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Baseball: Riverside rolling again

Written by staff reports on .

After losing two straight games on April 11 and 12, Riverside has regained its footing and taken control of second place and, again, it was games on consecutive days that made the difference. The Panthers, who have won more PIAA titles than any other school, defeated Beaver, which reached the state title game last year, by a 12-4 score on Wednesday, and then dispatched arch-rival Ellwood City 1ith surprising ease, 10-0, on Thursday.

In the wins, Riverside scored 22 runs on 16 hits as the Panthers took advantage of nine errors. Riverside shortstop Ross Maietta had a two-run home run against Ellwood City and two hits against Beaver. Jason Pettner was the winning pitcher against Ellwood City and had two hits against Beaver.

Now 7-3 overall, the Panthers have six games remaining and only one against a team currently with a winning record.

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Baseball: West Feature Athlete - Blackhawk's Jake Emge

Written by staff reports on .

Name: Jake Emge
High School: Blackhawk
Grade: 12
Sport: Baseball

Background Info: While fans from across every level has come to see Blackhawk pitcher Brendan McKay, they've also got a chance to see Jake Emge as a catcher and the two seniors make quite the combination. Brendan's first catcher was Jake's older brother Matt and now Jake has taken over. Jake doesn't get the chance to throw out too many runners when McKay pitches but he can and is batting .353 this season.

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Baseball: No. 9 hitter making big contributions for Blackhawk

Written by staff reports on .

In non-designated hitter leagues, little is expected of the ninth-place hitter.

Even in leagues that use the designated hitter, though, it is highly unusual for the ninth-place hitter to lead the team in runs batted in but that's the way things stand for highly-touted Blackhawk. The Cougars, now 7-1 overall, are led in runs batted in by Duncan Miklos with 10.

Miklos, an excellent defensive outfielder, has found his way into the lineup as the DH and batting ninth and is making the most out of his opportunity. To put that in perspective, Blackhawk has scored just 60 runs on the season and 10 have been driven in by the ninth hitter.

Second on the team in RBIs with eight is second baseman Joe Campagna. Campagna, the cleanup hitter is hitting .591 and has rarely seen a pitcher pitch from the windup as Brendan McKay bats in front of him but, to this point, hasn't caught up to Miklos' production from the nine spot.

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Baseball: West teams know stretch run is here

Written by staff reports on .

It may seem that the weather just turned to baseball weather this week ... and now the season is almost over.

There are only two weeks left now with the WPIAL requiring all section games to be played by May 6.

The top three teams qualify for the playoffs as well as any ties that cannot be broken by head-to head games.

Because the early season was so accentuated by postponements, the playoff picture is far from clear even though so little time is left. No team has clinched and no team has been eliminated even though the season's days are numbered.

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Softball: Aliquippa snaps 133-game losing streak

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

The Aliquippa softball program had waited 3,269 days for this moment, a span of 133 games stretching back to Cinco de Mayo in 2005. So the fact that they had to wait until the last at bat of the bottom of the seventh inning on April 17, 2014 to finally secure a win, likely did not bother the Quips.

Sophomore infielder Shania Walker's walk off single in the bottom of the seventh inning gave Aliquippa its long-sought after win, a 10-9 triumph against Western Beaver, nearly nine years to the date of the program's last win. Walker had a big day overall, finishing 2 for 3 at the plate. Sophomore Donna Gilbert will go down on record as the winning pitcher who ended the streak. She struck out 11.

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Softball: West Feature Athlete - Riverside's Brooke Barker

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Name: Brooke Barker
High School: Riverside
Grade: 12
Sport: Softball

Background Info: The last two season's Brooke Barker lined up at second base, behind pitcher Kirsten Wilson. She watched as Wilson dominated competition and led the Panthers to the WPIAL Class AA title last season. Wilson was the 2013 Post-Gazette Player of the Year. She was 22-1 as a pitcher and batted .549 at the plate with six home runs while being intentionally walked 27 times. She struck out 271 batters in 150 innings where she allowed six earned runs all season. She tossed six no hitters and 19 of her 22 wins came via shutout. This season at Bloomfield College she has pitched 84 2/3 innings and maintained a 2.02 ERA while driving in 28 runs at the plate and batting .396. Barker is well aware of all of that. She was also well aware that Riverside needed someone to step up and fill those shoes. Barker volunteered. Despite being an all-section performer at second base last season, Barker answered the call to move to pitcher. After never having pitched before, Barker tossed a few games in the summer and in fall ball and in the winter she sought out a pitching coach in Ohio.

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Softball: Central Valley keeps postseason hopes alive

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Central Valley has already matched its section win total from a year ago of three. Now the mission for the Warriors is to finish strong over their final four games and improve on their 3-7 finish in Section 1-AAA last year. A 3-7 record was good enough for fifth place in the section last season, if the Warriors want to contend for the playoffs they will need at least five wins as they trail Blackhawk (5-1, 4-1), Ambridge (4-2, 4-2) and New Castle (4-2, 3-2) and are currently tied with Ellwood City (5-3, 3-3).

