hours before California arrived, Conway was leaving Mon Valley Hospital following an overnight stay for a 24-hour flu bug.
“I came straight from the hospital to the game,” said Conway, who struck out 14 and allowed five hits. “I made it habit to want to pitch in this game. I couldn’t let the team down.”
He responded with the finest performance of his season, which is saying something considering Conway upped his record to 13-0.
Conway now gets a week to recuperate before California (19-0) plays top-seeded Neshannock (20-2) in the WPIAL Class A championship, May 30 at Consol Energy Park. The game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.
But even a chance to help win California’s first WPIAL title since 2006 and Hartman’s third as a head coach, didn’t dampen appreciation for Bentworth (17-2).
“(Delval) pitched an outstanding team. Bentworth is a very, very good team. Look at how long that game was 0-0. That doesn’t happen very often,” Conway said. “I feel like we were the two best teams played each other.”
The Bearcats can qualify for their first trip to the PIAA playoffs by beating OLSH (16-6) in the third-place consolation game, which will be played May 30 at 4 p.m. at Ross Memorial Park.
And, naturally, Delval will pitch for Bentworth.
“Playing in the state playoffs is one of our goals we set before the season,” Jansante said. “I’ve never had a chance to play a June game and I asked the team if they wouldn’t mind helping me out. This is a talented group, and they don’t want to see it end.”

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Trinity hires Miles as girls basketball coach

A flurry of high school football coaching hires drew the ire of local fan bases, but the rumblings at Trinity considering the girls basketball program have quieted since the hiring of Bob Miles as head coach.

As far as hires go, it's difficult to find a better one.

A teacher at Trinity for more than two decades, Miles spent the past 15 years as head coach at Fort Cherry. He took a program with little tradition or success and molded into an annual playoff contender. In recent years, Fort Cherry was a Class A powerhouse and Miles was awarded the 2011 PIAA Class A Girls Coach of the Year for his work. He's also a three-time winner of the Tri-CADA Girls Basketball Coach of the Year Award.

Miles guided a group which included Beka Bellhy, Carolena Gasbarro and Jessie Merckle to the 2011 WPIAL Class A championship game, and the PIAA quarterfinals in each of the past two seasons. Fort Cherry stood toe-to-toe with private schools, though three of Fort Cherry last five losses came against North Catholic.

Fort Cherry won 49 games the past two seasons. Miles won 237 games in 15 years, and, as his teams improved over time, the Rangers drew praise from opposing coaches and even college coaches for their style of play. Fort Cherry played disciplined, unselfish and physical basketball.

Basically, the Fort Cherry girls played like a well-coached boys team.

Miles is charged with the task of building Trinity back into a consistent winner. Jackie Kotchman, one of the all-time great players in Hillers' girls basketball history, coached Trinity the past three years and the Hillers did qualify for the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs in 2012, albeit with a losing record.

Miles, who was given a three-year contract, is a proven winner, but establishing a solid program at Trinity won't be instant. Still, the Hillers made the right choice, and the obvious one.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Monessen's Rawlins commits to WVU

Monessen junior Chavas Rawlins doesn't see himself playing any place other than quarterback in college, and when it comes to producing quality players at the position with record-setting numbers, West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen has the market cornered.

And Holgorsen will have Rawlins as a student starting in 2013.

One of the WPIAL's most sought-after prospects, Rawlins committed to West Virginia Friday - one day after a visit from Mountaineers quarterback coach Jake Spavital.

"He told me I'm their No. 1 quarterback target," Rawlins said. "As soon as I heard that, I thought, 'Man, I'm taking that.'"

Rawlins received 20 scholarship offers - the first two from Akron and Pitt; the last from Nebraska. Some schools originally recruited Rawlins, a strong-armed, mobile quarterback with a 6-4 frame, as a quarterback only to ask him to change positions after receiving other commitments.

West Virginia told Rawlins he was their top quarterback target for the Class of 2013, and he jumped at the opportunity to play in an offense which established a bowl game record 70 points scored against Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

Rawlins also likes the prospect of competing in the Big 12 Conference, which West Virginia joins in the coming athletic year.

"(Texas and Oklahoma) are schools as kid you want to play against," Rawlins said.

West Virginia is also interested in Rawlins' brother, Justice, a sophomore linebacker. Justice Rawlins already has offers from Pitt and Rutgers, and believes West Virginia will offer after he gets a couple games in this fall.

