The District 10 playoffs kicked off on Tuesday for 4 area baseball teams and 5 softball squads.
In Class A softball, Reynolds edged West Middlesex, 5-4, in an 8-inning thriller while Sharpsville ousted Rocky Grove, 5-0. In Class AA, Northwestern beat Wilmington, 9-5, and Harbor Creek defeated Mercer, 4-3.
In baseball, Grove City beat Strong Vincent, 10-4 in the Class AAA quarterfinals. In Class AA, Wilmington ousted Titusville, 8-5, and the Sharpsville vs. West Middlesex game, which was scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start, never got underway until 8:30 p.m. See page B-3 for update.
Following are staff reports:
ä Reynolds 5, West Middlesex 4 (8 inn.) — At Allegheny College in Meadville, the Lady Raiders (13-6) led 3-0 in the 7th, but WM tied it at 3-all and then took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 8th, but Reynolds’ Sam Campbell ripped a 2-out, 2-run hit to left-center to lift the Lady Raiders to victory.
Campbell’s game-winning hit scored Madison Rhoads and pinch-runner Macy Greenfield (running for Maggie Ringer). Rhoads had 2 singles for Reynolds.
Paige Baker went the distance for Reynolds. She struck out 8 batters, walked 1 and gave up 6 hits.
Jordyn Allen pitched all 8 frames for coach Gene Rubeo’s Ms. Reds. She had 6 strikeouts, issued 7 walks and only allowed 4 hits.
Allen and Jade Kroesen both singled and doubled for WM.
“West Middlesex showed nothing but class,” said Reynolds coach Will Juranovich. “They grind and act professional and did a great job. It’s a shame. I feel bad for them and the way they battled, but someone had to lose and we’re glad to move on.”
Reynolds advances to play Saegertown at 5 p.m. Thursday at Allegheny College. Saegertown had a bye in the opening round.
ä Sharpsville 5, Rocky Grove 0 — At Penn State-Behrend in Erie, Maddie Shuttleworth fired a complete-game 4-hitter with 1 strikeout and 2 walks as the Blue Darlings (13-5) ousted the Lady Orioles (8-9).
Sharpsville plated 2 runs in the 4th, 1 in the 5th and 2 in the 7th for its 5 runs.
Katy Thompson and Rachel Harenchar had doubles for Sharpsville and Eugena Davies singled and tripled.
Jillian Shull went the distance for Rocky Grove. She struck out 11 batters, issued 1 walk and gave up 7 hits.
Natasha Lepley led RG at the plate with a double.
ä Northwestern 9, Wilmington 5 — At Allegheny College, the Lady Hounds (17-4) failed to return to the D-10 championship game for the 3rd straight year as the Lady Wildcats (10-8) pulled off an upset.
NW led 4-3 after 3 innings of play and 6-3 after 4 frames. The Lady Hounds cut the lead to 6-5 in the bottom of the 5th, but the Lady Wildcats plated 3 runs in the top of the 7th and held on for the win.
Kayla Osborne went the distance for Northwestern. She whiffed 5 batters, issued 2 walks and gave up 7 hits.
Abby Sotter also went the distance for Wilmington. She fanned 5, walked 2 and gave up 7 hits.
Offensively for NW, Alex Osborne doubled, Addie Griffey had 3 hits and Brittany Miniaci and Sydney Adams had 2 hits each.
For Wilmington, which committed 6 errors in the game, Alanna Elliott tripled, Ashley Houk ripped 3 singles and Courtney Cohen had 2 singles.
Northwestern advances to play Harbor Creek game at 3 p.m. Thursday at Allegheny College.
ä Harbor Creek 4, Mercer 3 — At Penn State-Behrend, the Lady M’s (12-8) gave Harbor Creek everything they had, but the Lady Huskies (17-3) plated the game-winner in the bottom of the 7th to advance to Thursday’s semifinals vs. Northwestern.
HC took a 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning and cut the lead to 3-2 in the 4th. Mercer tied the game at 3-all in the top of the 7th on a 2-out RBI triple by Analise Whenry.
HC came back with a leadoff double in the bottom of the 7th by Kalie Rzodkiewicz. She was replaced by pinch-runner Danyelle Dougan. Mercer then recorded 2 outs, but Olivia Purpura hit a deep single to left field to score Dougan.
Melissa Shoemaker went the distance for Mercer. She had no strikeouts, 1 walk and gave up 13 hits.
Aubrie Angermeier had 3 singles for Mercer and Whenry had the triple.
Purpura had 3 singles and a double for HC, Rzodkiewicz ripped a double and a pair of singles, Kaitlin Pasierb tripled and singled and Dana Faipler added 2 singles.
Rzodkiewicz went the distance for HC. She struck out 15 batters, walked 1 and yielded 7 hits.
Grove City 10, Erie Strong Vincent 4 — At Slippery Rock University’s Jack Critchfield Park, the Region 6 champion Eagles (15-6) used some timely hitting, some Colonel mistakes and Matt Gordon’s right arm to advance to the District 10 Class AAA semifinals.
With the win, Grove City will play Slippery Rock (12-7), a 1-0 winner over Harbor Creek, at a site and time Friday to be determined.
“A win is a win,” veteran Grove City skipper Pat Forese said. “You gotta win the first one to move on. For most of these kids, today was their first playoff experience. Matt pitched some in the playoffs a year ago and (Ryan) Grace pitched a little bit, but other than that this was their first playoff experience, so hopefully we got a little experience under our belts and we’ll be able to play better the rest of the way.”
Gordon lasted 6 innings in the 80 degree-plus weather, limiting Strong Vincent to just 3 singles (two were bunt singles) and striking out 9.
