After losing several close contests to commence the campaign, it was Tiger Time Wednesday afternoon in Hermitage.
Sharon High baseball team scored 4 runs in the 6th stanza, then relied on reliever Mike Songer to preserve a 7-6 District 10 Class AA region win over host Hickory.
Joey Tomko culminated a personal 3-for-3 plate performance with a run-scoring single to highlight the decisive rally.
Hickory had scored a trio of 5th-frame runs to take a short-lived 6-3 lead, but Songer shut out the Stingers over the final 2ê innings.
“Earlier in the year we lost three one-run games, and we kept talking about ‘ninety feet’ — we’re ninety feet short — and it was coming down to ninety feet again (Wednesday). But the kids battled back and did a real nice job,” summarized 3rd-year Tigers’ taskmaster Mike Tomko.
Hickory starter Mark DiBattiste toed the rubber in the 6th with that 3-run lead, but labored through a 24-pitch inning. Sparking Sharon was Justin Stefanowicz’s RBI-double, pinch-hitter Jason Sypolt’s run-scoring single, and Josh Nichols’ sacrifice-fly RBI. Hickory righthanded reliever Jason Gay entered a 2-on, 2-out situation, and Tomko tattooed his 1st pitch past diving shortstop Matt Delmonaco.
Sharon scored 3 first-inning runs on Xavier Mosley’s run-scoring double and Vinnie Shaffer’s 2-run single down the left-field line.
Hickory drew within 3-2 in the 3rd off Sharon starter Geno Merolillo on Andrew Schafer’s sac fly-RBI and a pair of Sharon miscues and wild pitches. The Hornets knotted the count at 3 in the 4th frame when Tigers’ reliever Cody Frazier — in a 2-out, bases-loaded situation — walked Andrew Schafer. However he retired Alex Knisley on a liner to left fielder Tomko.
In the 5th, Jared Baughman’s 2-out, bloop double down the right-field line eluded Sharon 2nd-sacker Anthony Martwinski and right fielder Mosley for 1 run. Kevin Pugliese then produced a 2-run double to the right-center field gap, hoisting Hickory ahead 6-3.
However Sharon southpaw Songer, in a 2-on, 2-out situation, struck out Schafer to short-circuit further damage.
“He’s been that way all four, five times that we’ve brought him in,” Coach Tomko said of Songer. “He’s answered the bell for us. He’s cool, collected — gives you a smile when he throws one away — but finds a way to make it work. He’s been our go-to guy when we’ve had a slight lead or needed him to hold down the fort for us.”
Songer silenced Hickory in the 6th, though the Hornets had the potential game-tying run on to start the 7th stanza. Sam Evans drew a leadoff walk; however Baughman botched a sacrifice bunt attempt that resulted in catcher Nichols nailing pinch-runner Daulton Linton on an delayed stolen base attempt.
Joe Tomko’s 3 hits and 2 apiece from Nick Carlo and Stefanowicz staked Sharon (3-2 region, 7-3 overall). Including Shaffer (2), 6 different players plated a run for the Tigers.
Highlights for Hickory (2-2, 6-4) included Pugliese’s 2-for-4, 2-RBI (plus a walk) plate performance and Baughman’s pair of hits, and Schafer also was credited with 2 RBI.
“We use words like effort and confidence and guts, so hopefully this is a jump-start and we’ll get where we want to be at the end,” summarized Sharon skipper Tomko.
Notes: DiBattiste, in 5ì innings and 87 pitches (53 strikes) yielded 7 runs on 9 hits, whiffed 2 and walked 1. Merolillo, in 3ì innings and 76 pitches (37 strikes) fanned 4, walked 4 and allowed 3 runs on 3 hits. Songer struck out 3 and walked 2. ... Sharon backstop Nichols made an athletic, diving catch of Pugliese’s foul pop-up in the 4th. ... Hornets’ headmaster Gary Hinkson was not in uniform, owing to some official city business. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Sharpsville 13, Reynolds 1 (6 inn.) — At Transfer, Taylor Lenzi fired a 3-hitter with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks through 5 innings as the Blue Devils improved to 8-1. Nick Siguenza pitched the final inning and gave up 2 hits, then struck out the side.
Offensively for Sharpsville, Bryan Stafford tripled, doubled, singled, drove in 3 runs and scored 3 times, Tanner Morris doubled and singled with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored, Greg Popatak ripped an RBI-single and Tyler Wansack doubled and singled.
ä Grove City 10, Meadville 0 (5 inn.) — At Grove City Memorial Park, Torin Smith was a single away from hitting for the cycle and Josh Doody drove in 5 runs as the Eagles (4-0, 7-4) cruised to the region victory.
Smith tripled to open the game, doubled and pounded a walk-off 2-run homer to left field, while Doody doubled twice to produce his 5 ribbies.
Ben Lucas, Gavin Herald and Marcus DePeal produced the other singles for GC, which also accepted 5 walks and had two others receive free passes after being hit by a pitch. Matt Gordon picked up the win for the Eagles by allowing 3 hits and striking out 6 over 5 innings of work. He didn’t allow a walk.
Ted Williams, Tyler Lynch and Thompson singled for the Bulldogs, while Alex Glatch and Corey Stainbrook took turns on the mound.— By Herald Sports Correspondent Corey J. Corbin.
ä Rocky Grove 7, Jamestown 6 — At Jamestown, the Muskies (0-6) suffered a tough 1-run loss to the Orioles.
