East Archives

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Baseball: Excellent pitching has Plum on a roll

Written by Brad Everett on .

Plum has emerged as one of the top teams in Class AAAA.

A propensity for not allowing many runs is a big reason why.

Plum stood in second place in Section 3 prior to Monday's game against Franklin Regional. The Mustangs were 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the section.

The Mustangs have been tremendous at keeping foes off the scoreboard, particularly during its five-game winning streak. The Mustangs limited all of those opponents to three runs or fewer and gave up a total of nine runs in that time.

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Baseball: East Feature Athlete - Penn-Trafford's Tyler Smith

Written by Brad Everett on .

Name: Tyler Smith
School: Penn-Trafford
Grade: 12
Sport: Baseball
Position: Pitcher

Background Info: Smith, a senior right-hander, is one of the top pitchers in the WPIAL. He's the ace for a Penn-Trafford team that has compiled a 10-1 record (5-1 in Class AAAA Section 2). Smith is 4-1 and has 39 strikeouts in 27 innings. He had one of the finest games of his career in a 13-2 five-inning win against a very strong Hempfield team on April 10. In that game, Smith hurled a complete-game two-hitter with 10 strikeouts, and went 3 for 3 with a home run and five RBIs. In a 2-1 win against Kiski Area on March 31, Smith fired a three-hitter and struck out seven. As a junior, Smith was named the WPIAL Class AAAA pitcher of the year. Smith has signed with Canisius, a Division I school located in Buffalo, N.Y.

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Baseball: Burrell hopes to make playoffs for the 17th consecutive season

Written by Brad Everett on .

Burrell beginning section play 0-3 was a big surprise considering the Bucs have one of the most consistently good programs in the WPIAL.

But wins on consecutive days last week quickly put the Bucs into the thick of the playoff race once again.

Burrell's baseball team is a machine. The Bucs have reached the postseason 16 consecutive seasons. During that run, the Bucs amassed a ridiculous section record of 158-37.

Only four of those teams were tagged with more than three section losses. This season's team already has three. The Bucs are 5-4 overall and 2-3 in Class AA Section 3.

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Baseball: Hempfield, Penn-Trafford to square off in a big one Thursday

Written by Brad Everett on .

When Hempfield traveled to Penn-Trafford on April 10, the Warriors weren't very nice hosts, as they hammered the Spartans, 13-2, in five innings.

Hempfield would love nothing more than to return the favor Thursday.

One of the biggest Class AAAA games so far this season will take place that day when Hempfield (9-3, 6-1) hosts Penn-Trafford (10-1, 5-1) in a Section 2 showdown.

Depending on the results of games played earlier in the week, Thursday's winner could take over the section lead and keep their hopes alive for a possible No. 1 seed in the WPIAL playoffs.

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Softball: East Feature Athlete - Jeannette's Nicole Hall

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Name: Nicole Hall
High School: Jeannette
Grade: 12
Sport: Softball

Background Info: Senior Nicole Hall is handling the pitching duties for the Jeannette softball team for the third consecutive season. Hall has made a knack of getting out of late-inning jams. Against Riverview earlier this season, Jeannette was clinging to an 8-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning and Riverview had the top of their lineup due up. Hall enticed two pop outs and a ground out using just six pitches to end the game. In a major section showdown against No. 2 Trinity, the Hillers placed runners on second and third in the bottom of the seventh inning trialing 3-1 and Hall also got out of that jam.

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Softball: Class AAAA Section 1 playoff race gets interesting after Latrobe is upset

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Norwin, Latrobe, Hempfield and Penn-Trafford have had a monopoly most seasons on the three playoff spots in Section 1-AAAA. This year Connellsville is trying to crash the party. The team is clinging to playoff life and it kept its playoff hopes alive and by opening the second half of the season with a major upset over No. 4 Latrobe on Thursday. Emily Keslar held the Wildcats to three hits in a complete-game shutout as Connellsville triumphed over Latrobe 1-0. A day earlier Connellsville was being thumped by Hempfield while Latrobe was triumphing over Kiski Area. So goes life in Section 1-AAAA, one of the consistently most balanced sections in the WPIAL.

One game into the second half of section play and Norwin clings to a lead in the section with a 5-1 record, ahead of Latrobe (5-2) and Hempfield (5-2) with Penn-Trafford (4-2) and Connellsville (3-4) very much alive in the playoff race.

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Softball: Class A Section 3 showdown on tap for Jeannette, Leechburg

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Last season Jeannette and Leechburg shared the Section 3-A title with identical 10-2 records. If Leechburg wants any hope of even sharing the section title again, it will need to find a way to win at Jeannette on Wednesday in a major section showdown at 4:15 p.m.