“My curveball hasn’t been working too good lately, but today I was able to power my fastball past them,” Gordon said. “I was able to locate on the outer half of the plate.”
The Eagles plated a pair of runs in each of the first two innings thanks to ESV mistakes in the field, but the Colonels answered with 3 runs in their half of the third.
Grove City increased its lead to 6-3 with a pair of insurance runs in the fifth inning.
An inning later, the Eagles chased ESV starter Josh Barron with Ben Lucas singling and Gordon doubling to set up a 3-run 6th for a 9-3 lead.
Gordon aided his cause with 2 doubles, a single and 2 RBIs; Collin Lawson had a trio of singles and 3 ribbies; and Lucas singled a doubled.
“That’s what you have to do in the playoffs ... Get guys on base and find ways to get them across the plate,” Forese said. “When our top goes, we’re pretty good. Benny has been a real good hitter for us all year and Matt is capable of hitting the ball a good distance. Dustin, Jesse and Collin all did a nice job, too.”
Max Sebald, Austin Traile and Devin Magee each singled for Strong Vincent (7-9) — Information submitted by Herald sports correspondent Corey J. Corbin.
ä Wilmington 8, Titusville 5 — At SRU, the Greyhounds (12-6) coaxed 12 walks and made Titusville pay for the free passes in a 8-5 quarterfinal win.
Wilmington worked 7 of those walks in the top of the 2nd inning when it plated 6 runs for a 6-0 lead.
“We tell our guys, with how we approach hitting, is to be aggressive through the strike zone. But if it’s not there, we take the walks,” Greyhounds coach Garett Malinak said. “Our guys did a fantastic job of making their pitchers work today. Those kids over there, they have some good arms on them. Our guys did a great job of making them work and not chasing anything out of the zone.
“This is a great win for the program.”
The Greyhounds move on and will battle second-seeded Saegertown (17-2), a 6-0 winner over Franklin, Friday at a time and site to be determined in the semifinals.
Jim Pitzulo’s 2-out bases-loaded infield single was the only hit in the 2nd for the Greyhounds. Rockets second baseman Seth Mehlenbacher was able to keep the ball in the infield, allowing just 1 run to score on the play for a 1-0 Wilmington lead and the sacks remained packed.
But Davis Smith followed with a walk and Ryan Brumbaugh struck out. Instead of the inning being over and Titusville down 2-0, the ball got away and Brumbaugh reached first for a 3-0 advantage. Ryan’s younger brother Travis Brumbaugh drew a walk to make it 4-0, prompting Rockets coach Michael Hlad to replace his starter J.J. Bleday.
But reliever Zach Horn was equally errant, issuing consecutive bases-loaded walks for a 6-0 Wilmington lead.
Horn finally retired the side when he got Derek Nichols to fly out to right, leaving the bases loaded. Twelve Greyhounds came to the plate that inning.
The win was the first in the postseason for the Greyhounds since Malinak’s first season at the helm 3 years ago.
Hlad started J.J. Bleday on the mound instead of Adam Bleday, who is a Virginia recruit. The Greyhounds made that decision a painful one, working over J.J. Bleday and chasing him in the second inning.
J.J. Bleday lasted just 1 2/3 innings, allowing 2 hits and 6 runs — 5 earned — with 6 walks and 5 strikeouts.
Rockets relievers were able to limit Wilmington the rest of the way, but the damage was done in the second inning.
Nichols drove in Wilmington’s 7th run on a sacrifice fly in the 4th and Josh Fleegle followed with a run-scoring single for an 8-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Travis Brumbaugh was cruising on the hill for the Greyhounds. He allowed just 4 hits through the first 5 innings. But Titusville broke through in the 6th.
The Rockets (14-5) got to Brumbaugh for 5 runs, chasing the Wilmington starter. Brumbaugh (4-1) picked up the win, working 5 2/3 innings, giving up 6 hits and 5 runs — all earned — with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts.
Malinak went to Ryan Brumbaugh, who finished the job for his 4th save of the year.
Ryan Brumbaugh pitched 1 1/3 innings, surrendering 1 hit and no runs with no walks or strikeouts. — By CNHI News Service.
ä Sharpsville vs. West Middlesex — At SRU’s Jack Critchfield Park Tuesday night, the Blue Devils and Big Reds were still playing when The Herald went to press.
The game was originally scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. It didn’t even start until 8:52 p.m. That game was the last of a quadruple-header at SRU. The first 3 games ran late. See Thursday’s edition for game recap.
The District 10 playoffs kicked off on Tuesday for 4 area baseball teams and 5 softball squads.
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.
WM captures 3rd straight D-10 crown
EDINBORO — The West Middlesex Big Reds did it again! For the third straight year, the Big Reds, under the leadership of head coach Chad Mild, the winningest coach in West Middlesex school history, won the District 10 title with a thrilling 55-54 victory over the Fairview Tigers on Friday night at McComb Field House.
Farrell beats East for D-10 Class AAA title
MEADVILLE — Malik Miller was playing with a broken hand, but broke the hearts of East High’s basketball team.
Sophomore sharpshooter Miller mustered 19 markers — tossing in 4 from beyond the arc — helping forge Farrell to the District 10 Class AAA championship, 83-78.
Raiders hold lead at Northwest AA Region Tourney
Reynolds coach Casey Taylor had a simple, but fitting comment after the opening night of the Northwest AA Region Wrestling Championships at Sharon High School Friday:
“So far; so good!”
The defending champion Raiders, who are seeking a 17th region crown in school history, jumped into the team lead with 45 points Friday, heading second place Brookville with 35.
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- 5 area matmen to quarterfinals in Hershey