At Buhl Farm Park, the annual event was won by Warren (65), which outdistanced Grove City (19), Greenville (18), Hickory (16), Sharon (11), Titusville and Kennedy Catholic (6), Rocky Grove (3), and Meadville and Oil City (0).
Matt and Nathan Sandberg and Conner Clendenen won Warren’s singles crowns, as did the doubles duos of Grayson Foley-Nick Tarpenning, Ylli Bakalli-Liam Boger, Bryce Bauer-Phil Hachula and Dylan Hansen-Nathan Schultz.
Greenville’s Chad Ferguson, at 1st singles, was Mercer County’s lone titlist in the 10-team, 164-player field, tournament director Sue McLaughlin reported.
The event is sponsored by the Buhl Frm Park tennis program.
ä 1st — Semifinals: Ferguson (G) def. Matt Welker (GC), 8-3; Shane Burns (W) def. Ross Rosati (H), 8-0. Championship: Ferguson def. Burns, 10-9(7-4).
ä 2nd — Semifinals: M.Sandberg def. Seth Jaussen (G), 8-3; John Smaltz (H) def. Doug McVehil (S), 8-1. Championship: Sandberg def. Smaltz, 10-4.
ä 3rd — Semifinals: N.Sandberg def. Jesse Kirila (KC), 8-2; Chris Adams (G), def. Mike Funera (H), 8-7(7-2). Championship: Sandberg def. Adams, 10-0.
ä 4th — Semifinals: Clendenen def. Skylar Villegas (S), 8-4; Mercer Martin (G) def. Josiah Leach (T), 8-1. Championship: Clendenen def. Martin, 10-7.
ä 1st — Semifinals: Foley-Tarpenning def. Dylan Motta-Frankie Bassani (GC), 8-1; Nick Petrochko-Nelson Murphy (H) def. Stephens Edge-Drew Grabigel (KC), 8-7(7-1). Championship: Foley-Tarpenning def. Petrohko-Murphy, 10-2.
ä 2nd — Semifinals: Bakalli-Boger def. Devon Pettit-Faith Champion (T), 8-1; Brandon Bittler-Darin Perozich (S) def. Kyle Yeakle-Andrew McCracken (GC), 8-5. Championship: Bakalli-Boger def. Bittler-Perozich, 10-7.
ä 3rd — Semifinals: Bauer-Hachula def. Travis Williams-Jake Cochran (RG), 8-2; Ravi Patel-Lee Wishing (GC) def. Joseph Wizorek-Travis Harakal (G), 8-0. Championship: Bauer-Hachula def. Patel-Wishing, 10-8.
ä 4th — Semifinals: Hansen-Schultz def. Sean McGinnis-Tristan Boger (W), 8-7(7-2); Eric & Mark Cecco def. Neil Morrison-Noah Colvin (W), 8-5. Championship: Hansen-Schultz def. Cecco-Cecco, 10-8.
ä Sharon 7, Commodore Perry 6 — For Sharon High’s baseball team, it’s a process of elimination.
That’s not to imply the Tigers have been eliminated from a postseason berth — quite the contrary, as Sharon stalks Sharpsville in the Region 2-AA race.
But the Tigers’ approach in pursuing the playoffs is to take each outing as a win-or-go-home scenario, such as Wednesday’s 7-6 win over Commodore Perry.
“We’ve been approaching these games like they’re elimination games,” Tigers’ taskmaster Mike Tomko began. “We drew a game closer to Sharpsville — though I know they were playing (Wednesday), too — and we have two big games next week with Wilmington and Sharpsville.
“But, each game is an elimination game. Each game gives us 21 more outs, that’s how we’re approaching it,” Tomko added.
Vinnie Shaffer did not succeed in a save situation, but took the Tigers to the triumph at Johnny Pepe Field.
After surrendering Kendal King’s clutch 2-out, 2-run, game-tying single in the 6th stanza, Shaffer made amends in the home half.
Pinch-hitter Jonathon Williams’ leadoff grounder was bobbled, then he was sacrificed into scoring position by Justin Stefanowicz’s bunt. One out late Nick Carlo collected a 4-pitch walk from Panthers’ reliever Tyler Fattman, setting the stage for Shaffer.
On a 2-1 pitch, Shaffer singled to right-center for the go-ahead score, then retired the Panthers on only 7 pitches in the 7th to secure his 2nd win of the season.
“It was kind’ve gutsy,” Shaffer assesssed, echoing Tomko, “We’ve been preachin’ 21 outs gets us another game, so I knew coming in I had to get six outs, and that’s all I had to do.”
For the 2nd time this season hard-luck Sharon starter Cody Frazier’s fine performance did not result in a win. The right-handed Frazier’s 5-plus frames included 69 pitches (44 strikes), 6 hits, 3 walks and 3 strikeouts.
Shaffer entered with a runner on and no outs in the 5th. He struck out Matt Jones and enticed Daniel Addison’s ground out. However he left his 1-2 pitch out over the plate to No. 8 hitter Trevor Mitchell, and the latter responded with a run-scoring single, drawing the Panthers within 6-4.
