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Baseball: 2015 Major League Update - Josh Wilson (Mt. Lebanon)

Written by John Perrotto on .

(Sports Town is featuring updates on WPIAL baseball players who are currently playing in the major or minor leagues. The posts were compiled by veteran baseball writer John Perrotto. We will feature two players every day.)

WilsonJoshMUG
Year after year and team after team, Josh Wilson keeps finding his way back to the major leagues.

The Mt. Lebanon product has been serving as a utility infielder with the Detroit Tigers since being called up from Class AAA Toledo on June 5. Wilson has batted .368 in nine games with a double, three RBIs, a .368 on-base percentage and a .421 slugging percentage.

At Toledo, the 34-year-old hit .291 in 37 games with nine doubles, 10 RBIs, six stolen bases, a .350 on-base percentage and a .362 slugging percentage.

The Tigers are Wilson's ninth team in his eight-year career as he has also played for the Florida Marlins (2005), Washington Nationals (2007), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2007), Arizona Diamondbacks (2009, 2011, 2013), San Diego Padres (2009), Seattle Mariners (2009-10), Milwaukee Brewers (2011) and Texas Rangers (2014).

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Baseball: 2015 Minor League Update - Jordan Jankowski (Peters Township)

Written by John Perrotto on .

(Sports Town is featuring updates on WPIAL baseball players who are currently playing in the major or minor leagues. The posts were compiled by veteran baseball writer John Perrotto. We will feature two players every day.)

JankowskiJordanMUG
Jordan Jankowski is only one step away from the major leagues.

The right-hander from Peters Township is a relief pitcher with the Houston Astros' Class AAA Fresno farm club in the Pacific Coast League. He has worked exclusively out of the bullpen for the first time in his four-year professional career after splitting time between starting and relieving.

Jankowski, 26, is 3-2 with one save and a 3.75 ERA in 31 games. He has allowed 40 hits in 36 innings while striking out 40 and walking 20.

That Jankowski is a pitching prospect is a bit of a surprise as he made his mark as a power-hitting catcher in high school. He hit 36 home runs in four seasons while leading Peters Township to back-to-back WPIAL titles in his final two years.

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2015 South Male Athlete of the Year - Steel Valley's Brandon Donovan

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles the South Xtra Male Athlete of the Year, Steel Valley's Brandon Donovan.

"Brandon Donovan has a big leg, and he wasn't ashamed to show it off as Steel Valley's kicker the past four seasons.

Donovan would sometimes boom kickoffs through the uprights. He once connected on a 55-yard field goal in practice.

But Donovan's leg or his smooth jump shot weren't the biggest reasons for his high school athletic success.

His powerful arm and ability to swing a baseball bat was the cause of that."

 

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2015 South Female Athlete of the Year - Chartiers Valley's Maria Lohman

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles the South Xtra Female Athlete of the Year, Chartiers Valley's Maria Lohman.

"Doe Krug knows diving.

Krug, along with her husband, Julian, are co-head coaches at the Pitt Aquatic Club, parents of an Olympic diver, and considered two of the nation's premier coaches of the sport.

So when Doe Krug gives high praise to star pupil Maria Lohman, it certainly shouldn't be taken lightly.

"She has the potential to be an Olympian," Krug said."

 

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Softball: 2015 South All-Stars

Written by Post-Gazette on .

Here are the 2015 South softball All-Stars.

Player of the Year
Olivia Gray, Trinity, SS, Sr., Pitt recruit batted an amazing .611 with 26 extra-base hits for PIAA runners-up Hillers

The Others
Delany Elling, Trinity, 1B, Jr., Penn State recruit batted .580, scored 37 runs as Hillers compiled a 20-6 record

Bailey Parshall, Belle Vernon Area, P, Fr., Frosh phenom broke on the scene with 21-2 record and 214 strikeouts for WPIAL Class AAA champs

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Football: Former assistant takes over at South Park

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles new South Park football coach Marty Rieck.

"As a history teacher, Marty Rieck is attuned to the past and how it impacts future events.

"I think they're intertwined because you can't know where you're going until you know where you've been," Rieck said. "It's obvious that the past is a learning tool for the future in learning what has been done properly and what needs to be changed and acting accordingly."

Over the next few months and years, Rieck is going to be reminded of a history that he was a huge part of throughout most of his life as this 34-year-old South Park High School alumnus was tabbed to take over the reins as the Eagles head football coach. Longtime South Park sideline guru Tom Loughran left the program in February to take over at Fox Chapel.

Not only will Rieck, a Bethel Park resident, be taking over for someone who won WPIAL and PIAA Class AA championships in 1997 and 2005, he'll be replacing the man he both played for and worked for throughout much of his life."

