MERCER COUNTY —
SLIPPERY ROCK — Monday was a pretty good day for Saegertown High School.
Just mere hours after the Lady Panthers won the District 10 Class A softball championship, the Saegertown baseball team (19-2) captured its third straight D-10 Class AA title with a convincing 10-3 victory over Sharpsville (15-6) at Slippery Rock University’s Jack Critchfield Park.
“We knew going into the game that Saegertown’s a pretty good team and they’ve been a pretty good team for the past few years,” Blue Devils coach Mike Sikorski said. “I think they’ve been in the District 10 Championship the past four years. They’re a solid team, a very good team. They’re very patient at the plate and when they get their pitches, they hit them.”
Despite the lopsided final verdict, the Blue Devils attacked the Panthers early on when Bryan Stafford reached on a game-opening error and stole second before being gunned down on a near perfect throw from Saegertown centerfielder Kyle Wise to catcher Tyler Walters on Mitch Fyffe’s single. Fyffe made it to third with two away, but was stranded.
“Yeah, I probably got a little agressive early on ... I got excited,” said Sikorski. “The kid had a good arm. You notice who has good arms in the infield and in the outfield or the guy who isn’t going to put it on the cutoff or throw it up the line. We took a chance and ultimately looking at the score now, it didn’t kill us. But maybe it killed a chance for a little momentum for our guys.”
A pair of Sharpsville errors and a pair of walks greatly aided Saegertown in a 4-run first-inning explosion.
“We made some errors early on,” Sikorski said. “It was one of those things were we came out and weren’t completely ready. If you want to move in the playoffs, you have to play a tight game defensively.”
In the second, Sharpsville was making some one-out noise when Taylor Lenzi and Tanner Morris made it to second and third, but weak grounders back to Saegertown starter Matt Thompson ended the threat.
“(Saegertown) did a good job of keeping runners back and doing what they do,” Sikorski said. “They did what they needed to do. We needed to put the ball in play and make something happen. We can’t be striking out or hitting weak groundballs where our guys can’t advance. You have to advance runners if you’re going to make an out.”
By the time Sharpsville’s offense finally cracked the scoreboard in the sixth off reliever Luke Basko, Saegertown was already up 8-0.
Fyffe opened the inning with a double before scoring on Greg Popatak’s triple. After Jalen Mockabee was plunked, Tyler Wansack singled home Popatak and sent Mockabee to third. Mockabee, then, scored on an attempted double steal that erased Wansack from the basepaths.
“We started to pick up a little bit and started to square on the ball,” Sikorski said. “I think our region was one of the toughest in all of District 10. All our games were tight games and it prepared us to play a team like this. I’m thankful for league being like that, because it prepares our guys from getting so far down that they can’t come back out. We’ve come back from a two-run deficit (in the past) to win the game.”
Fyffe singled twice and doubled to pace Sharpsville, while Morris also singled twice.
“We have made the playoffs in each of the past four years, but we’ve gotten upset,” Sikorski said. “Hopefully, we get back next year. “We had five sophomores (see significant playing time this year), so we have a pretty good squad coming back. We have some sophomores that will be juniors next year that will help us on the mound. We have some freshmen that got some time.
“(The 2013 Sharpsville seniors are) a great bunch of guys. None of them have ever been a problem. You tell them to run through a wall and they’ll go do it. They’re great kids. They love to play the game and play it hard.”
Notes:Saegertown will play WPIAL No. 3 seed either Quaker Valley or Beaver in the first round of the PIAA Playoffs June 3 at Jerry Uht Park. ... Sharpsville became the only team to score against Saegertown in the postseason and were just the fifth team to score more than 1 run against the Panthers. ... Lenzi was handed the loss on the mound, surrendering 8 runs on 7 hits, 4 walks. ... George Keck pitched the final inning for Sharpsville. ... Tyler Walters homered, singled twice and drove in 5 runs to lead Sharpsville. ... Matt Thompson picked up the win by tossing 5 innings of 5-hit, 1-walk, 2-strike out ball.
In other District 10 Championship action,
ä Slippery Rock 7, Warren 6 (9 innings) — At SRU, the sixth-seeded Rockets (14-7) secured the school’s first baseball district title with the thrilling victory over third seeded Warren (15-6) in the Class AAA finale.
Cody Stephenson doubled home Travis Lauster, who opened the seventh with a single and advanced to second on a Dragon error.
Slippery Rock took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, but Warren answered with a 6-run third inning.
From there, the Dragons managed just 3 hits off Stephenson over the next 6 innings as the Rockets scratched and clawed back into the game.