After back-to-back singles from Fattman and Andy Jones, Kendal’s clean single’s through the box knotted the count at 6, with the fleet Fattman scoring the equalizer on a slide past Sharon backstop Josh Nichols’ tag.
“It was good to see that. We’d been a little flat through the past couple games. So to respond like that, I told them is a little heartbeat in a flat-line, so that’s a good thing for us,” 2nd-year Commodore Perry skipper Steve Pinney assessed. “A heartbeat is good.”
“I knew they were a good-hitting team, but I just tried to keep my composure, and keep the team positive,” Shaffer said regarding the Panthers’ productive 6th. “I knew we were gonna win the game in the bottom of the sixth.
“We got the first guy on base, moved him over, and all I had to do was get him in to score. I didn’t want to be a hero; just wanted to win the ballgame,” Shaffer added.
“I knew (Shaffer) was gonna be clutch in that situation,” Pinney said. “If we got him out there, I had good feelings about the game. But his base hit kind’ve helped pump him up coming back out on the mound (for the 7th).”
Sharon (7-3 region, 8-6 overall) scored 5 in the 2nd stanza with the benefit of only 1 hit — Daniel Vanderslice’s bunt with 2 on and no outs.
Addison, after retiring the Tigers on 9 pitches in the 1st, lost his command in the 2nd, laboring through a 43-pitch inning (16 strikes) in which he walked 5 and twice wild-pitched home runners. Andrew Tomko, Stefanowicz and Josh Nichols were credited with ribbies during the uprising. Sharon extended its lead to 6-0 in the 3rd when Shaffer drew a leadoff walk, was balked to 2nd, then scored on Tomko’s RBI-single.
But the Panthers produced a 3-run 4th, highlighted by Andy Jones’ leadoff double to right-center, and run-scoring singles from King, Lou Emmett and Addison.
King’s 3-for-4 plate performance paced the Panthers (3-7, 3-7), while Andy Jones joined in with 2 hits. In all, Perry pounded 9 safeties; however, a half-dozen potential Panthers’ runs were stranded.
“We’re actually only 10 games into the season; we’re gonna finish half of our season in the next two weeks,” Pinney pronounced. “So we have plenty of games left, plenty of opportunities.”
Sharon stroked only 3 safeties, but its patience produced 11 walks, a hit-batsman, and another baserunner via an error. Sharon’s small-ball paid off, illustrated by Shaffer reaching base in all 4 at-bats — 3 walks and his hit.
“I knew their pitching was nicked up, so we waited on them a little bit, waited on them and drew some walks,” Tomko said. “What I like most was the seventh. We got the leadoff guy on ... bunted him over, then got the hit to score him. That’s baseball.”
Note: In spite of a pair of 9-pitch innings, southpaw Addison annexed exactly 100 pitches (44 strikes) in 4ì innings, yielding 6 runs on only 1 hit, but issued 9 walks and hit a batter. Fattman, after retiring Leo Rahn on a fly ball on his 1st and only pitch of the 5th as Sharon stranded a bases-loaded, 2-out situation, threw 31 pitches in the 6th (13 strikes). — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä West Middlesex 7, Reynolds 0 — At Transfer, West Middlesex’s Mark Colella clubbed 3 home runs — all solo shots — to lead the visiting Big Reds.
“ ... In recent memory ...” 33rd-year Middlesex mentor Jerry Novosel responded when asked if Colella’s clubbing was a single-game school record.
Also for West Middlesex (6-4 region), winning pitcher Sage Pope produced a complete-game 2-hitter, whiffing 10 and walking 2. Also, Trey Staunch singled and tripled, Brandon Dick doubled, and Aaron Webb whacked 2 hits.
Reynolds’ starter Kellen Gursky suffered the setback. Ed’s baseball
ä Hickory 13, Mercer 0 (5 inn.) — At Hermitage, Mark DiBattiste and Jason Gay combined to pitch an abbreviated 1-hitter as the Hornets (7-4, 8-7) beat the Mustangs.
DiBattiste pitched the first 3 innings with 1 strikeout. Gay closed it out with 2 strikeouts, 1 walk and gave up the hit. Jake Andrezejewski singled and doubled for the Hornets.
Zach Wimer gave up 4 runs in the 1st inning in the loss. Wimer, Landon Glass, Ryan Thorn, Xian Messett, Logan Clarke and Danny Miller all pitched for Mercer. Miller singled for the lone hit.
ä Sharpsville 9, Wilmington 8 — At New Wilmington, Tyler Wansack ripped a 2-out, RBI-single to left field in the 7th inning to snap an 8-all tie and lift the Blue Devils (9-1, 11-3) past the Hounds.
Wansack had 3 hits, including a triple, and 3 RBI, Jalen Mockabee was 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, Tanner Morris ripped 2 singles and a double, and Taylor Lenzi and Jake Bulick both had a pair of 2-run singles.
