The early-spring weather has been unseasonably cold, but Sharpsville High baseball team’s bats were ablaze Friday afternoon.
It was Blue Devils’ double digits for the 2nd time in as many days, as Sharpsville scored 10 sixth-inning runs en route to a 20-12 District 10 Region 2-AA rout of Hickory.
At Hermitage, the Blue Devils drilled 20 base hits, including 3 apiece from Tyler Wansack, Jake Bulick, winning pitcher Taylor Lenzi and Mitchell Fyffe. Also, Greg Popatak produced a 2-for-3, 4-runs scored, 4-RBI outing and Jalen Mockabee mustered 2 more hits, plated another pair, and tallied 3 times. Leadoff hitter Bryan Stafford strode to the plate 6 times in 7 stanzas and stroked 2 hits, also.
On an inside-out swing the lefthanded-hitting Popatak pounded a 3-run home run to the left-center field gap during the 2nd stanza.
Sharpsville was skunked 11-1 in 5 frames in its season-opener by Commodore Perry on Wednesday, but dropped a dozen runs on Lakeview on Thursday in a 12-7 win. On Friday, the Blue Devils did everything but kick a PAT following their 3rd touchdown.
“You don’t want to use the first time on the field (Wednesday) as an excuse. We didn’t hit and we didn’t field well. The team that went out there wasn’t the team that we know is gonna be out there,” admitted Sharpsville skipper Mike Sikorski. “The Lakeview game we moved, because of the weather ... we kind’ve got our momentum going with our infield (defense) and hitting, and got some confidence.
“And this is how I expected our team to hit,” Sikorski said. “We hit very well, but, again, our fielding needs to keep us in games.”
Hickory actually held a 9-8 lead through 5 frames. Lenzi balked home the tying run with 2 outs, then Matt Delmonaco drove in the go-ahead run with a single to center.
However in the 6th Sharpsville sent 14 batters to the plate, beginning with Wansack’s seemingly harmless infield single off Hickory reliever Andrew Derrick. Fyffe flared a run-scoring single down the right-field line, followed by Stafford’s bloop-single against a drawn-in infield. Subsequently, Derrick and reliever Anthony Cannone issued bases-loaded walks, and Wansack whacked a 2-run single on his 2nd trip of the inning, Bulick banged another 2-run bingle, followed by Ross Llewellyn’s run-scoring single.
The right-handed starter Lenzi allowed 11 runs on 13 hits in 5-plus innings (97 pitches, 56 for strikes). But buoyed by southpaw George Keck’s 2 innings of relief, was credited with the win for Sharpsville (1-1, 2-1).
“It’s been a rough year, getting out(side) later than normal,” Sikorski observed. “Normally, by Easter it’s 65, 70 degrees and you can get out and get your ‘reps,’ working on your defense, bunt coverages, but we really haven’t had a chance to do that yet, other than in the gym.”
For Hickory (0-5), Nate Mastrian manufactured a 4-for-5 plate performance that included a double and 2 ribbies; Brady Leunis lent 2 hits including a double and 3 RBI; Delmonaco drove in 3 more runs on 2 hits, while Steve Piston pounded a pair of hits, including a 2-run double.
Stingers’ starter Tony Stigliano lasted only 1ê innings after yielding 5 runs on 6 hits, while reliever Jason Gay — greeted, on his 2nd pitch, by Popatak’s 3-run ’dinger — permitted 3 runs on 4 hits in 2-plus innings. Derrick actually struck out the side, sandwiched by a walk, in the 5th, before tiring. Cannone — whose diving catch in center field on Fyffe’s liner saved 2 runs in the 4th — also took a turn on the hill, as did Delmonaco. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Grove City 12, Gen. McLane 2 (6 inn.) — At Grove City’s Memorial Park, the Eagles’ season-opening homestand continued with another win.
Winning pitcher Matt Gordon garnered 9 strikeouts and permitted just 2 hits and 2 walks. Also for Grove City (3-1), Ben Lucas laced a hit and tallied 3 times, Jordan Anderson added a single and 3 ribbies,a nd Jesse Hodges had 2 hits and 3 RBI.
Losing Lancers’ hurler Hendricks had a rough 1st frame, allowing 3 runs.
Veteran mentor Pat Forese’s Eagles entertain Fort LeBoeuf today at 1 p.m.
ä Grove City 5, Sharon 0 — At Buhl Park, the visiting Eagles improved to a perfect 3-0 with the sweep of the Tigers on Friday.
