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Baseball: 2015 North All-Stars

Written by Post-Gazette on .

Here are the 2015 North baseball All-Stars.

Player of the Year
Cole Shinsky, Knoch, P/1B, Jr.
Went 10-0 overall, 5-0 with 1.29 ERA in the postseason to lead the Knights to WPIAL and PIAA titles.

The Others
Jake Potock, Shaler Area, P, Sr.
West Virginia recruit went 8-4 with 2.00 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 77 innings.

Vince Augustine, Seneca Valley, OF, Sr.
Cincinnati signee batted team-best .484 in the regular season for Section 1-AAAA champs.

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Wrestling: North Allegheny grad ends retirement to chase Olympic championship

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles North Allegheny graduate Jake Herbert. Read his story below.

Jake Herbert retired from amateur wrestling after competing in the 2012 Olympics.

Herbert, like many former competitors, however, found that it's hard to walk away from the sport that has been a part of his life since he was a kid.

His return to wrestling began Feb. 13, 2013 . . . but not as a competitor.

"That's the day the International Olympic Committee announced wrestling would be dropped from the Olympics and that 2016 would be the final year of competition," said Herbert, a 2003 North Allegheny High School grad. "I just couldn't sit by and watch it happen."

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Baseball: Knoch captures first state title

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles the Knoch baseball team.

2015 0619 Knoch Baseball(Photo: Knoch High School players celebrate their 7-5 win against Abington Heights in the PIAA Class AAA championship June 12 in State College. Craig Houtz/Special to the Post-Gazette)

"Last Friday morning at 7 a.m., the Knoch baseball team departed Saxonburg on a bus destined for Penn State.

Before the Knights left, fans were on hand at the school to offer encouragement. When the bus pulled away, it was led out of town by a police escort.

The Knights arrived back home that night amid even more fanfare, as people lined the street for a special parade.

In between, the team made history and provided the final chapter to what coach George Bradley called "a storybook season."

Knoch entered the spring having won just one postseason game in school history ... and that came last May. The Knights (23-2) finished this season as WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA champions."

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Softball: Mistakes cost Deer Lakes in final

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles the Deer Lakes softball team.

"Deer Lakes could not have imagined itself to be in a better position than it was in the PIAA Class AA softball championship game.

Not only did the Lancers have a one-run lead in the bottom of the fourth inning against District 2 champion Holy Redeemer, they had a first-team all-state pitcher on the rubber in Seton Hill recruit Tiffany Edwards, a defense that had played almost flawlessly throughout the season and, to top it off, an offense that had proven it can score nearly at will.

Then the bottom fell out.

Deer Lakes (24-2) uncharacteristically made several mistakes, with a wild pitch, an error, a passed ball and a couple of mental mistakes that allowed the Royals to post a five-run rally that chased Edwards and helped Holy Redeemer to a 10-5 victory at Penn State University's Beard Field."

 

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Basketball: North Catholic grad to play at Niagara

Written by Joe Bendel on .

Joe Bendel profiles Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic graduate Dominic Robb, who recently signed to play basketball at Niagara University.

"Dominic Robb is a go-getter in his parents' home.

That's go-getter as in, "Go get that silver platter from the top shelf. ... Go get that light bulb down from the ceiling."

This is what happens when one has a wingspan that measures 7 feet, 1 inch — equal to the height of Shaquille O'Neal. Nothing is out of reach.

"Hey, anytime they want something, I'm there to get it," Robb said, laughing."

 

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Wrestling: North Allegheny hires new wrestling coach

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles new North Allegheny wrestling coach Sanshiro Abe. Read his story below.

Sanshiro Abe doesn't go to bed hungry at night, but he is looking forward to having a good "feeder system."

He said that's the main reason he left the Central Catholic wrestling program to take on the head coaching position at North Allegheny High School.

"I never had a feeder system at Central Catholic," said Abe, who leaves Central after posting a 55-40 record in seven seasons at the helm. "North Allegheny's elementary and junior high programs are among the best in the WPIAL."

Abe (pronounced AW-bay) is also impressed with the facilities available at North Allegheny.