Lenzi started for Sharpsville and George Keck earned the win. He pitched 2 innings of relief and allowed 1 run on 2 hits.
Ryan Brumbaugh suffered the loss for Wilmington. Offensively, Nate Anthony had 4 hits, including leading off the game with a homer, Brumbaugh collected 2 singles and a triple and Davis Smith singled, doubled and tripled.
ä Grove City 4, Oil City 0 — At Oil City, Matt Gordon fired a complete-game 3-hitter with 14 strikeouts and 1 walk as the Eagles (6-0, 11-3) clinched at least a tie for the Region 6 championship,
Dustin Maine had the big hit for GC as he drilled a 2-out, bases-loaded double in the 3rd inning to clear the bases. Ryan Grace doubled and Jesse Hodge had 2 singles for the Eagles.
Dan Staub pitched 6 innings for the Oilers. He whiffed 2, walked 3 and yielded 3 runs on 4 hits. Tyler Lockhart doubled.
ä Wilmington 6, Jamestown 1 — At New Wilmington, Abby Sotter fired a complete-game 4-hitter with 6 strikeouts and 1 walk as the Lady Hounds (5-1, 11-2) beat the Lady Muskies.
Erynn Williams went the distance for Jamestown. She struck out 3 batters, issued 5 walks and gave up 9 hits.
Courtney Cohen had 2 singles and 3 RBI for Wilmington, Cassidy Marett ripped a pair of singles, Megan Houyouse collected a pinch-hit double and Sotter added a 2-run single.
Mackenzie Adams drove in Jamestown’s lone run with a single.
ä West Middlesex 14, Kennedy Catholic 0 (5 inn.) — At Hermitage, Jordyn Allen twirled a complete-game 3-hitter (3 singles) with 6 strikeouts and 1 walk in leading the Ms. Reds (5-1, 7-3) to the win.
Taylor Gilliland drilled a 3-run triple for WM, Megan Hazlett had 3 singles and Abby McAdams doubled.
Emilee Taylor and Abby Ferlin split time on the mound for KC. Taylor had 2 strikeouts, 2 walks and gave up 4 hits in 2 innings while Abby Ferlin fanned 3, issued 8 walks and yielded 5 hits.
Taylor, Anna Benson and Maria Messina all singled for the Lady Golden Eagles.
ä Hickory 12, Meadville 2 (5 inn.) — At Hermitage, Danielle Collier’s 3-for-4 offensive outburst included 2 triples, and McBride and Victoria Tomko tattooed 2 hits each for the host Lady Hornets.
Also for Hickory (5-2, 8-2), Chelsea Marriott and Courtney Maniscalco muscled doubles. McBride drove in 3 runs and Maniscalco, Marriott and Collier 2 apiece.
Winning pitcher Lauren Kizak KO’d 10 in tossing a 2-hitter. She walked 1 and only 1 of MASH’s 2 runs were earned.
For Meadville, Smith stole 3 bases, tallied twice, and stroked a single, and Woods drove in a run. Losing hurler Rhoades was victimized by the Lady Hornets’ 11-hit attack. She walked 6 and struck out 2.
ä Lakeview 12, Commodore Perry 5 — At Stoneboro, CP took a quick 2-0 lead, but the Lady Sailors cut the lead to 2-1 and then plated 6 unanswered runs over the 2nd and 3rd innings en route to the win.
Katie Watts went the distance for Lakeview. She fanned 3, walked 3 and gave up 8 hits.
Watts had a 2-run double, Madison Barish had 2 hits and 2 RBI, K. Hoogstad tallied 1 hit and 3 RBI and Natalie Grant registered 1 hit and 2 RBI.
Emily Sanner and Emily Kitchen pitched for CP. Sanner had 1 strikeout, 2 walks and yielded 5 runs on 3 hits in 2 innings while Kitchen fanned 4, issued 5 walks and surrendered 7 runs on 5 hits.
Alexis Nagy doubled, singled and drove in a run for the Lady Panthers and Sanner and Devon Sernik had 2 singles each.
ä Brookfield 3, Niles 2 — At Waddell Park in Niles, Lyndsey Berecek tossed a 6-hitter with 8 strikeouts and no walks as the Lady Warriors (10-3) edged Niles.
Lauren Hawley led the way for Brookfield at the plate with 2 singles, 2 RBI and 3 stolen bases and Megan Ellcessor had an RBI double.
Hope Callen went the distance for Niles. She fanned 3 and gave up 7 hits. At the plate, Callen had 2 doubles and drove in a run.
A report from Sharon High track team in Wednesday’s Herald reported that the the Lady Tigers’ 1600-meter relay team broke a school record (4:09) with a clocking of 4:04.26.
According to former long-time coach Chris Houck, the school record was set in 1985 as reported, but it was 3:59.10 by Cecelia Rice, Tonya Hughes, Lynne McKee and Alisa White.
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