 

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Baseball: 2015 Major League Update - Don Kelly (Mt. Lebanon)

Written by John Perrotto on .

(Sports Town is featuring updates on WPIAL baseball players who are currently playing in the major or minor leagues. The posts were compiled by veteran baseball writer John Perrotto. We will feature two players every day.)

KellyDonMUG
Don Kelly's first season with the Miami Marlins has been frustrating as he has spent almost all of it on the disabled list with a broken right ring finger.

The veteran utility player from Mt. Lebanon sustained the injury April 12 after playing in just two games and going 0-for-1.

Kelly, 35, began an injury rehabilitation assignment with high Class A Jupiter on June 22. In eight Florida State League games, he has gone 6-for-26 (.231) with one double, one triple, six walks and two strikeouts.

The Marlins signed Kelly as a free agent in January after he played six seasons with the Detroit Tigers from 2009-14. He made his major league debut with the Pirates in 2007.

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Baseball: 2015 Major League Update - J.J. Hoover (Elizabeth Forward)

Written by John Perrotto on .

(Sports Town is featuring updates on WPIAL baseball players who are currently playing in the major or minor leagues. The posts were compiled by veteran baseball writer John Perrotto. We will feature two players every day.)

HooverJJMUG
J.J. Hoover has had quite the bounceback season for the Cincinnati Reds.

The right-hander reliever from Elizabeth Forward is 5-0 with one save and a 1.53 ERA in 36 games. In 35 1/3 innings, he has allowed 19 hits and 16 walks while striking out 26 while serving as the primary set-up man to closer Aroldis Chapman.

A year ago, Hoover was 1-10 with a 4.84 ERA in 54 games.

Hoover, 27, made 16 consecutive scoreless appearances, covering 15 2/3 innings, before being touched for a run in one inning of work Tuesday night in an 8-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

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Girls Basketball: Mt. Lebanon's Oldaker leads United States to bronze medal

Written by Brad Everett on .

Mt. Lebanon coach leads Team USA to bronze

2015 0628 MtLebanon GBasketball(Photo: Head coach Dori Oldaker instructs the United States U16 Women's Team in its 81-24 win against Mexico in the bronze medal game at the FIBA Americas Tournament on Sunday. Photo courtesy of USA Basketball)

Mt. Lebanon girls basketball coach Dori Oldaker is no stranger to winning big games.

What makes her most recent victory unique is that it came in a different country coaching a different team.

Oldaker led the United States women's team to a bronze medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship Sunday in Puebla, Mexico. The United States defeated host Mexico, 81-24, in the bronze medal game.

The United States went 4-1 in the tournament, its only loss coming to Brazil, 72-63, in the semifinals. As one of the top four finishers, the United States advanced to next summer's 2016 FIBA U17 World Championships.

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Basketball: Former Char Valley star McConnell signs with 76ers

Written by Brad Everett on .

T.J. McConnell was not selected in Thursday night's NBA Draft, but when the draft concluded, it didn't take long for an NBA team to pick him up.

Early this morning, McConnell, a 2010 Chartiers Valley graduate, signed a free-agent contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. McConnell was reportedly offered an NBA mininum contract that would pay him six-figures even if he doesn't make the team.

McConnell, who began his college career at Duquesne before spending his final two seasons at Arizona, will play with the 76ers in the NBA Summer League. The team will compete in the Utah league in Salt Lake City July 6-9 and the Las Vegas league July 10-20. One of McConnell's teammates will be Jahlil Okafor, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft.

Should McConnell not make the 76ers, he reportedly will receive his guaranteed money and be free to sign with any other team. He can also go to the D-League and would be able to be called up by any team.

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Baseball: 2015 South All-Stars

Written by Post-Gazette on .

Here are the 2015 South baseball All-Stars.

Player of the Year
Brandon Donovan, Steel Valley, P/INF, Sr.
Two-time South Xtra Player of the Year went 8-2 with 1.38 ERA, 124 strikeouts in 66 innings and hit .576.

The Others
Austin Kitchen, Mt. Lebanon, P, Sr.
Coastal Carolina signee boasted 6-1 mark with 2.29 ERA and fanned 85 in 51 innings.

Corey Augenstein, Bethel Park, P, Sr.
Pitt recruit went 6-3 with 1.94 ERA and 71 strikeouts for WPIAL Class AAAA semifinalist.

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Track: South Park grad pointing to future

Written by Chris Woodin on .

Chris Woodin profiles South Park graduate Billy Stanley, who is now a standout javelin thrower at Ohio State.

"Billy Stanley can't wait to get back to breaking records.

A standout javelin thrower at South Park High School who graduated in 2012, Stanley is looking to make his return to the field this summer after missing almost two full college seasons.

