After splitting a pair of recent 4-3 decisions, an early 6-0 deficit did not deter Sharon High’s baseball team.
Scoring 9 runs in its final 3 at-bats Monday afternoon, the host Tigers toppled West Middlesex, 9-7, at Johnny Pepe Field in a Region 2-AA backyard rivalry.
“We’ve played 10 games this year now, and six of them have been (decided) by one run,” Tigers’ taskmaster Mike Tomko noted. “(Mon)day, we squeaked it out with two, but the kids know that going in, that we’re gonna be in a tight game. They’ve been in enough of them and they’re accustomed to tight games.”
Through 3 innings Middlesex’s Mike Ginther, the senior southpaw, silenced Sharon, striking out the side in the 2nd stanza. The Tigers’ lone baserunner, Leo Rahn, reached via a 1-out walk in the 3rd on a 3-2 pitch.
However Sharon (5-2, 6-4) got to Ginther in the 4th frame. Josh Nichols reached on a bad-hop grounder to open the inning, and by the time it ended the Tigers batted around and halved their deficit to 6-3. RBI-singles by Vinnie Shaffer, Andrew Tomko and Leo Rahn highlighted the frame.
Sharon surged to a 7-6 edge in the 5th, though the Big Reds blew up, as 2 Middlesex miscues and a passed ball contributed to the Tigers’ 4-run frame. Nick Carlo contributed an RBI-single after Nichols again started the inning reaching on an infield hit, then moving into scoring position on Ginther’s throwing error.
Maintaining a 6-4 margin, veteran Middlesex mentor Jerry Novosel called on righty Mark Colella to relieve Ginther. But lefthanded-hitting pinch-hitter Matt Wallace whacked a a sac-fly RBI to left.
Colella appeared to be out of the inning with a 6-5 lead after striking out Daniel Vanderslice. But the righthanded-hitting Tomko’s 2-out fly ball to right drifted toward the line and was misplayed, allowing Shaffer to tally the Tigers’ tying run. The 3-base error set up Sharon’s go-ahead run, as Leo Rahn ripped a run-scoring single to right-center, staking Sharon to a 7-6 edge.
Middlesex mustered the equalizer in the 6th stanza on back-to-back singles by Brandon Dick and Jarrod Palmer, Dom Pape’ss perfect sacrifice bunt, and Colella’s bad-hop RBI-single.
But in Sharon’s 6th, Nichols’ 1-out single in the hole and Carlo’s single down the line past 3rd baseman Riley Atterholt set the Tigers’ table. Shaffer’s fielder’s choice grounder scored the go-ahead run, then Wallace whacked a 2-out single to left center. Shaffer, never slowing, advanced to 3rd, then scored when the subsequent throw from the outfield sailed awry.
“We like to creat pressure and be aggressive,” Tigers taskmaster Tomko related. “If they throw us out, that’s gotta be on me. But I tell the kids, ‘We’re gonna run the bases aggressively.’ ”
Righty reliever Shaffer earned the win. Though Atterholt annexed a 1-out single, Shaffer set down Aaron Webb on strikes, then retired Dick, hauling in the game-ending pop-up.
“He’s been known to do that. When we need to get four, five outs at critical times, we like going to him,” Tomko said of Shaffer. “He nibbles and he gets outs for us.”
“We’re still a game outta first to Sharpsville ... in second place” Tomko noted, “but Wednesday starts the second half of the (region) season, so this is a good jump-start. We have Hickory on Wednesday (following today’s non-league game with Brookfield), then we’re right back into the fight.”
Middlesex (3-4, 4-4) mauled Sharon starter Cody Frazier. The Big Reds rolled to 6 straight 1-out 1st-inning hits, including RBI-doubles by Christian Porterfield, Colella and Sage Pope, sandwiching Trey Staunch’s run-scoring triple. The Reds added a 2nd-stanza singleton on consecutive hits by Porterfield, Colella and Staunch for a seemingly safe 6-0 lead.
