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.
Breese defends heavyweight title at PIAA Championships
HERSHEY, Pa. — Move over Rod Wright!
Lakeview senior heavyweight star Sam Breese had a goal coming into the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships this weekend at Hershey Giant Center — besides winning a second state crown, that is.
WM knocks off Neshannock in PIAA playoffs
SLIPPERY ROCK — The notion of Trey Staunch sneaking up on opposing teams is laughable. At 6-foot-3 and approximately 225 pounds, the stout Staunch is not sneaking up on anyone.
However after posting a game-high 31-point, 18-rebound performance in West Middlesex High basketball team’s 76-66 PIAA Class AA playoffs opening-round win over Neshannock Saturday night, Staunch said opponents may have been overlooking the Big Reds.
Hickory girls 26-0, oust Johnstown
SLIPPERY ROCK — At Morrow Field House Saturday evening, the Hickory Lady Hornets kept the perfect season alive with a 63-37 state playoff first round win over the Greater Johnstown Trojans from District 6.
“It feels great to get the win (Saturday),” said veterans Hickory coach Jeanette Whitehead. “We’ve been at this place over the last few years and we’ve been sent home in the first round so it was a huge win for us. I’m very proud of our team effort."
KC girls roll past California in PIAA playoffs
SLIPPERY ROCK — Kennedy Catholic High girls’ basketball team was in the ’hood Saturday afternoon.
Led by senior Taylor Hood, the Lady Golden Eagles eased past California, 53-34, in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
Lakeview's Breese to defend PIAA title
HERSHEY, Pa. — If you are Major League Baseball player, a .333 batting average is great. But in wrestling at the state tournament — not so much!
Out of the dozen wrestlers that Mercer County sent to Hershey for the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships, only four (.333) will reach the medal stand today — led by Lakeview senior Sam Breese who shoots for a second straight gold medal.
Farrell edges Montour, 60-57, in PIAA opener
Montour High boys’ basketball coach Adam Kaufman lamented another season-ending setback. However there are several hundred coaches across the Commonwealth who envy his program’s recent success and would trade places with him in a heartbeat.
But during Friday night’s PIAA Class AAA playoff opener, Kaufman & Co. could not overcome those streaky Steelers ... those survivin’ Steelers.
“ ... Hey, survive and move on,” summarized Steelers’ skipper Roland Shannonhouse following Farrell’s 60-57 win at Sharon High.
GCC ousts Mercer in 1st round of PIAAs
The Mercer Lady Mustangs were outscored 16-4 in the final quarter of the first round of the state playoffs by the Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions, ending their season Friday night 56-31 at Sharon High School.
Senior Lexie Arkwright had a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double performance for the Lady M’s. She also snagged three steals. Adelyn Cook and Haylie Glass each added 4 points for Mercer.
5 area matmen to quarterfinals in Hershey
HERSHEY — Mercer County matmen had mixed results on the opening day of action in the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center.
Only 5 of the county’s dozen entries — led by defending state champ Sam Breese of Lakeview (285) — won their preliminary matches to move into the tournament quarterfinals which begin at 9 a.m. today. However the other 7 lost their first matches, although 3 are still alive in the consolations heading into this morning’s action.
Coach Chad Mild's Big Reds are road warriors
West Middlesex High boys basketball team did not play its first home game until after the first of the year, but competing at New Castle, Farrell and Youngstown’s Covelli Centre has served it well.
Witness West Middlesex’s 55-54 win over Fairview in last weekend’s District 10 Class AA championship game — at Edinboro University’s McComb Field House.
Boys PIAA basketball preview boxes
Who: Farrell (22-3) vs. Montour (16-8).
What: Opening round.
When: 7:30 p.m. today.
Where: Sharon High’s Tiger Gymnasium.
Hickory, Mercer, KC girls PIAA playoff boxes
Who: Hickory (25-0) vs. Greater Johnstown (11-14).
What: PIAA Playoffs, 1st round.
When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Slippery Rock University.
Shannonhouse's Steelers set for statewide stage
With the approaching spring, a young man’s fancy turns to ... what else? The PIAA playoffs. And when Shenango Valley scholastic basketball aficionados think of the postseason they think of Farrell.
Recently at E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the banners above were blowing in the breeze — ’52 ... ’54 ... ’56 ... ’59 ... ’60 ... ’69 ... ’72 — swaying as sprinting players created a vacuum of air rising from the floor. Melodramatic maybe, but there’s a feeling at Farrell that harkens back to the heyday when playoff success was a rite of passage.
Breese eyes repeat at state mat tourney
There is no doubt that winning a state championship in wrestling is a difficult thing to do. Winning two is even tougher.
“There’s a target on your chest,” pointed out Lakeview High coach Tom Tingley in preseason this year, referring to his star wrestler Sam Breese who won a state heavyweight crown as a junior last year.
Obviously that target hasn’t bothered the Sailors big man who is a perfect 32-0 this season as he attempts to become only the 12th Mercer County matman to win multiple titles.
WRESTLING NOTEBOOK: It's a young group of county matmen headed to state
THERE’S definitely a youth movement in Mercer County wrestling as demonstrated by the group of 11 matmen who are advancing to the PIAA State Class AA Championships on Thursday.
Eight of the locals are underclassmen. The only seniors are Lakeview’s Sam Breese (285), Reynolds’ Levi Stoyer (145) and Jamestown’s Mohamed Messai (182).
Breese and Stoyer are the only returning state place-winners. Breese, who has verbally committed to Kent State University to wrestle next season, won the heavyweight class and is seeking a second gold medal. Stoyer placed 7th at 145 and wants to climb much higher on the medals stand.
Kennedy boys forfeit win, are out of playoffs
The PIAA basketball playoffs do not begin until Friday, but Mercer County already lost a team.
Kennedy Catholic High disclosed Monday the discovery of an academically-ineligible player, who competed in last Friday’s District 10 Class A consolation contest.
Kennedy Catholic edged Eisenhower in double-OT, 66-62, earning a berth in the statewide tournament. The Golden Eagles were to meet District 9 champion Ridgway Friday at Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium in the opening round; instead, Eisenhower will represent D-10 as its 3rd-place team.
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- Breese defends heavyweight title at PIAA Championships