After an outstanding freshman season at Ohio State in 2013, Stanley knew something didn't feel right with his throwing arm after his third meet of the 2014 season, despite collecting first-place finishes in all three.

"I told the trainers I felt like I had no power throwing, but I was still doing decently well," Stanley said. "They shut me down for a few weeks to try to bring the inflammation down and see if anything would change when I came back to throw.""

 

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Basketball: Char Valley grad hopes to hear name called tonight

Written by Brad Everett on .

A WPIAL alum has not heard his name called in the NBA Draft in 18 years.

There's an outside chance that could change tonight.

Chartiers Valley graduate T.J. McConnell had outstanding high school and college careers, and now hopes to take the next step by playing in the NBA.

McConnell, a 6-foot-1 point guard who played his final two college seasons at the University of Arizona, could be one of the 60 players picked tonight. McConnell reportedly opened eyes at the NBA Draft Combine, and had private workouts with a number of teams, including the Spurs and Lakers.

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Softball: Trinity comes up a few runs short of state title

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles the Trinity softball team.

2015 0619 Trinity Softball(Photo: Trinity High School players, from left, Kim Dunst, Lauren McGavitt, Maddie Rush and Sara Beecha show their team unity after losing to Bethlehem Catholic, 2-0, in the PIAA Class AAA championship last Friday at Penn State University. Craig Houtz/Special to the Post-Gazette)

"During the season the Trinity softball team became a bit superstitious and had quite a few rituals that came into play.

"Everybody on the team wears the same thing and I wear green socks every game," Hillers third baseman Shelby Clemens said. "We make sundaes on the bases, like Michigan does with making pizza, we get on first and scoop the ice cream, on second we sprinkle it, on third we put the syrup on and we eat it when we score."

When Trinity played District 11 champion Bethlehem Catholic in the PIAA Class AAA championship game last Friday, the Hillers were hoping for a lot of on-base sundaes followed by the real thing to celebrate the school's first state championship at the Berkey Creamery on Penn State's campus. Only there were no sundaes on the basepaths as Trinity's run ended at Penn State's Beard Field in a 2-0 loss to the Golden Hawks in its first ever appearance in the finals.

"It was a wonderful ride and it was a lot of fun for the girls and I didn't regret anything and we had a great experience," Trinity coach Shawn Gray said. "At the end of the day the girls had no regrets. They were obviously disappointed, but they weren't upset about the way they played because they went out and did the job they felt they had to do and just didn't get the timely hits they needed to win the game.""

 

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Football: South Fayette's Brumbaugh looking forward to Big 33 game

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles recent South Fayette graduate Brett Brumbaugh, who will play in Saturday's Big 33 Classic.

"Brett Brumbaugh was feeling miserable.

It was early February and Brumbaugh was going head to head with an unpleasant opponent – a stomach bug. The bug was winning, too, and would soon cause Brumbaugh to miss another day of school.

But when Brumbaugh's father awoke his son that morning, the elder Brumbaugh had some uplifting news.

"My dad came in my room and said 'You got an email. You're going to be in the game,'" Brumbaugh recalled."

 

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Tennis: Char-Houston grad piles up honors in final year at IUP

Written by Joe Bendel on .

Joe Bendel profiles Chartiers-Houston graduate Tanya Timko, who is now a standout tennis player at IUP.

"In describing herself, Tanya Timko offered to a reporter, "I'm almost a perfectionist."

It was a revealing self-portrayal that brought to mind the famed Vince Lombardi quote, in which the former Green Bay Packers coach asserted, "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

Truer words could not have been spoken in depicting the athletic/academic career Timko authored at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. This Chartiers-Houston High School graduate was excellence personified.

"Never coached anyone like her — not with her success on the court and in the classroom," said IUP tennis coach Larry Peterson, who just completed his sixth season at the NCAA Division II school. "One of a kind.""

 

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Wrestling: Belle Vernon star will have a busy summer

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles Belle Vernon wrestler Jarod Verkleeren. Read his story below.

The Verkleeren family will be traveling to Southeastern Europe in August, but it's not for a vacation.

The family will be visiting Sarajevo, the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to watch Jarod Verkleeren wrestle in the FILA Cadet Freestyle World Championships, which begin Aug. 25.

"My parents, my two brothers, and my sister will be making the trip to cheer me on," said Verkleeren, who recently completed his sophomore year at Belle Vernon Area High School. "I'm really looking forward to the trip. I didn't do well at last year's tournament. I lost in the first round, so I wanted another chance."

Verkleeren earned his second trip to the world championships by winning his weight class championship at the Cadet National Team Trials, which took place May 29-31 in Akron, Ohio. He competed in the 63 kilogram weight class, which translates to 138.75 pounds. He wrestled at 145 pounds during the past high school season.