Twenty-thirteen has not been the best of seasons in Hickory High’s proud baseball program annals.
But with the 2nd half of the District 10 Region 2-AA campaign commencing with Thursday’s 6-2 success over Sharon, veteran Hornets’ headmaster Gary Hinkson is hopeful for a 2nd-half turnabout.
“We’ve been down ... up ... playing pretty sporadic all year. But if we can play better than when we haven’t played well, yeah, I hope we can get it turned around,” Hinkson related.
At Sharon’s Johnny Pepe Field, Hickory harvested a 144-pitch (84 strikes) complete-game performance from righthander Mark DiBattiste.
DiBattiste scattered 7 Sharon safeties — he weathered a 39-pitch 3rd inning when he surrendered the Tigers’ 2 tallies — but recovered to retire 11 of the final 15 hitters he faced, throwing only 62 pitches during the game’s final 4 frames. He helped himself by starting a 1-6-3 double-play in the 4th, quelling Sharon’s 2-on, 1-out uprising.
DiBattiste finished with 7 strikeouts while walking 5.
“He battled,” Hinkson praised. “There were a couple innings where he had a couple guys on, and a couple times when we thought, maybe, he was getting a little tired. But then he would come right back. Yeah, just a super effort.”
Without the benefit of a base hit, Hickory (5-3 region, 6-6 overall) harvested a 3-run 2nd stanza against Sharon starter Nick Carlo. After retiring the Hornets in order in the 1st, Carlo’s command deserted him, and 3 bases on balls and a hit-batsman cost Carlo 3 runs.
The ‘Stingers struck Sharon southpaw reliever Mike Songer for a pair in the 3rd. An error and base hit set up DiBattiste’s sac-fly RBI. Then after Songer started a 1-6-3 twin-killing, Brooks Pletcher plated a run on an RBI-single to right.
Justin Stefanowicz started Sharon’s 3rd as he, Josh Nichols and Carlo connected for consecutive base hits, with Carlo’s cashing in the 1st Tigers’ tally. Songer’s 1-out infield single — part of his 3-for-3 plate performance — was followed an out later with Sharon’s 2nd score as Daniel Vandeslice drew a bases-loaded walk. However DiBattiste whiffed Leo Rahn.
Sharon stranded 6 baserunners during the 1st 3 innings.
Despite striking out, Brady Leunis eventually scored in the 6th stanza when his swinging 3rd strike was mishandled. Tommy Cannon crushed reliever Stefanowicz’s 1st pitch for an RBI-single for a Stingers’ insurance run.
“It’s just seemed like we can’t get everyting going on all cylinders,” Hinkson said in summarizing the season’s 1st half. “We would have a game where we got good pitching, but couldn’t hit; we’d play good defense, and our pitching wasn’t there. We just couldn’t get everything going at the same time. (Thursday), I thought we played good defense, we had great pitching, obviously, and we had a couple hits when we needed them.”
“This is a real balanced region,” Hinkson continued. “If you look at Sharpsville (7-1, 8-2) ... then there’s a bunch of us bunched together. So I think the second half’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Cannon connected for 2 hits for Hickory, as did Pletcher. DiBattiste drilled a double, and Steve Piston produced a hit and tallied twice.
For Sharon (4-3, 7-5), in addition to Songer, Carlo cracked 2 hits, but the Tigers of taskmaster Mike Tomko took their 2nd straight setback after being blanked by Brookfield in Tuesday’s non-league game. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Sharpsville 14, Commo-dore Perry 3 — At Sheakleyville, Tyler Wansack ripped a pair of singles, belted a 3-run homer and drove in 6 runs in leading the Blue Devils (7-1, 8-2) past the Panthers.
Also for Sharpsville, Bryan Stafford had 3 singles, Taylor Lenzi and Jake Bulick both ripped a pair of singles, Tanner Morris tallied 3 singles and 2 runs scored, Jalen Mockabee notched 2 singles and an RBI, Greg Popatak singled twice and scored 3 times, and Mitch Fyffe added 2 singles and 2 RBI. Lenzi earned the win. He fanned 2, walked 1 and gave up 3 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings of mound work.
Matt Jones pitched into the 5th frame and took the loss for CP. Offensively, Jones, Jason Forbes and Wade Peterson had 2 singles each.