Slippery Rock scored a run in the third and 3 in the fifth to force extra innings.
Stephenson pitched all 9 innings, allowing 6 runs on 8 hits, 6 strikeouts and 2 walks. Ryan Lauster tripled and drove in 2 runs for SR, while Stephenson, Joe Barnhart and Jackson Kerchis each doubled.
MERCER COUNTY —
SLIPPERY ROCK — Monday was a pretty good day for Saegertown High School.
Roundup: SR girls beat Sharpsville; Greenville wins region opener
ä Slippery Rock 43, Sharpsville 36 — At Sharpsville, the visiting Rockets roared to a 15-2 first-quarter lead, then had to weather the Blue Devils’ rally in the inter-region affair.
Six-foot post Nicole Papley pumped in 13 points for Slippery Rock (2-1), while Eugena Davies drilled 11 and Emily Anderson added 10 for Sharpsville (1-3).
Roundup: Hickory rolls past Sharon; WM boys beat Strong Vincent
Hickory High Head Coach Jeanette Whitehead had a unique problem Saturday afternoon: Trying to find flaws with her Lady Hornets’ 64-25 humbling of Sharon.
“Hickory’s going to take it one game at a time, and hope to improve in each practice and each game. We’re trying to get that balance ... just trying to tweak,” Whitehead summarized.
SPORTVIEW: Higher draft picks are rewards for Steelers, Browns
EVERYONE knows that’s it’s hard to win a football game in New England. One reason is quarterback Tom Brady.
And now apparently after the Patriots late-game rally over the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, there’s another major reason — the referees!
While I rarely like to blame refs — because I’ve always believed that you should never put yourself in a position where the zebras can determine the outcome of a game — there were two calls that greatly assisted the Pats.
Roundup: Farrell edges Hickory at 'The Hive,' 67-62
The late, legendary coach Jim Valvano coined the term “Survive and Advance” as his 1983 North Carolina State basketball team won the NCAA championship.
Without being too melodramatic, survive and advance may be the key to success in District 10 Region 5-AAA in 2013-14.
Farrell High boys basketball team did not shoot particularly well and made almost many turnovers as it committed; however the Steelers survived host Hickory, 67-62, Friday night at The Hive in Hermitage.
Roundup: GC girls edge Sharpsville; Hickory, Mercer win
ä Grove City 40, Sharpsville 37 — At the Devils’ Den in Sharpsville, the visiting Lady Eagles escaped with their record remaining unscathed; however it was not until the final 2.6 ticks to play.
With Sharpsville on the short end of a 38-37 margin, Grove City committed the last of its 7 second-half turnovers with 27 seconds left.
LOCAL COLLEGE SPORTS: Thiel's Schafer picked for NCAA Pathway Program
Thiel College assistant director of athletics and senior woman administrator Amy Schafer was one of just 12 individuals recently selected for the NCAA 2014 Pathway Program.
The Pathway Program exists to assist minority and/or female administrators who wish to become director of athletics as their next career step through education, training and mentoring. The program is designed to provide national exposure to its participants and to generate the opportunity to glean information and career guidance from the leadership of intercollegiate athletics administrators throughout the country.
Reynolds 20-year home mat streak halted
They say that all good things must end. Even winning streaks of local powerhouse Reynolds High wrestling team!
The Raiders of coach Casey Taylor dropped a tough 30-25 decision to Erie McDowell Tuesday night at Reynolds, the first home loss for the Raiders since 1993.
The Class AAA Trojans (2-0) last year rallied from a large deficit to beat Class AA Reynolds in Erie, 38-33. On Tuesday, the northerners also rallied from a 25-21 deficit in the final two matches to halt the streak.
Roundup: Sharon rallies to beat WM, 72-56
When West Middlesex High’s wonderful 2013 Final Four run ended last March 22, it was at Sharon’s Tiger gymnasium. And while Tuesday night’s circumstances were considerably less dramatic, they ended similarly.
The Big Reds built a 20-8 first-quarter bulge. Ultimately, however, West Middlesex made 27 miscues, resulting in a 72-56 District 10 inter-region setback at Sharon.
Roundup: WM girls beat UC; Sharpsville, KC fall
ä West Middlesex 52, Union City 27 — At Union City, coach Mike Williams’ Region 1-A Ms. Reds improved to 2-1 with a win over the Lady Bears of Region 4-AA.
Alyson Pierce scored 15 to lead WM, Noelle Murray registered 13 points and Allie Staunch bucketed 10 markers.
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.
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- Roundup: SR girls beat Sharpsville; Greenville wins region opener