In Monessen's three WPIAL playoff games, it has scored 1, 10 and 0 runs. It is not often you can score one run and live to play more games, but when you have Dana Vatakis pitching for you, it is a different story. The Greyhounds pitcher was third in the WPIAL and tops in Class A with 167 strikeouts during the regular season. The sophomore notched two playoff wins this season against a defending champion and against an undefeated team. Vatakis threw a three-hitter with 12 strikeouts in a 1-0 win over Jefferson-Morgan, the defending champs. Against undefeated Serra Catholic she was even better with an 11-strikeout no-hitter. West Greene was able to tag Monessen for 10 runs in a 10-0 win in the WPIAL semifinals. Vatakis and the Monessen (15-6) defense will look to get back to form against No. 6 Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (15-5) on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at West Allegheny. The winner advances to the PIAA playoffs.
There's just something about the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Championships that brings out the best in Monessen senior Andrey Bolton.
For the second consecutive year, Bolton was named meet MVP. Bolton won the 100- and 200-meter dashes and placed second in the long jump at the invitational held last Saturday at Latrobe.
Bolton ran times of 11.50 in the 100 and 22.63 in the 200. His leap of 21-1 ½ in the long jump was second to only Franklin Regional's Jacob Ross, who jumped 21-2 ½.
Bolton was one of only two boys to win two individual events. The other was Hempfield's Hayden Fox, who won the javelin and pole vault.
Raymond Sitton last year became the the first Monessen track athlete to win a WPIAL gold medal since 2011. A year later, Sitton could very well be golden once again.
Sitton, a senior, is the reigning WPIAL Class AA champion in the 110 hurdles. He ran a 15.05 at last year's championships and then finished fifth at the PIAA championships after running a 14.95. He's been even faster this season. He claimed titles in both the 110 and 300 hurdles at the Monessen Invitational held on April 16 after running personal records of 14.66 and 41.00. He was named boys MVP.
Sitton isn't the only Monessen athlete with high hopes. Fellow senior Andrey Bolton placed fifth in the 200 and seventh in the 100 at last year's WPIAL championships. Sitton and Bolton run on Monessen's 1,600 relay team that also includes seniors Demond Jordan and Matt Taylor. Bolton won the 100 at the Monessen Invitational and Taylor claimed the title in the 400.
Up until two weeks ago, Monessen was widely considered the heavy favorite to win the WPIAL Class A championship and one of the primary contenders to win the PIAA title.
Unfortunately for the Greyhounds, that outlook darkened very quickly.
Monessen saw it's once sensational season come to an end with a 44-37 loss to Farrell in a PIAA first-round game last Friday. Just over a week earlier, the Greyhounds were upset by eventual champion Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, 79-77, in overtime in the WPIAL semifinals.
The Greyhounds, who won the WPIAL title a season earlier, finished with a 21-5 record, giving them their third consecutive season of 20 or more wins and their fifth in the past six seasons. Still, some will view the end result as being a big disappointment considering how dominant the Greyhounds appeared to be for most of the season. They had won 14 games in a row prior to the loss against North Catholic and their three previous losses were all against Class AAAA teams. The Greyhounds averaged 90.3 points per game, which led the WPIAL by a large margin.
Monessen entered the postseason ranked No. 2 in the state in Class A and District 10 power Farrell was just behind at No. 3.
The teams meeting in the PIAA playoffs seemed like a distinct possibility ... just not in the first round.
In what could be the best first-round game in any class, Monessen (21-4) plays Farrell (19-6) Friday at Slippery Rock University. Farrell is one of two outstanding teams from District 10. The other is Kennedy Catholic, which defeated Farrell, 73-65, in the district final. Farrell was the PIAA runner-up last season, while Kennedy Catholic beat Monessen in the quarterfinals.
Monessen was the heavy favorite to win the WPIAL championship, but was stunned in the semifinals by eventual champion Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic. If Monessen had won the title, the Greyhounds would have avoided playing either of the District 10 powers until the quarterfinals. Instead, they'll play one of them right away.