ä Grove City 5, Slippery Rock 4 (11 inn.) — At Slippery Rock, Derek Saylor walked in the top of the 11th inning, Ryan Grace sacrificed him to 2nd base and Ben Lucas doubled in the run as the Eagles (4-0, 9-2) beat the Rockets.
Matt Gordon and Doug Horner both had 2 singles and an RBI for GC and Hodge doubled. Lucas earned the win. He pitched 9 innings of relief with 6 strikeouts, 7 walks (3 intentional) and gave up no runs on 3 hits. Hodge started and pitched 1 inning, then returned in the 11th frame to earn the save.
Mitch Robinson pitched the 9th, 10th and 11th innings for SR. He walked 2 and gave up 1 hit. Offensively for Slippery Rock, Jackson Kerchis had a 2-run double and Cody Stephenson collected 2 singles.
ä The Reynolds at Rocky Grove gave was postponed to May 3.
ä Sharpsville 13, Reynolds 10 — At Transfer, Rachel Harenchar belted a solo home run and a 3-run shot in the 7th inning in leading the Blue Darlings (5-1, 7-2) past the Lady Raiders.
Also for Sharpsville, Megan Whalen, Megan Davis and Elle Marrie all had 2 singles and McKenzie Popatak and Euguna Davies both doubled and singled. Maddie Shuttleworth went the distance for Sharpsville. She struck out 3 and gave up 18 hits.
Hailey Gearhart belted a pair of homers for Reynolds, Autumn Babcock and Kristen Shearer doubled and singled and Danielle Babcock and Hughes had 2 singles each. Gearhart suffered the loss on the mound. She fanned 8 and allowed 12 hits in going the distance.
ä Wilmington 8, Sharon 3 — At Wengler Field in Sharon, Abby Sotter fired a complete-game 5-hitter with 15 strikeouts and 6 walks as the Lady Hounds (4-1, 9-2) topped the Lady Tigers.
Courtney Cohen belted a 3-run homer and singled for Wilmington, Chelsea Rogel had 4 singles, Ashley Houck ripped a trio of singles and Alanna Elliott had a 2-run double.
Gabby Gadola was tagged with the loss. She struck out 2, issued 2 free passes and gave up 14 hits.
Kayla Reardon led the Lady Tigers at the plate with a pair of singles.
ä Conneaut Area 12, Grove City 4 — At Conneautville, GC starter Cassie Feather only lasted 1ìinnings as the Lady Eagles (3-10) fell to Conneaut (5-4). Feather struck out 1 and gave up no hits, but walked 5 batters. Maddie Elberty and Belle Chiodo also saw time on the mound for GC. Micaela King had 3 hits for GC while Payton McClearn collected 2 hits.
Sara Blair went the distance for Conneaut Area. She whiffed 5, walked 4 and allowed 10 hits. D. Hazen had 3 hits for the hosts.
ä Springfield Local 6, Brookfield 1 — At Brookfield Twp. Park, the visitors were paced by the pitching of Semazh, who struck out 8, walked 2 and surrendered only 3 hits. Troggi triggered the offense with a 3-for-3 plate performance that included a 2-run home run for Springfield Local (8-5).
For Brookfield (6-3), losing pitcher Alisha Quillen KO’d 8 and scattered 6 hits while walking 3. Quillen clouted her 1st career round-tripper, also.
ä The Corry at Hickory game was postponed to noon Saturday.
ä Meadville 3, Farrell 0 — At Farrell’s E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the host Steelers suffered a 25-10, 25-13, 25-14 sweep to the 5th-ranked team in the state in Class AA.
Farrell coach Dan Dragicevic said he was missing starters Austin Pinkins, Tyrone Archie and Anthony Pegues, all of whom were attending a kinesiology seminar at Penn State University.
“We had three starters out and played five freshmen, three of whom started. It was a good learning experience, and we got to see a lot of the younger kids,” Dragicevic said.
For Farrell (2-5), Trevor Austin (5 kills); Jalen Scott (9 assists); Chase Butler (6 digs) and Alex Meyers (6 assists) were the highlights.
MASH improved to 7-0.
JV: Meadville, 16-25, 23-25, 15-12
ä Grove City 4, Kennedy Catholic 1 — At Grove City, the Eagles (5-1, 11-1) swept singles play and battled KC tough to take 1-of-2 doubles matches.
