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Lacrosse: Second-seeded Mt. Lebanon meets determined Pine-Richland in semifinals

Written by Joe Koch on .

There's one thing certain about Monday's Class 3A girls lacrosse semifinal between Mt. Lebanon and Pine-Richland at Mars High School: both of these teams have fought hard the entire season.

Both teams survived quarterfinal matchups this past week. Pine-Richland held off a determined Peters Township squad to earn a 10-8 victory. Meanwhile, the No. 2 seed Blue Devils rode the wave of playing at home following a first-round bye to earn a 14-8 victory over border rival Bethel Park.

This is a rematch of a regular-season non-section game won by host Mt. Lebanon 12-10 on April 17.

Following that game, the Rams lost another game to Ohio rival Upper Arlington, 15-3. Following that loss, the Rams won eight of their next nine games with the only setback a 15-12 loss to undefeated Fox Chapel, the top seed in the Class 3A tournament.

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Lacrosse: Playoffs mean plenty for USC, Mt. Lebanon boys

Written by Joe Koch on .

There's nothing quite like a game with a neighborhood rival to get a team's emotions in high gear.

But when a trip to Robert Morris University's Joe Walton Stadium for the WPIAL Class 3A boys championship is on the line, that just raises the degree of intensity to another level.

That's what is at stake when Mt. Lebanon meets Upper St. Clair at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Mars High School. The winner meets the survivor of the other semifinal between Peters Township and Shady Side Academy.

Mt. Lebanon -- the No. 8 seed -- stunned top-seeded North Allegheny, 9-6, at the Tigers' Newman Stadium this past Thursday. In the first game, the No. 3 seed Panthers ousted another neighborhood rival, Bethel Park, 11-3.

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Lacrosse: Fast Upper St. Clair start dooms Bethel Park boys

Written by Joe Koch on .

With his team trailing by just two goals at halftime, Bethel Park boys coach Chris Ortmann likely felt his team stood a good chance against border rival Upper St. Clair in a WPIAL boys Class 3A quarterfinal this past Thursday at North Allegheny's Newman Stadium.

That might have been the case until the third quarter when Upper St. Clair scored four goals and went on to earn a spot against another border rival -- Mt. Lebanon in the WPIAL semifinals -- with an 11-3 victory over the Black Hawks.

"They had a good game plan, and they were ready for us," Ortmann said. "It was one of those days where you were waiting for one team to get on a roll, and they did. They got out in front of us and it was hard for us to play catch-up. They played outstanding today."

Ortmann said Wyatt Antkiewicz -- who scored the first three goals of the game for Upper St. Clair and ended up with four goals -- did an effective job to start the Panthers' offense.

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Baseball: Canon-McMillan hoping tough section play pays off in postseason

Written by Sarah Spencer on .

Sarah Spencer profiles the Canon-McMillan baseball team.

2017 0519 Canon McMillan Baseball(Photo: Canon-McMillan's Zach Rohaley is the ace of the Big Macs' staff, going 6-0 with a 0.60 ERA heading into the playoffs. Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

"Canon-McMillan baseball hasn't lost a section game since April 18 of 2016.

The Big Macs won five consecutive Class 4A Section 5 games to close out last year's conference play, on their way to an 8-5 loss to Norwin, the eventual WPIAL champion, in the semifinals of the playoffs. Since then, after conference realignment, Canon-McMillan has gone undefeated in Class 6A Section 3, its No. 2 seed giving the Big Macs a bye week before postseason play begins.

Playing in one of the WPIAL's toughest sections helped prepare the Big Macs for the postseason, according to coach Tim Bruzdewicz.

"That does give you a sense of accomplishment, a sense of confidence, obviously anytime you go through a section like this, a meat grinder, 12-0," Bruzdewicz said. "It does give you that swagger. It does give you that motivation, that belief that you can beat anybody.""

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Boys Tennis: Peters Township has season come to an end

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Ever since 2001 when the PIAA first decided to acknowledge team tennis as a sport and include official state championships, teams from the WPIAL have excelled in Class 3A.

Since 2003, only one time, in 2011, did the District not have a representative in the final and, in 2005 and 2010, there was an all-WPIAL final.

Not this year.

Fox Chapel, the WPIAL champion, rolled over City League champion Perry, 5-0, and didn't lose a game in any of its five matches. But runner-up Peters Township was not as fortunate as the Indians got into a dogfight with District 10 champion Cathedral Prep in the preliminary round on Tuesday.