"Him playing at West Virginia would mean the world to me," Chavas said. "If he's with me down there, that will motivate me even more. I'm sure they will offer him pretty soon. He passes the eyeball test and he's a great player."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Varsity notebook

Two intriguing names have emerged as Trinity searches for its next girls basketball coach - Bob Miles and Laura Montecalvo.
At least two sources have indicated Miles is interested and the feeling should be mutual. It makes sense. Miles teaches at Trinity and he built Fort Cherry into a program which contended for WPIAL and PIAA titles. Plus, his work has earned respect at a state-wide level as evidenced by his selection as the Class A Coach of the Year in 2011. Miles is a three-time winner of the Tri-County Athletic Director Coaches Association Girls Basketball Coach of the Year. His teams are known for unselfish, disciplined and physical play.
Fort Cherry is moving to Class AA for at least the next two seasons and was placed in a section with Seton-La Salle and Bishop Canevin. The Rangers will still be a solid team the next two years, but there is a reported drop-off in talent after the sophomore class graduates.
If Miles, who lives in the Fort Cherry district, remains interested, consider him the top candidate.
Montecalvo was a standout athlete while at Wash High and has strong interest in becoming a head coach. She is also certified as a guidance counselor, and Trinity may have an opening in guidance for the upcoming school year.
* It's late May and, finally, every local high school has a varsity football coach. Bentworth, Burgettstown, Charleroi, Jefferson-Morgan, McGuffey, Trinity and Waynesburg all enter the 2012 with new coaches.
Bentworth and Charleroi moved quickly with their hires. McGuffey and Waynesburg made splash hires. Trinity conducted an extensive search. Burgettstown moved extremely quick with an in-house candidate in Terry Havelka, also the Blue Devils wrestling coach, following Matt Taylor's departure to Keystone Oaks. Jefferson-Morgan's search was extraordinarily long, the longest I can remember at the high school level.
* The WPIAL individual track championships are today, and the Washington-Greene region should produce a strong share of gold medalists. It's been a strong year for track.
* Speaking of track, the Washington boys team has a legitimate chance to win the Class AA team title at the state meet next weekend.
The Prexies, who turned in one of the most dominant dual meet seasons in WPIAL history, have everything needed to win a state title.
Dustin Fuller has the ability to win multiple individual championships. The 400 and 1,600 relay teams should medal. Other individual medals could come from a long list of athletes including Josh Wise, Darius Spinks, Shai McKenzie, West Jones, Austin Fuller and Joe Phillips. It's a special group.
* McKenzie's showing this track season is solidifying his status as a Division I football prospect. Only a sophomore, McKenzie is running sub-11 seconds in the 100-meter dash and is hearing from a host of Division I football programs from the Big Ten, Big East and ACC.
McKenzie and Monessen's Justice Rawlins are already two of the WPIAL's most sought-after prospects in the Class of 2014. Rawlins already has offers from Pitt and Rutgers, with WVU showing significant interest.
* Got to agree with Mike White from the Post-Gazette, who stated the WPIAL baseball playoffs need tweaked on his blog, Varsity Blog.
The brackets are set so teams with first-round byes can pitch their ace throughout the remainder of the playoffs beginning in the quarterfinals. It takes a lot of intrigue away from the postseason. And cramming the quarterfinals games one day after the first-round games pretty much eliminated any chance for upsets.
* That stated, the WPIAL Class A baseball semifinal between undefeated California and one-loss Bentworth has to be the most anticipated postseason game between a pair of local teams since Peters Township and Canon-McMillan met in the 2008 PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals.
The two teams play Monday night at Washington & Jefferson's Ross Memorial Park. The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
* Chartiers-Houston baseball was woefully underseeded. The Bucs were far better than No. 9 in Class A.
* Peters Township junior Olivia Roberson is already a two-time PIAA champion as a key member of the Indians' girls soccer team. An all-state player her junior year, Roberson recently accepted a scholarship offer from Duquesne University.

Monday, May 14, 2012

WPIAL baseball all-stars

The WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association all-star games take place Sunday, June 10 at the Burkett Complex in Robinson Township. Class A plays Class AA at 1 p.m. The Class AAA vs. Class AAAA game begins at 4 p.m.
With California and Bentworth among the top three seeds in the WPIAL Class A playoffs, it's not surprising the Class A roster features nine players from Washington-Greene Counties.

Two of the areas top senior players - Peters Township's Mike Bittel and California's T.D. Conway - are not participating.
Class AAAA
Andrew Erenberg, Peters Township
Anthony Cinello, Bethel Park
Russell Clark, Pine-Richland
Eddie Dutkewycz, Albert Gallatin
Jack Elliott, Upper St Clair
Anthony Fanelli, Hempfield
Mick Fennell, Butler
Anthony Garofalo, Plum
Ian Happ, Mt Lebanon
Luke Koshinksy, Plum
Zach Krivda, McKeesport
Max McDowell, Norwin
Ryan Mincher, Shaler
Ben Nolan, Bethel Park
Cam Onderko, Norwin
Nick Opferman, Baldwin
Troy Schoeppner, Upper St Clair
Matt Smith, Seneca Valley
Mike Wilcox, Upper St Clair
Matt Wolczko, Kiski Area
Andy Maddix North Allegheny; Rick Satcho McKeesport; Todd Schiffhauer North Allegheny; Eric Semega Seneca Valley