Matt Welker, Evan Lowers and Chris Adams won the singles matches for GC. Both doubles matches went 3 sets with the Eagles’ Dylan Motta-Frankie Bassani winning at No. 1 and KC’s John McGonigle-Blase Hudson taking 2nd doubles.
Singles: Welker (GC) def. Nickolo Lima, 6-0, 6-0; Lowers (GC) def. Jesse Kirila, 6-3, 6-1; Adams (GC) def. Paul Fusco, 6-0, 6-0. Doubles: Motta-Bassani (GC) def. Stephens Edge-Drew Grabigel, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4; McGonigle-Hudson (KC) def. Kyle Yeakle-Andrew McCracken, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(10).
BOYS TRACK & FIELD
ä Greenville 76, Slippery Rock 74 — Nick Scovil (100-meter dash), Christian McElhaney (1600-meter run), and Devin Sulick (intermediate hurdles) posted season bests for the triumphant Trojans. Sulick was returning from a fractured scapula, coach Mark Hayes reported.
Scovil also won the 200-meter dash and lent a leg to the winning sprint-relay team, which was anchored by freshman newcomer Sergei Stainbrook, who was subbing for injured standout Luke Houpt.
Northcott notched a double-double in the discus and javelin and Sam Furrh finished 1st in the long and triple jumps for Slippery Rock.
BOYS TRACK & FIELD
GREENVILLE 76, SLIP. ROCK 74
3200 relay — Slippery Rock (Jones, Cessar, Anna, Magliocca), 8:40.4; 110 hurdles — McCall (SR), 16.8; 100 — Scovil (G), 11.4; 1600 — McElhaney (G),4:43.7; 400 — Trumball (G), 54.2; 400 relay — Greenville (Rickert, VanAken, Scovil, Stainbrook), 45.9; 300 hurdles — Sulick (G), 43.4; 800 — McElhaney (G), 2:08.1; 200 — Scovil (G), 24.2; 3200 — Bickle (SR), 10:33.3; 1600 relay — Greenville (Hecking, Riffe, Gearhart, Trumball), 3:41.9; Shot put — Weaver (G), 44-1; Discus — Northcott (SR), 123-6; Javelin — Northcott (SR), 144-7; Long jump — Furrh (SR), 20-1; Triple jump — Furrh (SR), 40-0; High jump — Kirkwood (SR), 5-10; Pole vault — Gerlach (SR), 11-6.
Twenty-thirteen has not been the best of seasons in Hickory High’s proud baseball program annals.
Hickory falls to Lions in PIAA Class AA western region final
SLIPPERY ROCK — Brett Brumbaugh brought Bill Brest back to reality.
Brest seemed, Saturday afternoon, momentarily lost in thought when a post-game question was posed. Perhaps it was because it had been 3 months since he had experienced the disappointment of defeat.
Brumbaugh-led South Fayette’s football team short-circuited a splendid season a step shy of the statewide stage for Brest and Hickory High with a 23-20 win over the Hornets in the PIAA Class AA western regional championship game.
SPORTVIEW: Browns, Steelers will both lose
THE CLEVELAND Browns quarterback position has been a revolving door this season, but at least one of the more successful signal-callers is back. Jason Campbell is recovered from a concussion and will start.
Does it really matter?
Roundup: Opening-weekend tipoff tourneys conclude
Kittanning Tipoff Championship
ä Hickory 60, Kittanning 32 — Coach Jeannette Whitehead’s Lady Hornets had an impressive weekend in winning the opening tourney of the season.
“It’s nice to get out of the game with a win,” said Whitehead. “The kids were anxious to get going.”
2013-14 hoops season begins with tipoff tourneys
Farrell Julius McCoy Tipoff Tourney
ä Kennedy Catholic 48, Imani Christian Academy 40 — The Golden Eagles set up an all local rematch with host Farrell by pulling away in the fourth quarter in a tight battle.
For KC, Gerald Zachar and Sam Crow each scored 13 points to pace the victory, Brown had 14 and Southerner 12 for Imani.
Brookfield boys win season-opener against Py Valley
It was a typical season-opener: Too many turnovers, some questionable shot selection, and careless personal fouls. But for Brookfield High boys’ bench boss Bill Kovach, “ ... always happy with a win.”
The Warriors were 7-for-10 from the free-throw line during the 4th frame, and held off Pymatuning Valley, 59-48, Tuesday night.
Hornets advance to semis with win over Central
DuBOIS, PA. — Some people could say the “third time is a charm.” For the Hickory High Hornets it was much more than that. In fact, it was glorious.
