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.
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.
Raiders win 17th region title; 11 locals to Hershey
When Reynolds senior Levi Stoyer came off the mat after his 145-pound championship at the Northwest AA Regional Championships, he wasn’t celebrating his second straight crown. Instead, he turned to head coach Casey Taylor and said, “I did it for the team.”
And the team needed it!
Stoyer defeated Brookville’s Zach Vroman, 3-0, and sent Reynolds on its way to the school’s 17th region team title Saturday night at Sharon High School. Reynolds finished with 147 points, to Brookville’s 138.
Hickory girls capture 1st district title since 1983
MEADVILLE — Depending upon peoples’ perceptions, 31 years can seem like a lifetime ... but so can 16 minutes.
Hickory High girls’ basketball program’s District 10 drought ended Saturday afternoon as perennial power Villa Maria virtually vanished from the 2nd-half scoreboard.
The Lady Hornets erased a 7-point halftime deficit by yielding just 4 second-half points en route to a 39-24 victory over Villa Maria in the District 10 Class AAA championship game.
KC beats Cochranton for 4th straight D-10 crown
MEADVILLE — Everybody is on April Bocian’s bandwagon — and rightly so. But Tatum Kress helped keep Kennedy Catholic High girls’ basketball program atop District 10’s Class A competition.
Kress connected for all 14 of her points during the 2nd half Saturday afternoon, keying the Kennedy Catholic to a 49-38 conquest of Cochranton.
McLane rallies to beat Mercer in AA title tilt
In 1986, the Mercer Lady M’s won the school’s first and only girls basketball District 10 title at Edinboro University’s McComb Field House, but in the same gym on Saturday in 2014, the squad in blue wasn’t so lucky.
Mercer led the Gen. McLane Lady Lancers 27-19 entering the fourth quarter, but the Lancers outscored the Lady M’s 19-4 in the final frame to win the Class AA title tilt 38-31.
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