If Central Valley wants to hang with the elite of Section 1-AAA they will need more big games like the ones senior Jessica Koshinski and junior Hannah Daman came up with against Hopewell. In a five-inning shortened game, both Koshinski and Daman drove in five runs. Koshinski was 2 for 3 with two home runs while also pitching and striking out three. Daman drove in her five runs on three hits including one home run.

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Boys Lacrosse: Moon has crucial game Wednesday with Canon-McMillan

Written by Joe Koch on .

When a team wants to make a statement, the best place to do it is in a battle with a quality opponent.

That's the challenge that faces the Moon High Tigers when the visit Canon-McMillan next Wednesday. It will be the Tigers' first game since a 13-5 victory over Baldwin this past Wednesday.

Ranked No. 3 in Laxpower.com's most recent ratings with a 9-0 record, the Tigers have had several close calls in victories over Mars (4-3), Indiana (7-5) and Chartiers Valley (8-6). But coach Harry Watts' team has shown some offensive prowess in victories over Allderdice (17-1), Aquinas Academy (13-6) and Knoch (18-2). Canon-McMillan currently is ranked No. 13 in the ratings with a 6-2 record.

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Boys Volleyball: Ambridge wins Koller Classic at Central York

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ambridge

Ambridge won the Koller Classic, which was held April 12 at Central York High School. Above is a picture of the Bridgers. Below are results from the weekend provided by Ambridge coach Glenn Freed.

Finals
Ambridge def. Central York  25-15, 17-25, 15-13

Semifinals
Central York def. Hempfield, 25-9.
Ambridge def. Northeastern, 25-15.

Quarterfinals
Central York def. Parkland, 25-17.
Hempfield def. Central Dauphin, 25-15.
Ambridge def. Chambersburg, 25-23.
Northeastern def. Derry, 25-17.

First round
Parkland def. State College, 25-18.
Central York def. York Suburban, 25-15.
Central Dauphin def. North Allegheny, 25-18.
Hempfield def. Cambridge Springs, 25-15.
Chambersburg def. Montour, 25-22.
Ambridge def. Neshaminy, 25-20.
Derry def. Pennsbury, 25-20.
Northeastern def. Emmaus, 25-18.

Play-in round
York Suburban def. Dallastown, 15-13.
Cambridge Springs def. Penn Manor, 16-14.
Neshaminy def. Red Land, 15-8.
Emmaus def. Bethlehem Catholic, 15-9.

Pool-play results

(Teams in each pool play each other in two first-to-25-point games. Each game counts as a win or loss.)

POOL A — 1. Central York (8-0), 2. Chambersburg (5-3), 3. North Allegheny (5-3), 4. Emmaus (1-7), 5. Cambridge Springs (1-7).

POOL B — 1. Hempfield (7-1), 2. Derry (5-3), 3. State College (4-4), 4. Neshaminy (4-4), 5. Dallastown (0-8).

POOL C — 1. Ambridge (7-1), 2. Central Dauphin (5-3), 3. Pennsbury (5-3), 4. York Suburban (2-6), 5. Bethlehem Catholic (1-7).

POOL D — 1. Northeastern (7-1), 2. Parkland (5-3), 3. Montour (4-4), 4. Penn Manor (4-4), 5. Red Land (0-8).

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Tennis: Bobcats stay strong with five new starters

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Behind section singles champion Connor Shallcross, the senior-laden Beaver boys tennis team finished second in Class AA Section 2 last season and advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals.

Beaver lost five starters from that team, including Shallcross, but the team is in the same position this season — second behind Blackhawk.

The team’s two returning starters, sophomores Jon Tetrick and Devin Dikec, are playing in the top two singles players. They started at No. 2 doubles last year.

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Tennis: Wolverines in rebuilding mode

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Tennis: Wolverines in rebuilding mode

Ellwood City lost its top five players from last season to graduation, including WPIAL doubles qualifiers Matt Barnes and Beau Ewing.

This season has been a rebuilding year for the Wolverines, who have won one match prior to Wednesday.

Returning starters Oliver Dorer and Nate Wiley, both seniors, play singles for Ellwood City, with Dorer occupying the top spot (although he is currently injured). Angelo Marsano also plays singles for the Wolverines.

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Tennis: West Feature Athlete — Riverside’s Tyler Squicquero

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Name: Tyler Squicquero
School: Riverside
Grade: 10
Sport: Tennis

Background: Squicquero played No. 2 doubles for the Panthers last season, but has moved up to No. 1 singles this season. His only losses have come to Class AA Section 2 singles champion Jonah Cooper of Blackhawk and section runner-up George Dietrich of Central Valley. Squicquero, who finished third in the section singles tournament to advance to the WPIAL championships, beat Dietrich in the team’s dual meet after losing to him in the section singles semifinals.

