The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

May 26, 2013

Blue Devils beat Mercyhurst Prep to advance to D-10 title tilt

Herald staff

---- — Four area teams returned to the diamond on Friday for the District 10 semifinals in baseball and softball.

At Penn State-Behrend in Erie, the Sharpsville Blue Darlings suffered a tough 7-5 loss to Iroquois in Class A softball action.

In Class AA baseball, Sharpsville beat Mercyhurst Prep, 5-4, in 9 innings at Slippery Rock University’s Jack Critchfield Park and Saeger-town ousted Wilmington, 10-0, in 5 innings at Ainsworth Field in Erie.

In Class AAA baseball, the Grove City vs. Slippery Rock game at SRU started late due to the extra-inning Sharps-ville-MP game.

In Class A softball today, Reynolds battles Saegertown at noon at Penn State-Behrend.


Class A

ä Iroquois 7, Sharpsville 5 —
At Penn State-Behrend in Erie, Sharpsville (13-6) led 4-3 after 4 innings, but Iroquois (16-5) plated 4 runs in the 5th inning and held on for the win.

Sharpsville took a 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning on an RBI single by McKenzie Popatak and a sacrifice fly by Megan Whalen, but left the bases loaded.

The Region 5 champion Lady Braves took a 3-2 lead in the bottom half of the 2nd frame on an RBI double by Jordan Finotti and RBI singles by Brianna Ashley and Hannah Tombaugh.

The Blue Darlings reclaimed the lead, 4-3, in the 4th on a sac fly by Eugena Davies and by scoring on a wild pitch.

In the 5th, Joanna Ragen and Ali Kaliszewski ripped RBI doubles for Iroquois and Emily Martin had a 2-run single.

Joanna Ragen went the distance for Iroquois. She struck out 4 batters. Maddie Shuttleworth, who tossed a 4-hit shutout in a 5-0 win vs. Rocky Grove in the quarterfinals, pitched for Sharpsville.

Sharpsville has never won a District 10 championship in softball, but has been a contender for years. Last year, they beat Reynolds, 8-2, in the semis and fell to Saegertown, 11-2, in the D-10 title game. This was Rick Grandy’s 1st year as coach of the Blue Darlings.

Iroquois, which moved down from Class AA to A this season, has won 8 of its last 9 games and has captured 12 D-10 titles. The last was in Class A in 2006.

Iroquois advances to the D-10 championship game at noon Monday at Penn State-Behrend. They will play the winner of today’s Reynolds vs. Saegertown game.


Class AA

ä Sharpsville 5, Mercyhurst Prep 4 (9 inn.) —
At SRU, coach Mike Sikorski’s Region 2 champion Blue Devils (15-5) outlasted the Lakers (18-4) in a thriller as Bryan Stafford led off the bottom of the 9th with a triple and Greg Popatak hit a gap shot for the walkoff win.

Sharpsville held a 4-2 lead, but Mercyhurst Prep was able to plate 2 runs with 2 outs and nobody on in the top of the 7th to tie it at 4-all.

George Keck pitched the 9th to earn the win. Jalen Mockabee started and went 8 innings with 1 strikeout, 4 walks and 4 runs on 9 hits.

Offensively for the Blue Devils, Stafford singled and tripled, Mitch Fyffe had a pair of singles, Popatak got on base 4 out of 5 times (winning hit, hit by pitch twice and walk), Tanner Morris had an RBI single and Taylor Lenzi hit a sac fly.

Sharpsville plays Saeger-town at 4 p.m. Monday at SRU for the D-10 crown.

Last year, Sharpsville lost to Titusville, 2-1, in the AA semis while Mercyhurst Prep competed in Class A and beat West Middlesex, 1-0, for the crown, but had to forfeit the win.

ä Saegertown 10, Wilmington 0 (5 inn.) — At Ainsworth Field, the Panthers (18-2) rolled past the Hounds (12-7).

No details were reported to The Herald.

Class AAA

ä Grove City vs. Slippery Rock —
At SRU, coach Pat Forese’s Eagles (15-6) were playing the Rockets (12-7) late at Jack Critchfield Park.

The game started late due to Sharpsville’s 9-inning win over Mercyhurst Prep.

The winner faces defending D-10 champion Warren (15-5) in the title game Monday at SRU. Warren beat Cathedral Prep, 3-1, Friday.