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Alumni Update - Jen Bahm (Washington & Jefferson)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

DANBURY, Conn. -- Washington & Jefferson senior second baseman Jen Bahm was named a Second TeamBahm WJ ECAC Division III South All-Star, announced the organization.

 

Bahm, a Mount Lebanon graduate, was the Presidents' top hitter in her senior season, collecting a team-leading 42 hits (seventh in the Presidents' Athletic Conference) and .375 batting average (tied for fifth in the PAC) in starting all 36 games at second base.

 

She also led the team with 12 doubles and a .580 slugging percentage, ranking second and sixth in the league, respectively. Bahm tallied a career-best and team-leading three homers on the season as well as 18 RBI, second on the squad. She was one of three Presidents in the top 10 in the conference in fielding percentage at .987, committing just two errors in 156 chances.

 

Previously, she garnered First Team All-PAC honors after being a Second Team honoree in 2014.


She was one of four PAC student-athletes to earn honors from the ECAC, with each collecting Second Team laurels. Bethany head coach Jan Forsty was chosen as the Coach of the Year.

 

(photo courtesy of Washington & Jefferson College)

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Alumni Update - Jen Moran (Gannon)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

ERIE, Pa. – Senior Jess Rectenwald of the Gannon softball team was selected the Eastern College AthleticMoran Gannon Conference (ECAC) Division II Softball Co-Player of the Year announced by the conference this week.

 

Rectenwald and sophomore Jen Moran were named first-team selections and junior Alyssa Bates claimed a spot on the second team.

 

Moran, a Fox Chapel graduate, started in all 42 games she appeared in this season. The second baseman registered a .322 batting average, ranking fifth on the team.

 

Among team leaders, she finished tied for first in doubles (12) and triples (2) and occupied second in runs scored (33), third in slugging percentage (.517) and total bases (74) and fourth in hits (46). Compiling 12 doubles this season, she ranked seventh among conference leaders.

 

For the first time in her career, Moran was named to the All-PSAC Second Team. She was chosen the PSAC Western Division Softball Athlete of the Week March 9.


She hit a combined .478 (11-23) compiling three runs scored, three RBI and five doubles in eight games to open the season at the National Training Center March 1-7, in Clermont, Fla. Gannon posted a 6-2 record with Moran in the lineup.

 

(photo courtesy of Gannon University)

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Alumni Update - Nick Sell (Seton Hill)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

Seton Hill third baseman Nick Sell was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday to a free agent contract. Sell becomes the secondSell SHU Griffin to sign a contract with a major league team, joining pitcher Rick Austin, who was picked in the 27th round of the 2007 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

Sell, a North Allegheny graduate, capped a spectacular senior season by earning almost every award possible.  He earned the most prestigious award given, the Tino Martinez Award, which is awarded to the most outstanding player in Division II. In addition to the Tino Martinez Award,

 

Sell was named a first team All American by three organizations.  Sell was named a first team ABCA/Rawlings, Daktronics and NCBWA All American.  He was also named the ABCA/Rawlings, Daktronics and NCBWA Atlantic Region Player of the Year in addition to being named to all three regional teams.  

 

Nick was also named the ECAC Division II Player of the Year as well as an ECAC Baseball All Star.  He was named the PSAC West Athlete of the Year as well as a first team All PSAC West selection.

 

This season, Sell led the Griffins and the PSAC in runs scored (65), hits (83) and runs batted in (92).  Nick also led the Griffins with a .444 batting average and 28 home runs, a new Seton Hill single season record.  He added 18 doubles, 4 triples and 10 stolen bases.  


Nick also set new Seton Hill career records with a .398 batting average.  He also set new SHU records in home runs with 59, hits with 292, doubles with 59 and 242 RBI.  Sell led Division II in RBI and was second in slugging percentage (1.032) and home runs.  He was also second in total bases with 193.

 

(photo courtesy of Seton Hill University)

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Alumni Update - Jess Rectenwald (Gannon)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

ERIE, Pa. – Senior Jess Rectenwald of the Gannon softball team was selected the Eastern College AthleticRectenwald Gannon Conference (ECAC) Division II Softball Co-Player of the Year announced by the conference this week.

