Baseball: 2016 Minor League Update - Vinny Nittoli (Pine-Richland)

Written by John Perrotto on .

Vinny Nittoli pitched so well early in the season in the Seattle Mariners' farm system that the right-handed reliever received a promotion.

The Pine-Richland High School graduate was moved up to high Class A Bakersfield in the California League on May 12. That came after he went 1-0 with three saves and a 2.13 ERA in nine games with low Class A Clinton in the Midwest League.

Nittoli, 25, also has three saves for Bakersfield in 14 games to go with a 2-2 record and 4.88 ERA. He has given up 24 hits in 23 innings with 30 strikeouts and 10 walks.

The Mariners chose Nittoli in the 25th round of the 2014 amateur draft from Xavier University. In three pro seasons, he has compiled a 4-4 record with seven saves and a 3.91 ERA in 42 relief appearances.


Baseball: 2016 Minor League Update - Blake Lalli (Pine-Richland)

Written by John Perrotto on .

Blake Lalli is having a rough season in the minor leagues as he attempts to return to the major leagues for the first time since 2013.

The Pine-Richland graduate is hitting just .194 with one home run and 17 RBIs in 63 games for the Atlanta Braves' Class AAA Gwinnett farm club in the International League. The 33-year-old catcher has a .236 on-base percentage, a .245 slugging percentage, seven doubles, 10 walks and 33 strikeouts.

Lalli played in a combined 22 major league games with the Chicago Cubs (2012) and Milwaukee Brewers (2013), hitting .128 with four RBIs. In 11 minor league seasons, he has a .284 batting average, 59 homers and four stolen bases in 98 games.

Lalli overcome steep odds to reach the major leagues as he went undrafted following his senior season at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C., in 2006. The Cubs signed him as a free agent and he eventually made it to the big leagues six years later.


2016 Post-Gazette Female Athlete of the Year - Pine-Richland's Amanda Kalin

Written by Brian Batko on .

Brian Batko profiles the Post-Gazette's Female Athlete of the Year, Pine-Richland's Amanda Kalin.

"Whether on the basketball court or soccer field, Jodi Chmielewski can just tell when Amanda Kalin is about to shift into another gear.

"You can see it in her eyes when she's going to take over a game," said Chmielewski, Pine-Richland High School's soccer coach. "I think that's a rare quality that you see in those elite athletes."

Kalin has taken over enough games in her two-sport career at Pine-Richland to make her the Post-Gazette Female High School Athlete of the Year for the 2015-16 school year and impress those who matter most. Division I scholarship offers in soccer gave way to Division I offers in basketball, and now her college future is set before she even enters her senior season. Kalin takes the Post-Gazette's top individual award for this past high school season after consideration of all WPIAL and City League standouts.

"I feel honored," Kalin said as she took a few minutes to relax from a busy summer including club soccer and AAU basketball tournaments. "These are the kind of things that you work really hard for and now you finally see your hard work pay off. It's amazing to see.""


Baseball: 2016 Major League Update - Neil Walker (Pine-Richland)

Written by John Perrotto on .

The Pittsburgh Kid is no longer playing for Pittsburgh's team but Neil Walker is having another typically solid season in his first year with the New York Mets.

The switch-hitting second baseman from Pine-Richland is hitting .257 with 14 home runs, 32 RBIs and one stolen base in 74 games. The 30-year-old has spent his entire career with the Pirates since being their first-round draft pick in 2004 until being traded to the Mets last Dec. 10 for left-hander Jon Niese.

Walker also has a .317 on-base percentage and .438 slugging percentage for a .755 OPS to go with 32 runs scored, six doubles, 24 walks and 59 strikeouts.

"I always liked Neil as an opposing player but he's been even better than I thought for us," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's a real pro. And he's developing a voice in our clubhouse, too. That's important. It's not easy for a player that is new to a team to become a leader but he just has that personality where he connects with everybody."


Alumni Update - Dominic Giordano (Pitt)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

PITTSBURGHDivers Meme Sharp and Dominic Giordano have been invited to compete for a chance to represent theirGiordano Pitt country at the U.S. Olympic trials, set to take place June 18-26 in Indianapolis.

Giordano and Sharp will both be competing on the 3M springboard, representing Pitt as two of the best in the country.

Giordano, a Pine-Richland graduate, won the 3M NCAA championship back in March with a six-dive score of 460.30 and became the first Pitt swimmer or diver to earn an individual national title.

The competition will be cumulative over three lists of dives (preliminaries, semifinals and finals). In the individual events, the top two finishers on the men’s side and the top finisher on the women’s event will be named to the national team.

Giordano began competition on Monday in the men’s 3M preliminaries.


(photo courtesy of University of Pitt)