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Photo Journal: Softball - South Allegheny vs. Freedom WPIAL First Round (May 15)

Written by Marilyn Schwilm on .

Freedom and South Allegheny pair off in a WPIAL 3A First Round Playoff game at Baldwin High School, Monday, Friday 15. South Allegheny poured it on and with their 11-1 win they will move on to face Southmoreland, May 17.

click here to see video highlights of the game

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

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Track: South Park’s Huwalt hopes to overtake rival for WPIAL gold

Written by Brad Everett on .

Burrell's Lizzie Weimer is the reigning WPIAL Class 2A champion in the shot put and discus.

Maura Huwalt will try to make sure there are no repeats.

Huwalt, a sophomore at South Park, will face a tall task at Thursday's WPIAL championships when she takes aim at a pair of titles currently held by Weimer, a senior who hopes to win double gold again. Huwalt placed second in the discus and third in the shot put at last year's championships.

Weimer and Huwalt are the No. 1 and 2 seeds in both events. In the shot put, Weimer has a top throw of 43-4 and Huwalt boasts a top throw of 39-6. In the discus, Weimer's top heave is 135-8 and Huwalt's 134-8. Weimer's shot put throw is the best in the WPIAL, regardless of class. Weimer and Huwalt's discus throws are the best in the WPIAL, regardless of class.

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Track: Bethel Park speedster hopes to become fastest man in the WPIAL

Written by Brad Everett on .

One of the showcase events of the WPIAL championships is the 100-meter dash.

A junior from Bethel Park hopes to steal the show.

James Krandel hopes to put forth a golden performance at Thursday's Class 3A championships. Krandel is the No. 2 seed in the event having run a qualifying time of 10.85. On the same track two weeks ago, Krandel placed third behind reigning PIAA champion Journey Brown of Meadville and Ambridge's Isaac Elliott.

Elliott is the top seed and favorite. He ran a qualifying time of 10.54. Also in the field are defending champion Zane Dudek of Armstrong and Beaver's Darius Wise.

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Track: Upper St. Clair’s Shaw will be tested in 1,600 at WPIALs

Written by Brad Everett on .

Upper St. Clair's Savannah Shaw has clocked the fastest time in the 1,600-meter run in the WPIAL this season and enters the WPIAL Class 3A championships as the No. 1 seed.

Winning a title won't be easy.

Shaw has been exceptional this season, her latest conquest coming at the Baldwin Invitational when she took home the title in the mile. Her top 1,600 time this season is 4:55.97.

On Thursday, Shaw will return to that same track and try to claim her first WPIAL title after finishing in fourth place a year ago as a sophomore. Shaw's chief competition will be Oakland Catholic's Lauren Finikiotis, the defending champion and the No. 2 seed. Finikiotis has run a season-best time of 5:02.30. She was the runner-up to Shaw at the Baldwin Invitational.

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Track: Mt. Lebanon freshman hopes to leap to WPIAL title

Written by Brad Everett on .

You could be hearing the name Mason Ventrone a lot over the next few years.

Ventrone is an ultra-talented freshman from Mt. Lebanon who excels in three sports -- track, football and basketball.

A day from now, Ventrone could already become a WPIAL champion.

Ventrone enters Thursday's championships at Baldwin holding the top qualifying mark in the Class 3A high jump. Ventrone jumped 6-5 earlier this season. That put him atop the qualifying chart along with Emmanuel Mitchell of Penn Hills. Mitchell placed fourth at last year's championships.

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Lacrosse: Mt. Lebanon boys foil perfect section season for Upper St. Clair

Written by Joe Koch on .

If there's any doubt that Mt. Lebanon High's boys lacrosse team knows how to play under pressure, then take a look at the host Blue Devils' final section game against longtime rival Upper St. Clair.

With the Panthers staring at a perfect record against rivals in Class 3A Section 1, the Blue Devils spoiled any hit of an Upper St. Clair celebration on the Mt. Lebanon turf with a thrilling 10-9 victory over the Panthers.

The game was the final regular-season game for the Panthers, who likely will be moving on to the WPIAL tournament that begins this week.

Mt. Lebanon completes regular-season play against Olentangy High School, which is located in Columbus, Ohio.

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Lacrosse: Mt. Lebanon girls edge Upper St. Clair for section title

Written by Joe Koch on .

Mt. Lebanon's girls lacrosse team has had an interesting final week of the regular season.

After falling to a very solid Peters Township squad 10-9 in a Class 3A Section 1 game that snapped a 12-game winning streak, the Blue Devils held off a determined Upper St. Clair team with a 9-8 victory this past Wednesday over the host Panthers.