Jeannette (7-3, 7-0) has stormed out of the gates with a perfect start in section play under first-year head coach Zac Karas. Those seven wins include a 3-1 triumph at Leechburg. In the first meeting between the two teams, Leechburg was able to put runners at second and third in the bottom of the seventh inning trailing by two, but Jeannette was able to get out of the jam and alter the look of the section race. Leechburg (4-2, 3-2) desperately needs a win. In addition to the loss to Jeannette, the Blue Devils also dropped a decision at Vincentian Academy.

"From the beginning of the year we viewed Leechburg as our toughest competition," Karas said. "I know they took another loss but it is still a huge game for us, with us being at the top of the list, everyone wants to come out and bring their A game, everyone has us circled, and it will be the same thing with Leechburg. We have to do our best and we need to encourage all the fans to come out."

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Girls Lacrosse: Ellis heads into break with four straight wins

Written by Joe Koch on .

After losing two of its first three games, The Ellis School has rebounded nicely and entered spring break with a four-game winning streak.

Ellis began its winning ways with a 20-8 victory over Greensburg Central Catholic. The Tigers followed that up with victories over Bethel Park (16-9), Aquinas Academy (18-7) and Yough (16-8).

Coach Emily Deering's 5-2 Tigers return to action with a home game on April 22 against Greensburg Salem. That will be followed by a road game on April 24 against Hempfield, one of the two teams to defeat Ellis this season.

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Boys Lacrosse: Small steps bring Gateway to a 5-5 record heading into break

Written by Joe Koch on .

In just its third year as a program, the Gateway High boys lacrosse team has taken small, but significant, steps. Thursday's 7-6 victory over Latrobe gave the Gators a 5-5 record heading spring break and the final seven games of the season.

The Gators are tied with Indiana for first place with Indiana and Greensburg Central in Division 2, Section 1. Both teams have 2-0 records. Indiana defeated Greensburg Central 9-3 on April 16. Indiana's overall record is 5-3. The Centurions are 4-4.

Gateway hosts Indiana on April 23 in the Gators' first game following spring break. The Gators visit Greensburg Central on April 30. The Gators face a significant out-of-section challenge on May 2 when they host Moon on May 2. Moon is ranked No. 3 in the Laxpower.com ratings for Western Pennsylvania teams with a 9-0 record.

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Girls Lacrosse: Hempfield wins showdown with Latrobe

Written by Joe Koch on .

Two teams aspiring for berths in the Division 2 girls playoffs squared off on Tuesday night, and when it was over, No. 7 Hempfield remained unbeaten at 7-0 with a 15-9 victory over Latrobe. Following this past Thursday's 11-9 victory against visiting Greensburg Central Catholic, the Spartans are taking a break before visiting Yough on Tuesday.

After their game with the Cougars, five games remain for the Spartans including the regular-season finale on May 8 at Latrobe.

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Tennis: Ramesh, Hattangody lead Panthers

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Franklin Regional is in the thick of the playoff race in Class AAA Section 1, and the team’s top two players have played a big role in the team’s success.

Sophomore Rochen Ramesh plays No. 1 singles, and he qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA tournament this season by finishing third in the section tournament. He lost in the semifinals to Penn-Trafford’s Cullen Price, but beat Kiski’s Tyler Paunovich, a WPIAL qualifier in 2013, in three sets in the consolation final. Ramesh lost to two-time WPIAL champion Adam Blasinsky, 10-2, in the first round of the WPIAL tournament.

At No. 2 singles, the Panthers have senior Rohan Hattangady. Hattangady, who played No. 1 singles last season for Franklin Regional, advanced to the quarterfinals of the section tournament this season, losing to Paunovich, 11-10 (7-1). He’s been the section’s best No. 2 player this season.

 

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Tennis: East Feature Athlete — Central Catholic’s Adam Blasinsky

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Name: Adam Blasinsky
School: Central Catholic
Grade: 12
Sport: Tennis

Background: Blasinsky won his second consecutive WPIAL Class AAA championship last week, defeating Latrobe’s Chad Kissell, 6-2, 7-5, in the championship. Blasinsky, who also finished third his at WPIALs during his sophomore season, will move on to the state tournament in Hershey May 23-24. Last season, he finished second at the PIAA tournament, losing to North Penn’s Mike Bauxbaum in straight sets. Bauxbaum has since graduated.

Central Catholic coach Rick Capretta: “I was thinking [during the WPIAL final] how versatile he is. He can play any style of tennis — if you want to bang with him or you want to finesse him.”

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Baseball: Penn-Trafford contending for section title

Written by Drew Karpen on .

Drew Karpen profiles the Penn-Trafford baseball team.

2014 0417 PennTrafford Baseball(Photo: Hempfield's Joey DeFloria slides home with a run despite the efforts of Penn-Trafford catcher Scott Koscho. That was one of the few low points for the Warriors as they dispatched the Spartans, 13-2, last Friday in a Section 2-AAAA victory. Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette)

"It seems as though everyone from Pittsburgh knows something about the 1979 Pirates, even if they hadn't been born by then.