 

Rectenwald and sophomore Jen Moran were named first-team selections and junior Alyssa Bates claimed a spot on the second team.

 

Rectenwald shared ECAC Player of the Year honors with Casey Williamson of Indianapolis. Rectenwald also claimed the program's first All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Western Division Athlete of the Year award. In addition, she earned a spot on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Atlantic Region First Team and the Daktronics/Division II Conference Commissioners Association (CCA) All-Atlantic Region Second Team.

 

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Alumni Update - Brian Heinle (Pitt-Greensburg)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

GIBSONIA, Pa. -  Bobcat men's basketball player and AMCC All-Star, Brian Heinle represents Pitt-Greensburg as the male member of theHeinle PGU conference's All-Academic team.

 

Heinle, a four year starter, senior captain, and AMCC All-Conference basketball selection earns All-Academic honors after an exceptional career on and off the court.  

 

The senior from St. Joespeh was named Pitt-Greensburg's 2014-2015 Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year after graduating with a 3.44 GPA with a degree in Management Information Sciences. He is a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Chi Alpha Sigma, four-year member of the AMCC Academic All-Conference Team, and a six time recipient of Pitt-Greensburg's Dean's List.  


Heinle is the men's basketball programs eighth 1,000 point scorer, was named team captain for the 2014-15 season, and finished his career ranked in the top 10 of 20 different statistical categories.

 

(photo courtesy of Pitt-Greensburg University)

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Baseball: Knoch wins PIAA Class AAA title

Written by Mike White on .

Mike White covered Friday's PIAA Class AAA championship between Knoch and Abington Heights.

2015 0613 Knoch Baseball(Photo: The Knoch High School baseball team celebrates its 7-5 win over Abington Heights in the PIAA Class AAA title game. Craig Houtz/Special to the Post-Gazette)

"UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A rain shower briefly delayed the PIAA Class AAA championship Friday in the sixth inning. Not long after the tarp was pulled off the field, lightning struck and Knoch got just the jolt it needed.

Knoch got four hits and two runs with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, and the two-out lightning gave the Knights a state championship.

Knoch defeated Abington Heights, 7-5, at Penn State's Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The victory made the Knights the first PIAA Class AAA champion from the WPIAL since Pine-Richland in 2006. This from a team that had won only one postseason game before this season.

"Unbelievable. That's all I can say. This is unbelievable," Knoch center fielder Dom Bucko said."

 

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Softball: Errors erase Deer Lakes' title hopes

Written by Megan Ryan on .

Megan Ryan covered Friday's PIAA Class AA championship between Deer Lakes and Holy Redeemer.

2015 0613 DeerLakes Softball(Photo: Deer Lakes' Maureen Hutchinson (33) holds the ball aloft after making a diving catch on a ball hit by Holy Redeemer's Maria Taliani in the 2nd inning in the PIAA Class AA Championship June 12 in State College Pa. Craig Houtz/Special to the Post-Gazette)

"UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Deer Lakes knew heading into the PIAA Class AA title game it was pretty evenly matched with District 2 champion Holy Redeemer. Both teams' talented offenses were on display early, with Deer Lakes holding a slim one-run lead into the fourth inning.

But the Lancers found themselves on the wrong side of the deciding factor when two similar teams face off — mistakes.

Deer Lakes committed five errors to Holy Redeemer's two, allowing the Royals (23-1) to take home their first PIAA Class AA softball championship, 10-5, against the Lancers (24-2) Friday at Penn State. The Lancers missed on what would have been their first title. This was both teams' first trip to the final.

"The only way we'll lose a game is errors," senior shortstop Katie Gozzard said. "They have the same style as us. We're both offensive machines, and defense, we're solid. Playing a team like that, you're going to make mistakes. It's just being able to overcome that.""

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Baseball: Knoch's seniority system works well

Written by Marky Billson on .

Marky Billson profiles the Knoch baseball team.

2015 0612 Knoch Baseball(Photo: Knoch's Cole Shinsky has been the ace for a Knights' team that has gone deep into the PIAA playoffs. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"Much has been written about the Knoch Knights' outstanding pitching staff, led by left-handers Cole Shinsky and Alex Stobert.