But Frazier found his rhythm, shutting out Middlesex in the 3rd, 4th and 5th frames. He actually needed only 4 pitches to retire the Reds in order in the 4th.
“He got hit hard the first inning, (the Big Reds) hit the ball real well. But he settled in after that, gave up only one after that, then he settled in and kept us in the game,” Tomko praised.
“It’s a good region win. ... I’m real proud of them,” Tomko summarized. “They could’ve easily folded like a house of cards, but they came back and battled.”
Notes: The right-handed Frazier’s 5 frames included 77 pitches (49 strikes), 12 hits and 6 runs allowed with 2 strikeouts. Shaffer’s 2-inning stint showed 24 pitches, 17 for strikes. Ginther gave up 6 runs on 6 hits, striking out 7 and walked 4 in 4-plus frames (89 pitches, 60 strikes). ... the Big Reds ripped 16 hits, including 3 apiece by Colella and Staunch and 2 apiece by Palmer, Porterfield, Pope and Atterholt who had a 1st-inning RBI-single. ... Sharon’s 9 hits included Nichols’ 3 and 2 each from Carlo and Leo Rahn. Nichols and Shaffer scored 3 runs each. ... Sharon’s 2 most-recent games included a 4-3 setback at Shenango, preceded by a 4-3 win over Rocky Grove. In the win, Carlo clubbed a single and home run and Nichols notched a double in support of winning pitcher Louis Wareham. Starter John Thiel tossed 3 effective innings, and Shafer secured the 2-inning save. In the loss, Joey Rahn recorded 5 innings at the start, while Carlo relieved. Justin Stefanowicz and Vanderslice singled twice apiece. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä McDowell 8, Grove City 1 — At Grove City’s Memorial Park, Cody Ballay fired a complete-game 3-hitter with 11 strikeouts and 3 walks as McDowell topped the Eagles (7-2).
Jake Wolf homered for McDowell, Jake Suppa singled and doubled, Brian Bohman collected 3 singles and Matt Hansen and Riley Warren had 2 singles each.
Dylan Osborne suffered the loss for GC. He fanned 1, walked 2 and gave up 4 runs on 2 hits in only 1 inning of mound duty.
Offensively for the Eagles, Doug Horner ripped a pair of singles and had an RBI.
After splitting a pair of recent 4-3 decisions, an early 6-0 deficit did not deter Sharon High’s baseball team.
Roundup: Wilmington track teams sweep WM
ä Wilmington 98, West Middlesex 51 — At West Middlesex, the visiting Greyhounds gave the Big Reds their first home, dual-meet loss in approximately 4 seasons according to Middlesex mentor Ed Pikna.
Cooper (400, 800, distance- and mile-relay legs), jumper Perrine and sprinter Scott (100, 200) gave the Greyhounds the giddy-up by winning multiple events.
HIGH SCHOOL SPRING SPORTS ROUNDUP
Baseball, softball and tennis teams were in action Monday as the nice weather allowed for high school spring sports action that has been limited so far by rain, snow and windy conditions.
Players relent, agree to play for reinstated football coach
Minnesota State University-Mankato's football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
Hickory track coaches near finish line
While the Shenango Valley lionizes legendary gridiron greats and hardwood heroes, the sport of track & field at Hickory High has resonated its relevance throughout District 10 and commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
For the better part of the last 3 decades that was due, to a great extent, to the efforts of Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak.
More than 200 dual-meet victories combined between the girls’ and boys’ programs, 9 district championships (7 girls, 2 boys), 2 statewide runners-up berths and another pair of 3rd-place finishes, culminating in the Lady Hornets’ 2012 PIAA Class AA championship.
Their collective resumé would be envied by any coach, regardless of sport. Which makes this recent revelation regrettable: Dzuricsko and Slezak simultaneously will step down at this season’s conclusion.
SPORTVIEW: Cavaliers are example of how an owner impacts a team
WHEN LEBRON James vacated Cleveland for South Beach a few years ago, angry Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert declared that the Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before James and the Miami Heat.