Class AAA
Hunter Bigler, Trinity
Tyler Drusbasky, Ringgold

Cory Callan, Hampton
Tyler Craig, Blackhawk
Zac Heide, Mount Pleasant
Christian Herstine, Beaver
Shane Hertzog, Mount Pleasant
Dan Jena, South Park
Everett Lesko, West Mifflin
Anthony Marks, Montour
Mac Megahan, Knoch
Mike Megahan, Moon
Mike Nowicki, Greensburg-Salem
Ryan Ruffing, Thomas Jefferson
Greg Schneider, Thomas Jefferson
Nate Steel, Hopewell
John Szmed, Greensburg-Salem
C J Weigand, Mars
Trevor Williams, West Allegheny
Zarley Zalewski,Valley
George Bradley Knoch; Bruce Herstine Beaver; Rich Krivanek Thomas Jefferson; Jeff Kuzma West Mifflin

Class AA
Tanner Garry, Fort Cherry
Joe Monica, Waynesburg
Alex Swauger, Waynesburg

Brent Williams, Fort Cherry
Brad Appleby, Greensburg CC
Shane Conley, Carlynton
Ryan Dunn, Freeport
Todd Fennick, Laurel
Brandon Galley, Southmoreland
Joey Giles, Sto-Rox
Phil Gnus, Brownsville
Rob Hardy, Riverside
Kevin Hart, Seton LaSalle
Ben Hartz, Shady Side Academy
Rick Jones, Laurel
Christian Kerns, Ellwood City
Fran O'Connor, Freedom
Jordan Price, Freedom
C J Testarella, Riverview
Coty Villinger, Southmoreland
Dan O'Leary Freedom, Skooter Roebuck Brownsville, Jason Sharp Carlynton, Mark Suckfiel South Allegheny,Eric Verdi Laurel

Class A
Matt Bakewell California
Nick Clarke Carmichaels
Sean Cotton California
Tyler Delval Bentworth
Mike Knox Beth-Center
Brandon Lesko Jefferson-Morgan
Tyler Sabatula Beth-Center
John Shaw Avella

Nick Smydo Bentworth
Coby Croft Avonworth
Brandon Duerr, Our Lady of Sacred Heart
Alain Girman Serra Catholic
Evan Gourley Vincentian Academy
Joe Killian Springdale
Chris Koryak Vincentian Academy
Jake Miller North Catholic
Zach Miller North Catholic
John Sansone Neshannock
Alex Strittmatter, Neshannock
Tyler Swarmer Leechburg
Phil Coffin Avonworth, Brian Dzurenda Serra Catholic, Mike Kirkwood Neshannock
Randy Miller North Catholic

Friday, May 11, 2012

WPIAL baseball pairings

No Peters Township in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. No Trinity for a second consecutive season. It's a bit odd not seeing either team in the postseason. The last time that happened was 1998.

Class AA
No. 4 South Fayette vs. No. 13 Steel Valley, Monday at Upper St. Clair, 4:30 p.m.
No. 7 Fort Cherry vs. No. 10 Bishop Canevin, Monday at Burkett Complex (Robinson Twp.), 2 p.m.
No. 15 Waynesburg vs. No. 2 Shady Side Academy, Monday at Upper St. Clair, 2 p.m.

Class A
No. 2 California, bye
No. 3 Bentworth, bye
No. 9 Chartiers-Houston vs. No. 8 Avonworth, Monday at Burkett Complex, 4:30 p.m.
No. 12 Carmichaels vs. No. 5 Serra Catholic, Monday at Charleroi, 2 p.m.
No. 13 Beth-Center vs. No. 4 OLSH, Monday, at CCAC Boyce (Monroeville), 2 p.m.s

Thursday, May 10, 2012

WPIAL softball playoffs

Seeding the postseason can never be easy, and this year, WPIAL Class AAAA softball was muddled at and near the top. Basically, every team in the top five had quality wins and a head-scratching loss or two.

Makes it tough to seed.

Saying such, it seemed a bit unusual seeing Peters Township with a first-round bye and Canon-McMillan playing a first-round game. Not saying the Indians aren't worthy of the bye, they had a fantastic regular season. So did Canon-McMillan, and the Big Macs shut out Peters Township the last time the two played.

Here are the matchups involving local teams (for complete postseason pairings, click here):

Class AAAA
No. 3 Peters Township, bye
No. 5 Canon-McMillan vs. No. 12 McKeesport, Tuesday at California University, 4 p.m.

Class AAA
No. 6 McGuffey vs. No. 11 Thomas Jefferson, Wednesday at California University, 2 p.m.