The duo has posted a 15-0 record to lead the team to the Class AAA state semifinals, which were scheduled to take place Wednesday against Donegal at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson.

What has been overlooked to some extent is that the Knights have three and possibly four position players who likely will be playing college baseball next fall.

Jordan Kowalski, the Knights' .337 hitting designated hitter, will play at Waynesburg while Chris Law, the starting shortstop, will enroll at Seton Hill."

 

Knoch's Cole Shinsky has been the ace for a Knights' team that has gone deep into the PIAA playoffs.
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Baseball: Quaker Valley cashes in on another fine year

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles the Quaker Valley baseball team.

"Section title. Deep run in the WPIAL playoffs. Trip to the PIAA tournament.

Repeat.

Repeat again.

Quaker Valley further added to an outstanding run of highly successful baseball seasons this spring, one that has put the Quakers among the top programs in the WPIAL.

The Quakers were defeated by Neshannock, 7-2, in Monday's PIAA Class AA semifinal at Chippewa Park, but that did nothing to discount what the team had accomplished this season."

 

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Baseball: Shaler falls one game short of final

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles the Shaler baseball team.

"When baseball teams advance deep into the PIAA playoffs, long bus rides are common.

A win might make the drive home more pleasant, but losses – particularly like the one Shaler Area suffered Tuesday – can make it seem like time isn't moving at all. The Titans likely felt like they were making the journey back from the country Scotland, rather than Green Township Park in Scotland, Pa.

The three-and-a-half-hour trip capped a day that saw the Titans lose a heartbreaker, one that ended their season a win away from reaching the state championship game.

Shaler fell to North Penn, 3-1, in eight innings in a PIAA Class AAAA semifinal. The Titans scored in the first inning and led the entire way until North Penn tied it in the top of the seventh."

 

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Softball: Deer Lakes comes through in clutch, makes title game

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles the Deer Lakes softball team.

2015 0612 DeerLakes Softball(Photo: Deer Lakes' Tiffany Edwards delivers against Marion Center during the PIAA softball playoffs at Fox Chapel High School. Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

"There have been very few times this season that the Deer Lakes softball team's offense has been tested.

In fact, since returning from a season-opening visit to Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Lancers had outscored their opponents by an aggregate score of 229-31 in their previous 20 games before taking on Cambridge Springs in the PIAA Class AA semifinals on Tuesday at Slippery Rock.

But with their back figuratively to the wall for the first time all season and faced with elimination, the Lancers showed they can not only score runs at will, they can manufacture them at need.

Trailing 3-2 in the top of the seventh, Rachel Tallini doubled in pinch-runner Danielle Huffman to tie the score and send it to extra innings."

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Boys Volleyball: Fox Chapel denied state title

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles the Fox Chapel boys volleyball team. Read his story below.

2015 0612 FoxChapel BVolleyball(Photo: Fox Chapel's Max DePellegrini sets up a shot against Seneca Valley's Taylor Matthews (15) during the PIAA semifinal match June 2. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

The Fox Chapel Area High School boys volleyball program made its second appearance in a PIAA championship match last Saturday at Penn State's Recreation Hall. The site was the same as the Foxes' first trip, and unfortunately for them the results were also similar to the first visit.

In 2006, the year before the PIAA switched to two classifications, Fox Chapel faced Landisville Hempfield of District 3 in the title match. The Foxes won the first set, then lost the next three, as Hempfield won its fourth title in five years.

This year's Fox Chapel squad suffered the same fate in its PIAA Class AAA title match against Parkland, the District 11 champion. A large contingent of Fox Chapel fans was thrilled as the Foxes won the first set and held a 16-11 lead in the second set. But their joy turned to disappointment as Parkland rallied to win the second set, then swept the third and fourth sets to claim its first title.

"The players on both teams invested a lot of time into getting this far," Fox Chapel coach Phil O'Keeffe said. "It's going to be awesome for one team and really bad for the other team. Unfortunately, we were the team that came up short and that really hurts. In a few days the kids will be able to look at this and be proud of what they accomplished."