Matt Welker, Evan Lowers and Chris Adams swept singles play for Grove City while the teams of Frankie Bassani and Ravi Patel and Kyle Yeakle and Lee Wishing prevailed in doubles play.
Singles: Welker (GC) def. John Benedetto, 6-1, 6-0; Lowers (GC) def. Doug McVehil, 6-1, 6-0; Adams (GC) def. Jack Evans, 6-2, 6-2. Doubles: Bassani-Patel (GC) def. Dylan Cerroni-Steven Merchant, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Yeakle-Wishing (GC) def. Skyler Villegas-Ross Ballard, 6-1, 6-2.
ä Wilmington 6, West Middlesex 2 — At New Wilmington, Abby Sotter fanned 7, walked 2 and only allowed 4 hits in a complete-game performance for the Lady Hounds (2-0).
Cassidy Marett had 2 singles and a double for Wilmington, Lexi Donati ripped a pair of doubles, Alanna Elliott had 3 singles and Courtney Cohen added 2 singles.
Jordyn Allen went the distance on the mound for the Ms. Reds. She struck out 5, issued 4 walks and gave up 12 hits.
Offensively for WM, Taylor Gilliland tripled and singled and Aly Andrusky and Megan Taylor both doubled.
ä Sharon 13, Commodore Perry 3 (5 inn.) — At Wengler Field in Sharon, Mallory Torr and Danielle Steiner both belted 2-run homers in leading the Lady Tigers (2-0) past the Lady Panthers.
Torr also singled, Kristina Jacoway tripled, singled and drove in 3 runs and Marissa Monnin added 2 singles.
Gabby Gadola went the distance for Sharon. She struck out 5 batters, issued no walks and gave up 6 hits.
Emily Sanner went the distance for CP. She had 1 strikeouts, 7 walks and surrendered 9 hits.
Offensively for the Lady Panthers, Sanner and Alexis Nagy both doubled and Devon Sernik ripped a pair of doubles.
ä Jamestown 4, Cambridge Springs 3 (10 inn.) — At Jamestown, the Lady Muskies (2-1) pulled out the win in 10 frames.
In the 10th, each team starts with a runner on second base. Nicole McElhaney sacrificed Makela Rust to third base and Jessica Arnold drove Rust in with a ground ball.
McElhaney ripped 3 singles for Jamestown, Lindsey Gurrerini and Mackenzie Adams both doubled and singled and Marissa Hetrich and Brenda Kaller had 2 singles each.
Erynn Williams went the distance for Jamestown. She whiffed 11 batters, walked 4 and gave up 12 hits.
Kayla Parkin pitched all 10 frames for Cambridge Springs. She struck out 8, issued 4 walks and allowed 14 hits. Tori Hall had 4 singles for CS.
ä Liberty 4, Brookfield 2 — At Brookfield Twp. Park, the Lady Warriors (1-1) suffered a 2-run loss to the Lady Leopards.
Ashley Custer suffered the loss. She fanned 6 and walked 1 in 3 innings of mound duty.
Ciara Rotunno had 2 hits and drove in the lone run for Brookfield and Michaela Gauding doubled.
ä Titusville 17, Grove City 2 (3 inn.) — At Titusville, Shana Grosch, Amy Clark and Kim Finley all homered as the Lady Rockets beat GC (0-3).
Grosch, who also earned the win with 2 strikeouts, 1 walk and 4 hits, also singled, Clark doubled and singled and Finley and Kate Garrett both doubled.
Maddie Elberty took the loss for GC. She walked 2 and gave up 11 runs on 9 hits in 1 inning.
Taylor Shingledecker belted a 2-run homer for the Lady Eagles and Katie Maine doubled.
The early-spring weather has been unseasonably cold, but Sharpsville High baseball team’s bats were ablaze Friday afternoon.
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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HERE ARE some thoughts from a guy who might have made a few “rookie mistakes” in his life, ala Johnny Manziel.
Johnny Football admitted this past week that he made some rookie mistakes. Really?
Usually rookie mistakes for most NFL newbies are throwing into coverage or fumbling the football because you don’t tuck it tightly to your side.
NFL NOTEBOOK: Ex-Sharon star Austin hopes to spark Lions' defense
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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Matthew Sandusky, the adopted son of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, is breaking his silence for the first time since his father's 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, sitting down with Oprah to tell his story.
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!