The team that came to be identified as the "We Are Family" group showed why it was tagged with that slogan after winning the franchise's fifth World Series title and second in the decade of the 1970s.

That wasn't the only local historic baseball moment in the Pittsburgh area. That was the first year that Ron Evans began his long and illustrious career with the Penn-Trafford High School baseball program.

"This is my 26th year as head coach at Penn-Trafford," Evans said. "I have been there all my [adult] life. I was an assistant for nine years before that. I have been involved with the program since 1979. I just retired from teaching last year. I taught at Penn-Trafford for 36 years.""

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Softball: After fast beginning, Gateway scrambles

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Nicholas Tolomeo profiles the Gateway softball team.

2014 0417 Gateway Softball(Photo: Senior left-hander Kim Mignogna provides a veteran presence in the field for the Gators. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"His team's slow starts in games had first-year Gateway softball coach Andy Popajas worried; the way they closed games though, had him anything but concerned.

Gateway overcame slow starts to blast its first three opponents of the season, Penn Hills, Oakland Catholic and Allderdice. The three section wins allowed the Gators to vault to the top of the Class AAAA Section 2 standings. Losses to Plum and McKeesport last week dropped them to third in the section standings, however.

In those first three section victories, Gateway did not once reach the seventh inning, activating the 10-run mercy rule in all three wins.

"I was a little concerned, the bats didn't really roll in the early innings," Popajas said. "We seemed to struggle in the early innings and then all of a sudden we caught fire after the third inning and that was it. Things started happening.""

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Track: Central Catholic senior targets titles

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Ryan Riordan profiles Central Catholic track standout David Henderson.

"David Henderson's dream since he was 8 years old was to run track in college.

Earlier this month, that dream became a reality.

Henderson, a senior at Central Catholic, committed to Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia on April 3, joining former Vikings teammate Torey Doaty, who is a freshman for the Hawks track team.

"First of all, they have great academics for what I want to study -- biology," said Henderson, who lives in Stanton Heights. "Also, my former teammate goes there and when I went to visit, I talked to him and he told me a lot of things about the program that I wanted to hear.""

 

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Track: Greensburg Salem's McQuaide raising the bar for competitors

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles Greensburg Salem track standout Courtney McQuaide.

2014 0417 GreensburgSalem GTrack(Photo: Greensburg Salem's Courtney McQuaide competes in the pole vault at the Butler Invitational Friday afternoon. She set a meet record with a vault of 11 feet, 10 inches. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"Greensburg Salem's Courtney McQuaide was in eighth grade when she decided she wanted to go out for the track team.

The only problem was that her parents didn't want her to.

McQuaide had been a recreational gymnast since she was 2 years old -- and still is to this day -- and mom and dad felt that adding another sport might be too much.

But that didn't dissuade McQuaide, who, much to her parents' chagrin, took it upon herself to sign up for the Golden Lions track team anyway. Soon after, McQuaide was introduced to pole vaulting coach Jeremy Lenzi, who suggested McQuaide try the pole vault because of her strength and background as a gymnast."

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Boys Tennis: Latrobe junior earns PIAA berth

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Ryan Riordan profiles Latrobe tennis player Chad Kissell.

2014 0417 Latrobe BTennis(Photo: Latrobe's Chad Kissell returns a shot against Central Catholic's Adam Blasinsky in the WPIAL tournament. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"A three-sport athlete, Greater Latrobe junior Chad Kissell didn't play as much tennis in the offseason during his freshman and sophomore years as many of the other top players in the area because he was concentrating on golf or basketball.

But this past year, he made a concerted effort to focus on tennis, even while participating in his other two sports. The added work has paid off.

Kissell finished second last week at the WPIAL Class AAA singles tournament to qualify for the PIAA tournament May 23-24 in Hershey.

"Last year, I wasn't quite focused on tennis," said Kissell, who lives in the Hostetter section of Unity Township."

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Alumni Update - Nicole Sleith (Robert Morris)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

Fairfield, Conn. – The Robert Morris University softball team cruised to a win in the opening game of itsSleith RMU Northeast Conference (NEC) doubleheader against Sacred Heart and jumped out to a lead in the nightcap, but the Colonials were unable to hold on and complete the sweep on a mostly sunny Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Park.

 

RMU won the opener, 5-1, before dropping the nightcap, 4-3.

 

Junior Nicole Sleith spun a beauty in the opener as she earned the complete game win in the circle. The Yough graduate allowed just five hits and one unearned run while striking out four without walking or hitting a batter. Sleith, who is undefeated in her last six starts, was incredibly efficient as she threw 55 of her 74 pitches for strikes.

 

(photo courtesy of Robert Morris University)