Mt. Lebanon finished with an overall 14-2 record and won the section title with an 11-1 record. Peters Township was second at 10-2, while Upper St. Clair, 8-4, and Bethel Park, 7-5, rounded out the top four places in the section.

As a section champion, Mt. Lebanon will begin the WPIAL Class 3A tournament at a venue that is close to -- if not actually on-campus --- home.

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Alumni Update - Mitch Nordstrom (Waynesburg)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

WAYNESBURG, Pa. – The Waynesburg University baseball team knew exactly what it had to do going intoNordstrom Waynesburg Thursday's Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) doubleheader against Grove City.

A sweep would clinch a spot in the upcoming PAC playoffs for either team. While neither opponent sealed up a spot in the postseason, both kept their championship hopes alive with a split in Waynesburg.

The Wolverines (16-17, 13-10) opened up a big lead in game one and held off a Yellow Jacket (18-20, 12-11) rally to pick up an 11-8 win. With its hopes for the postseason on the line, Waynesburg erased a 5-0 deficit and scored the next 14 runs en route to a 14-8 triumph.

Mitch Nordstrom, a Bethel Park graduate, chipped in four hits of his own, which included a double, three RBI and four runs scored.

 

(photo courtesy of Waynesburg University)

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Alumni Update - Alex Lawrence (Waynesburg)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

GREENVILLE, Pa. – The Waynesburg University softball team saw three of its own honored on the All-Presidents'Lawrence Waynesburg Athletic Conference (PAC) Softball teams, which were released on Monday afternoon. Sophomore first baseman Alex Lawrence and freshman infielder Ashley Dubovich were given the nod as second-team honorees, while freshman Rachel Skon was lauded as an honorable mention pick.

Lawrence, a Chartiers Valley graduate, was a force at the plate for the Yellow Jackets. She finished tied for eighth place in the conference in batting average (.400), sixth in slugging percentage (.626), fifth in RBI (33), first in doubles (17) and eighth in homeruns (3). The second-year starter was honored earlier this year as a PAC Hitter of the Week.

 

(photo courtesy of Waynesburg University)

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Alumni Update - Kassidy O’Keefe (Waynesburg)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

GREENVILLE, Pa. – Congratulations go out to seniors Kassidy O'Keefe and Holly Bachman, who were recognizedOKeefe Waynesburg as members of the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference (ORLC) women's all-conference teams.

Despite never playing competitive lacrosse prior to this past spring, O'Keefe, a Chartiers Valley graduate, used her athleticism and tenacity to earn second-team laurels as a defender.

In her only year on the field, the two-sport starter (basketball) finished second on Waynesburg with 29 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers. 

 

(photo courtesy of Waynesburg University)

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Alumni Update - Abby Cunningham (Washington & Jefferson)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

GREENVILLE, Pa. -- Senior shortstop Abby Cunningham was chosen as a Second Team All-Presidents' AthleticCunningham WJ Conference performer for the 2017 season.

The selection is the third of Cunningham's career, having previously earned First Team recognition at shortstop in 2016 and claiming Second Team laurels as a catcher in 2014.

This year, Cunningham, a Peters Township graduate, led the Presidents in a majority of offensive categories as she batted .322 (28-for-87) with seven walks, five doubles, 15 RBI and eight runs scored.

She finished her four-year career in Red & Black with 139 hits, the ninth-most in program history. 

 

(photo courtesy of Washington & Jefferson College)

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Baseball: Serra Catholic's offense dominating opponents

Written by Sarah Spencer on .

Sarah Spencer profiles the Serra Catholic baseball team.

2017 0512 SerraCatholic Baseball(Photo: Ben Visnesky has been a leading hitter for Serra Catholic, batting .600 to top a list of eight teammates batting at least .400. Michael Henninger)

"There's starting out strong, then there's scoring 62 runs the first three games of the season.

After the Eagles' opening tournament in Alabama, Serra Catholic baseball player couldn't deny their showing on offense.

"A ton of us started realizing that a lot of our team was hitting the cover off the ball," junior Ben Bowen said. "It just gave a lot of confidence to everyone else to keep working hard and gave a lot of confidence to our pitchers, too, to throw strikes and we'll be in the game, no matter what happens."

Through its 13-0 win against Brentwood Monday, which avenged its only loss of the season, Serra Catholic has scored 10 or more runs in all but three of its 18 games this season."