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Softball: South Park on its way to first state semifinal in 11 years

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

South Park is in the final four of the PIAA Class AA softball tournament after a wild PIAA quarterfinal win. South Park had not been to the PIAA semifinals since 2005 and this year looked to be no different after the District 6 champion Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties erupted for eight runs in the first inning. The WPIAL runner-up Eagles brushed aside the eight-run deficit and stormed back to stun the Mounties, 16-12. South Park was fueled by Kaitlyn Pavlick, who had a monster day going 3 for 5 at the plate with a home run, double and six RBIs. The last time South Park was in the state semifinals was 2005 when it lost to Bald Eagle Area.

South Park (16-4) will play Moniteau on Monday in the PIAA Class AA semifinals at North Allegheny High School at 4 p.m. In addition to defeating District 6 champion Phillipsburg-Osceola in the PIAA quarterfinals, South Park also defeated District 10 champion Northwestern in the first round. The Eagles will go for a third consecutive win over a district champion when they play Moniteau, the champions out of District 9. Moniteau has had success against WPIAL opponents, as it blasted WPIAL champion Ellwood City, 11-0, in the PIAA quarterfinals on Thursday. Previously, it also shut out District 5 champion Everett, 6-0.

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Photo Journal: Softball WPIAL AA Championship - South Park vs. Ellwood City (June 3)

Written by Marilyn Schwilm on .

South Park and Ellwood City meet in the WPIAL AA Softball Championship, Friday, June 3, 2016 at California University.  Ellwood City wins the championship, shutting out South Park 10-0 in 5 innings.

click here to see video highlights of the gam

Photos by Marilyn C. Schwilm, Tri-State Sports & News Service

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Softball: South Park sets sights on PIAA playoffs

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Two years ago, South Park won three total games. Last year, South Park produced one of the biggest turnaround stories in the WPIAL, rebounding from a 3-11 campaign to reach the WPIAL playoffs. The Eagles found a way to improve even further this year. South Park won 14 games, more than the last two seasons combined, and not only reached the WPIAL playoffs, but also the PIAA playoffs.

South Park's bats came alive in the WPIAL playoffs. The Eagles scored 31 runs in their first three playoff games - wins over South Side Beaver, Freeport and Laurel. The Eagles outscored those three opponents, 31-4. Justine Dean fired a two-hitter with nine strikeouts in a 7-0 shutout win against Freeport. She was strong again against Laurel, throwing a three-hitter in a five-inning shortened game. At the plate in that game she had two hits and three RBIs. Katlyn Pavlick chipped in against Laurel with a two-run home run and three RBIs. They ran into a buzzsaw in undefeated Ellwood City in the WPIAL final and lost, 10-0. South Park will hope to rediscover its offensive firepower in the PIAA playoffs that begin on Monday.

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Softball: South Feature Athlete - Justine Dean, South Park

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Name: Justine Dean
High School: South Park
Grade: 11
Sport: Softball
Position: Pitcher

Background: The WPIAL Class AA title game is shaping up to be a pitching duel. No. 1 seed and undefeated Ellwood City will throw Skyla Greco, while No. 3 South Park will counter with Justine Dean. Dean has been dominant in these WPIAL playoffs. With her offense scoring 31 runs in three games, Dean has not had to be great, but she has been anyway. South Park defeated South Side Beaver, 13-3, Freeport, 7-0, and Laurel, 11-1.

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Alumni Update - Cory Tucker (Slippery Rock)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa.– Slippery Rock University senior offensive lineman Cory Tucker will join the Green Bay Packers as an undraftedTucker SRU free agent for rookie minicamp May 5.

Tucker received interest from multiple NFL teams following the conclusion of the Draft Saturday night before he received the call from his agent that he is heading to Green Bay.

Tucker is the first Slippery Rock player to be invited to join an NFL team since Brandon Fusco was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He is the first Rock player to be picked up as an undrafted free agent since offensive lineman Mike Butterworth joined the Atlanta Falcons in 2008.

The South Park graduate is coming off a senior season in which he helped lead one of the best offensive attacks among all NCAA Division II schools. The Rock finished the 2015 season with the highest scoring offense in the country, averaging 45.2 points per game. Slippery Rock had the most first downs (351) of any team in the nation, the fifth best total offense in the nation at 490.3 yards per game and the 12th best rushing offense at 257.7 yards per game. The Rock offense shattered multiple single-season school records this fall, including rushing yards (3,608), rushing attempts (741), rushing TDs (46), total offense (6,864), all-purpose yardage (8,599), scoring (633 points) and total TDs (87).

Tucker, at 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, was a finalist for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year and was the highest vote getter among all offensive linemen. He finished third overall in the national voting for the award.

He was honored by six different organizations as an All-American following the 2015 season, including four that named him a first team All-American.  Among those four were the AP Little All-America team and the American Football Coaches Association.

Tucker started 48 straight games at right tackle over the last four years at Slippery Rock, never missing a start after redshirting his first year on campus.

He will report to the Packers rookie minicamp May 5.

 

(photo courtesy of Slippery Rock University)