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.
Roundup: Rockets, Hornets, Blue Devils win
ä Slippery Rock 11, Grove City 3 — At Memorial Park in Grove City, Travis Lauster singled and tripled and reached base 4 times as the defending District 10 Class AAA champion Slippery Rock Rockets beat the Eagles.
Joe Barnhart went the distance for Slippery Rock. He gave up a dozen hits in earning the win. At the dish for Slippery Rock, Jackson Kerchis, Butler and Matt Badger all had 2 hits and Arrenzo doubled.
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.
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