Riverside coach John Rorick: “He’s improved a lot since last year. He’s a lot stronger and he’s thinking more on the court. He’s using his drop shot more often and his backhand is better.”

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Baseball: South Side Beaver rebuilding program yields a contender

Written by John D'Abruzzo on .

John D'Abruzzo profiles the South Side Beaver baseball team.

"It has been quite some time since the South Side Beaver varsity baseball program experienced success.

With winning seasons coming few and far between in Hookstown, it's been 14 years since the Rams last qualified for the WPIAL playoffs.

"We definitely have gone through a rough patch," said Chip Hunter, who has been with the team for the past 12 years, including nine as head coach. "In the past three years, our records really haven't shown how far we've come."

After winning a total of only five games from 2009-11, including a winless season in '09, the Rams posted a winning record by going 8-7 overall last season. They, however, missed out on the playoffs by just one game following a 7-7 showing in Section 1-AA."

 

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Baseball: West Allegheny showing it can compete

Written by Drew Karpen on .

Drew Karpen profiles the West Allegheny baseball team.

"It wasn't that long ago that West Allegheny was the cream of the crop in Class AAA baseball.

The Indians won back-to-back WPIAL titles in 2007 and '08 under coach Bryan Cornell.

Cornell has returned for his 11th year as head coach at West Allegheny and is hungry to repeat last year's success.

The Indians were one step away from returning to the WPIAL title game, but lost, 4-0, to section rival Hopewell in the semifinals. With the loss, the Indians still had a chance to make the PIAA playoffs but fell, 1-0, in the third-place consolation game to Keystone Oaks."

 

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Softball: Despite key losses, Riverside is still a force

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Nicholas Tolomeo profiles the Riverside softball team.

"Riverside, the defending WPIAL Class AA champions, has nearly everybody back this season.

The key word is "nearly." Although the Panthers only graduated two players from a 22-win, PIAA runner-up squad, those two players were one of the top pitcher/catcher battery's in recent WPIAL history.

Pitcher Kirsten Wilson and catcher Nicole Mansfield are now in college, leaving huge voids on the team at positions not easy to fill. Wilson was the 2013 Post-Gazette Player of the Year. She was 22-1 as a pitcher She struck out 271 batters in 150 innings where she allowed six earned runs all season. She tossed six no hitters and 19 of her 22 wins came via shutout.

At the plate, she batted .549 with six home runs while being intentionally walked 27 times. This season at Bloomfield College she has pitched 842/3 innings and maintained a 2.02 ERA while driving in 28 runs at the plate and batting .396."

 

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Track: West Allegheny sophomore points for title

Written by Joe Koch on .

Joe Koch profiles West Allegheny track standout Skyler Mason.

"When the Mason family gets together for a meal, the talk invariably centers around the track and field exploits of Skyler Mason.

Of course, that's with good reason. Mason, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound sophomore from Oakdale, is making quite a name for himself throwing the javelin.

Last week, at a meet that took place at Blackhawk High School, Mason turned in the top reported throw of the season to date with an effort of 186 feet, 11 inches. That effort broke the West Allegheny school record of 184-5 that was set in 2009 by Ben Simmen.

"When the season began, we were just hoping he'd throw the state meet qualifying standard which is 178 feet," said Mason's father, Rik Mason, who is in his seventh season on the West Allegheny coaching staff and also is Skyler's throwing coach."

 

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Boys Volleyball: Ambridge makes a huge statement

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

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

2014 0417 Ambridge BVolleyball(Photo: Senior Dan Zajac, serving for the Ambridge volleyball team, is also a dedicated weightlifter and football player. J.J. LaBella/Tri-State Sports & News Service)

The Ambridge Area High School boys volleyball team avenged two losses at Saturday's Koller Classic at Central York High School and came home with the championship trophy.

"The Koller Classic is one of the best tournaments in the state," Ambridge coach Glenn Freed said. "Three of the top four Class AAA teams [in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association state rankings] and the top three Class AA teams were in the 20-team field. Winning a tournament of this magnitude is a significant achievement."

Ambridge, ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL and PVCA rankings in Class AA, has won five WPIAL titles in the past six years. The Bridgers advanced to the PIAA title match last year before losing to Northeastern.

"Our goal every year is to win WPIAL and PIAA titles," Freed said. "We came very close to reaching both goals last year, but fell short in the state title match."

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Boys Tennis: Beaver reloads on the run

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Ryan Riordan profiles the Beaver boys tennis team.

"The Beaver Area boys tennis team has advanced to the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals each of the past four seasons.

But with six of its top nine players, including all of its top five, having graduated after last season, the Bobcats were expected to take a step back this season.

Yet, as the regular season proceeds, Beaver is once again cruising along with just one loss on its resume entering this week.

"I've been pleasantly surprised," Beaver coach Riley Baker said. "You lose the quality of players we had last year and you think you may not be as successful. But we're doing quite well.""