Class AA
No. 5 Burgettstown vs. No. 12 Mohawk, Wednesday at North Allegheny, 4 p.m.
No. 14 Waynesburg vs. No. 3 Mt. Pleasant, Wednesday at California University, 4 p.m.
No. 15 South Fayette vs. No. 2 Seton-La Salle, Monday at Baldwin, 2 p.m.

Class A
(Preliminary round)
No. 16 California vs. No. 17 Riveview, Tuesday at Hempfield, 2 p.m.
(First round)
No. 1 Chartiers-Houston vs. California-Riverview winner, Thursday at California University, 2 p.m.
No. 3 Carmichaels vs. No. 14 Serra Catholic, Tuesday at California University, 2 p.m.
No. 9 Jefferson-Morgan vs. No. 8 Elderton, Tuesday at Gateway, 2 p.m.
No. 13 West Greene vs. No. 4 South Side Beaver, Tuesday at Burgettstown, 2 p.m.
No. 15 Avella vs. No. 2 Sto-Rox, Tuesday at Fairhaven Park, 2 p.m.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Observer-Reporter WPIAL baseball rankings

Class AAAA
1. Norwin 15-0
2. Seneca Valley 14-3
3. Bethel Park 16-2
4. Plum 14-3
5. Hempfield 15-4

Class AAA
1. Blackhawk 16-2
2. Hopewell 16-3
3. South Park 15-4
4. Mars 14-3
5. Thomoas Jefferson 13-4

Class AA
1. Shady Side Academy 14-2
2. Riverside 15-4
3. Ellwood City 17-2
4. South Fayette 12-6
5. Laurel 14-5

Class A
1. California 16-0
2. Neshannock 17-2
3. Bentworth 14-1
4. Vincentian Academy 10-5
5. Serra Catholic 11-4

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sex offender costs Ohio State football recruit

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio State recruit has told the Buckeyes he will not attend the university, according to several published reports, amid concern that a convicted sex offender had interactions with players and recruits associated with the program.
Alex Anzalone, one of the nation’s top linebacker recruits, committed to Ohio State last month in what was turning out to be a stellar class for new coach Urban Meyer.
But Anzalone, of Wyomissing will reopen his recruiting process, after being contacted by Charles Eric Waugh, 31, of Ashland, Ky. In 2008, Waugh pleaded guilty to five counts of possession of underage sexual content. And this year, across Twitter, he contacted several Ohio State coaches athletes, and even recruits, including Anzalone. He also posed for photos with some of them.
Dr. Sal Anzalone, Alex’s father, told the Reading Eagle late Friday that “something is just not right at Ohio State. It’s not for him.”
As news spread of Anzalone’s decision, and of Waugh’s past, the school put out a statement on Friday night.
“The issue surrounding the individual from Kentucky is being treated by the Department of Athletics as a student-athlete welfare issue. When the University became aware that this individual had been seen in pictures — taken in public places — with student-athletes, proactive precautions were taken and the Department of Athletics alerted more than 1,000 Ohio State student-athletes about this person,” the statement said.
“The email message also reminded them of the negative implications that can be realized through simple associations on social networking sites. This individual is not associated with Ohio State. He is not a booster. He has not engaged in any activities on behalf of the University. The Department of Athletics will continue to monitor this issue and it will remain proactive in its efforts with regard to precautions for its student-athletes.”
Anzalone visited Columbus last month during spring game weekend. While there, he and other potential recruits posed for a photo with Waugh, who later posted it on Twitter.
“You don’t want your son to go to a place where there’s a potential issue,” Sal Anzalone told the Eagle. “You expect the staff to have some sort of control on how things are handled with recruits when they visit. This is ridiculous.”

Observer-Reporter WPIAL softball rankings

How nice has the weather been this spring? Well, Chartiers-Houston and Carmichaels, two of the top three teams in Class A, have already played the maximum 20 games. The Bucs and Mikes won't play a meaningful again until the WPIAL playoffs and both teams are candidates for first-round byes. Once the pairing are released by the WPIAL, C-H and Carmichaels are permitted to scrimmage other playoff teams.

Class AAAA
1. Shaler 15-2
2. Canon-McMillan 11-5
3. Franklin Regional 16-2
4. Peters Township 13-4
5. Norwin 14-2

Class AAA
1. Ambridge 15-2
2. Greensburg-Salem 13-2
3. Belle Vernon 15-5
4. Blackhawk 9-4
5. Montour 13-5

Class AA
1. Neshannock 17-0
2. Seton-La Salle 13-0
3. Deer Lakes 14-1
4. Burgettstown 16-2
5. Riverside 13-2

Class A
1. Chartiers-Houston 19-1
2. Sto-Rox 16-0
3. Carmichaels 19-1
4. Leechburg 14-4
5. South Side Beaver 16-3