Kirwin earned the win. He fanned 8, walked 2 and gave up 5 runs on 8 hits for RG. Scott Murray and Robbie Adams both singled and doubled for the Orioles and Gannoe ripped 2 singles and a double.
Alex Boylan pitched 6 innings for Jamestown. He struck out 6, walked 1 and gave up 7 runs on 8 hits. At the plate for the Muskies, Boylan and Cameron Motzing both had 2 doubles and a single and Adam Trevor doubled.
ä Lakeview 6, Conneaut Valley 2 — At Stoneboro, Derek Giovengo pitched a complete-game 4-hitter with 9 strikeouts and 3 walks for the Sailors.
Austin Slater singled and doubled for Lakeview and Andrew Parimuha, Brandon Persch and Shane Whitehouse doubled.
Jordan King took the loss for CV. He fanned 1, issued 2 walks and gave up 6 runs on 6 hits in 4 innings. Cody Payne singled and doubled for the Indians.
After losing several close contests to commence the campaign, it was Tiger Time Wednesday afternoon in Hermitage.
GC coach Bell retired — sort of!
You can take the man out of coaching, but you can’t take coaching out of the man.
Former Grove City High football coach Jeff Bell has spent his first few months of retirement hearing the ping of a baseball ricocheting off an aluminum bat instead of clap of shoulder pads coming together.
“My grandson Maddox (Bell) and a few of his friends play on a traveling team, so I’m helping out with that,” said Bell, who retired as the Eagles’ football coach this past winter. “They’re a good group of kids to work with and this is a lot more enjoyable. It’s a lot less stress.
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THE TALENTED — albeit underachieving — Detroit Lions commence camp July 27 in Allen Park, Mich. as the National Football League prepares for the 2014 season.
Racing to fight cancer
Former Hickory High athlete Amanda Budzowski is on the run — the run to raise money to fight cancer.
Budzowski is part of Team in Training, an organization that has raised more than $1.4 billion for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since forming in 1988. Her division is known as IRONTEAM and she is currently training for the 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon in Mont Tremblant, Canada, in August.
SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians need fast start after All-Star break
SO FAR, so good. I’m referring to the start of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians after the All-Star break on Friday night.
Both teams rallied to win. The Buccos beat the Colorado Joints — err, I mean Rockies — by coming from behind in the 8th inning. Since they legalized marijuana sales in that state, it gave new meaning to John Denver’s song “Rocky Mountain High.”
Rutters earn spot in national motocross event
The brother-sister racing duo of Elijah and Dannah Rutter of Mercer are set to travel to Hurricane Mills, Tenn., to compete soon in the prestigious 33rd annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships presented by AMSOIL at Loretta Lynn Ranch.
Elijah, 18, and Dannah, 16, earned a ticket to the event with their performances at qualifiers and then regionals and are among the top 5 percent of riders in the U.S. Overall, 20,000 hopefuls from across the U.S. competed and there are only 1,446 qualifying spots at nationals.
Notebook: Sharon football greats meet, reunite at inaugural golf scramble
Mid-July, with the temperature 80-plus degrees at Avalon at Buhl Country Club; however, it felt like a fall, football Friday.
The inaugural Sharon Football Boosters 4-man golf scramble took place recently, and served as a Who’s Who in the Tigers’ triumphant tradition.
SPORTVIEW: All is right with the world - LeBron has come home!
HAPPY DAYS are here again. The prodigal child has returned!
The announcement that “King James” is returning to Cleveland has created a level of euphoria not seen since the Browns won the city’s last major sport championship a couple of years ago.
What’s that? Oh, yeah — make that 50 years ago (1964).
Full text of LeBron's essay in SI
LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday in an essay that he wrote for Sports Illustrated. The following is the full text of that essay.
Snyder, Gordon, Popatak named to All-State team
Grove City High’s David Gordon, Sharpsville’s Greg Popatak and Lakeview’s Logan Snyder recently were named to the Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association all-state team.
Synder was selected 1st-Team in Class A as a designated-hitter, while Gordon was honorably-mentioned in Class AAA and Popatak similarly was honored in AA. Gordon gained his laurels as a pitcher; Popatak as a 3rd baseman.
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Little League Tournaments
Sharon won the District 2 Major Division (12-year-olds) Championship, while Greenville 9-10 and West Middlesex 11 teams notched tournament victories in recent action.
Hermitage Brennan Chiropractic won the Mercer County 14-under championship recently.
Following are game reports:
The First Tee of Sharon celebrates 15th anniversary
Professional golf star John Cook has received many honors and awards in his illustrious career, but probably none mean as much as those similar to the one he received Monday afternoon at The First Tee of Sharon.
During a special ceremony to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the local program, a permanent plaque was unveiled in his honor describing the contributions he has made to junior golf.
SPORTVIEW: John Cook here Monday for First Tee; other celebs on July 11
THE RETURN of Tiger Woods to a PGA event sparked a lot of interest this past week. The return of John Cook to Buhl Farm Golf Course Monday will do the same locally.
Cook, a standout on the Champions Tour and outstanding TV golf analyst, will conduct a clinic at 11 a.m. Monday at the course to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of The First Tee of Sharon program.
It is open to the public at no charge.
Hickory honors Tri-Athletes
Hickory High honored its 2013-14 tri-athletes in a recent ceremony, the latest installment in a program that began in 2003-04.
Fifty student-athletes (grades 9-12) were cited for having competed in at least one sport in the fall, winter and spring while maintaining a minimum B (85 percent) grade-point-average during the first three 9-week grading periods of the academic year.
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- GC coach Bell retired — sort of!