After losing in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs the last two years, the Hornets finally nailed down a victory with a 37-27 triumph over the Central Dragons from Martinsburg.
Lakeview falls to Clarion Area in PIAA quarterfinals
SLIPPERY ROCK — In the scholastic athletic arena, “mercy rule” — while not politically correct in hyper-sensitive 2013 society — is a relatively accepted term.
Clarion High’s football had mercy-ruled all 13 prior opponents this season. And the Bobcats seemed bent on continuing their commanding conquests during Saturday’s PIAA Class A quarterfinal-round meeting with Lakeview.
Hickory focused on winning PIAA opener
The calendar reminds us that Thanksgiving arrives a little later than usual this year. But as holiday traditions go, this one has been pretty productive for Hickory High head football coach Bill Brest.
“My wife always has me put up our Christmas tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving ... and the next day, we’ve won. So I’ll be more than happy to help my wife put up the tree this Friday,” Brest related.
During the past 2 years Hickory has won District 10 titles on Thanksgiving weekend. But this year the Hornets harvested their 3rd consecutive crown last week, jettisoning Girard (21-10). Now Hickory (11-1) has a 1 p.m. date in DuBois Saturday against surprising Central-Martinsburg (11-2) in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals.
Smart move by PIAA to schedule games early this weekend
Congratulations to the PIAA for making a good move that helps teams and fans of high school sports.
Wow, I haven’t been able to say that often enough!
But many of the high school football games this coming weekend will be played in the afternoon which is a real plus for traveling on possibly snow-blown highways at this time of the year.
Hornets 3-peat as D-10 champs with win vs. Girard
EDINBORO — When legendary coach Vince Lombardi said “the only good thing that comes from losing is the desire never to lose again,” he could very well have been referencing the future for Coach Bill Brest and his Hickory Hornets.
Since Hickory lost to Sharon, 14-6, in the 2010 District 10 finals in Brest’s first year at the helm of the team, the D-10 Class AA title game has belonged to Hickory. And Saturday afternoon at Edinboro University’s Sox Harrison Stadium, it was no different as the Hornets topped Girard, 21-10 for a third straight crown.
Sailors beat Devils to capture 1st District 10 title
NEW WILMINGTON — Lakeview may have a long way to go to equal Sharpsville’s success in the sport of football, but the Sailors jump-started the process Friday night.
With Blake Reddick roaring into the record book, the Sailors shut out Sharpsville, 27-0, in the District 10 Class A championship game at Greyhounds Stadium.
Hornets seek 3-peat Saturday vs. Girard
Bill Brest ... buffer?
Hickory High’s head football coach has broad shoulders and that’s necessary, because he’s taking on all distractions as his Hornets prepare for Saturday’s District 10 Class AA championship game.
Hickory (10-1) will attempt to hoist the D-10 trophy for a 3rd consecutive season when the Hornets journey to Girard’s backyard — Edinboro University’s Sox Harrison Stadium — to meet the Yellow Jackets at 1 p.m.
Hickory rolls past Northwestern in D-10 semifinals
SLIPPERY ROCK — They say that “Familiarity breeds contempt.” You can bet the Northwestern Wildcats are feeling a bit of the latter for the Hickory Hornets!
For a third straight season Hickory eliminated the northerners from the District 10 Class AA playoffs, this time by a 52-14 score in the semifinals Saturday night at Slippery Rock University’s Thompson-Mihalik Stadium.
Greenville falls to Girard in D-10 semifinals
ERIE — District 10 was destined for a Class AA championship game between reigning 2-time titlist Hickory and Greenville.
But no one informed the Girard High football team of the plans.
“ … This is pretty cool … I’m pretty fired up about it,” admitted 4th-year Yellow Jackets’ head coach Jim Funk after Girard jolted Greenville, 16-14.
SPORTVIEW: Season fate could be decided today for Browns, Steelers
IT MAKES NO sense to say that one game determines the rest of the season. That’s why I’ll simply say: Today’s one game determines the rest of the season.
Since when did my predictions make sense anyhow?
The Cleveland Browns’ visit to Cincinnati today will go a long way to deciding if the Browns have a shot at making the playoffs — and even winning the AFC North title — or if they should start planning for the NFL draft.
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- Hickory falls to Lions in PIAA Class AA western region final