How’s that working out, Dan?
Miami is seeking a third straight title this postseason while the Cavaliers are headed for the golf courses. Pretty sad.
Roundup: Trojans, Hounds win team titles at WM Invitational
Wilmington High girls and Greenville boys dominated the annual Big Red Track & Field Invitational Thursday afternoon in West Middlesex.
A half-dozen girls’ and 7 boys’ teams competed.
Wilmington overwhelmed the female field, as the Lady Greyhounds garnered almost twice as many points as runner-up Lakeview (236-5 to 133.5).
Roundup: WM diamondmen edge Reynolds, 6-4
ä West Middlesex 6, Reynolds 4 — At Transfer, the Big Reds snapped a 4-all tie by plating a run in the 4th inning and another in the 7th in a 2-run win over the Raiders.
Mark Colella earned the mound win in a relief appearance for WM. No pitching stats were submitted.
Roundup: Hickory, Wilmington softball teams win
Paced by Chelsea Marriott’s muscle, Hickory High hammered 4 home runs Saturday afternoon en route to a 19-1 rout of Sharon.
At Wengler, Marriott mauled 2- and 3-run round-trippers to right-center and straightaway center field, respectively. Her Lady Hornets’ teammates Hannah Gallagher and Morgan McBride mustered 3-run bombs, also.
Fired coach in Mankato unjustly accused of visiting porn sites
Minnesota State University-Mankato officials wrongly accused former football coach Todd Hoffner of viewing pornography sites on his work computer before firing him last May, a state arbitrator has disclosed.
Roundup: Hickory track coaches to step down following season
Hickory High track & field co-head coaches Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak announced they will step down at the season’s conclusion.
Dzuricsko and Slezak, who led the Lady Hornets to the 2012 PIAA Class AA crown, jointly made the announcement via e-mail late Wednesday.
Roundup: Devil diamondmen roll past Sharon
An old-school baseball bromide states that, early in any season, pitching is always ahead of hitting. However Sharpsville shunned that axiom Wednesday afternoon.
The Blue Devils banged 15 hits, and Sharpsville short-circuited Sharon, 16-4, in 5 innings.
Roundup: Hounds, Hornets notch track sweeps
ä Wilmington 116, Reynolds 44 — At New Wilmington, the host Lady Hounds were led by Rikki Brumbaugh (4x8, 4x4 relay legs, 400- and 800-meter runs); Hannah Drake (long, triple jumps, 4x4 relay); Allison Baldwin (4x8 and 4x4 relay legs); Lexi Brumbaugh (1600-, 3200-meter runs, distance-relay leg), and Tessa Sikora (high jump, 200-meter dash, sprint-relay anchor).
SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians fans looking for big things this year
LIFE IS GOOD if you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Cleveland Indians. At least for now!
Heading into Saturday, both teams were 3-1 and looking pretty sharp. Since both made the playoffs last year, there are high expectations for both clubs. But in baseball, every year is a new season and there are no guarantees.
Still, it’s always nice when your favorite teams get off to a good start. In too many seasons, Pittsburgh and Cleveland fans were only talking about the NFL draft because hopes were bleak for their baseball teams.
Hickory's Arbanas 1st team All-State; KC's Hood 3rd team
ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Teams from the WPIAL won three of the four PIAA girls basketball championships this year, and southwestern Pennsylvania is turning out to be just as dominant when it comes to postseason honors.
Pittsburgh-area programs produced seven of the eight major award winners on this season’s Sports Writers Pennsylvania High School Girls Basketball All-State Team, including all four players of the year.
WM's Staunch named 2nd team All-State
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Finishing on the winning side in a championship game — or coming mighty, mighty close — scored plenty of points with the panel that selected Pennsylvania’s all-state boys’ basketball team.
Especially when it came time to choose those — whether players or coaches — who claimed the top individual awards.
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- Roundup: Wilmington track teams sweep WM