Monday, July 21, 2014

Peters Township native signs AHL contract

Add Rob Madore to the list of Washington County natives taking a big step toward playing in the NHL.

The Peters Township native signed a contract Monday with the Milwaukee Admirals, the Nashville Predators’ AHL affiliate. Madore led PT to two PIHL Penguins Cup victories in 2004 and 2005.

Madore won the ECHL Playoff MVP last season as the goalie for the Cincinnati Cyclones, which lost the Kelly Cup championship series in six games to the Alaska Aces. He had a 17-12 record during the 
2013-14 regular season with a 0.908 save percentage.

The former Indians net minder led the University of Vermont to the 2009 Frozen Four as a freshman and has spent time between the AHL and ECHL since 2011.

The 26-year-old was invited to the Penguins Development Camp in the fall of 2009 before spending three more seasons at Vermont. Madore is also ranked second all-time at UVM in saves.

Madore spent time with two ECHL teams in 2012 and appeared in nine games with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL), collecting a 5-3-0 mark with a 1.83 goals against average.

He signed with the Cyclones, the ECHL affiliate of the Predators and Florida Panthers, last August.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Peters Township grad excels in NYCBL

Zach Verner
Peters Township graduate Zach Verner, who is currently a sophomore at John Carroll University, is playing in the New York Collegiate Baseball League this summer.

Verner has made 16 appearances for the Niagra Power. He has tossed 17.2 innings for the Power with a stellar 1.01 ERA, nine saves and a 21-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The right-hander recently played for the Western Team in the NYCBL All-Star game where he earned the save.

Verner, who is a relief pitcher for John Carroll's baseball team, is not the first PT grad to play in the league. Mike Bittel pitched in the league last year and like Verner, was selected the all-star game.

As a sophomore this spring, he only appeared in three games while recording a 0-1 record in six innings pitched, but he was the Blue Streak’s closer in 2013.

As a freshman, Verner appeared in 15 games and led the team with three saves, posted the second-lowest ERA on the team at 2.14 and did not allow an earned run in 12 of 15 appearances.

At Peters Township, he was a three-year letter winner and captain of the 2012 Indians. Verner was a junior on Joe Maize's team that was a WPIAL runner up in 2011.

Friday, July 11, 2014

2014 High School Football Schedules

8/29 7 pm            at Frazier *         
9/5 7 pm              California *        
9/12 7 pm            Jefferson-Morgan *      
9/19 7 pm            at Bentworth *                     
9/26 7 pm            Mapletown *    
10/4 1 pm            at Wilkinsburg    
10/10 7 pm          at Beth-Center *             
10/17 7 pm          Carmichaels *   
10/24 7 pm          West Greene *

8/29 7 pm            at Carmichaels *                   
9/5 7 pm              West Greene *                     
9/12 7 pm            at Frazier *         
9/19 7 pm            Avella *                    
9/26 7 pm            Jefferson-Morgan *                           
10/3 7 pm            at California *        
10/10 7 pm          at Mapletown *                    
10/17 7 pm          Jeannette                                
10/24 7 pm          Beth-Center *

8/29 7 pm            at Mapletown *               
9/5 7 pm              Greensburg Central Catholic                            
9/12 7 pm            at California *        
9/19 7 pm            Carmichaels *                        
9/26 7 pm            West Greene *                     
10/3 7 pm            at Frazier *         
10/10 7 pm          Avella *                    
10/17 7 pm          Jefferson-Morgan *      
10/24 7 pm          at Bentworth *

8/29 7 pm            at Waynesburg Central *             
9/5 7 pm              Washington *   
9/12 7 pm            at Mount Pleasant *      
9/19 7 pm            Charleroi *              
9/26 7 pm            at Ellwood City                      
10/3 7 pm            at Southmoreland *       
10/11 1:30 pm    McGuffey *       
10/17 7 pm          at Derry Area *
10/24 7 pm          Brownsville *

8/29 7 pm            Clairton                                     
9/5 7 pm              at Avella *          
9/12 7 pm            Beth-Center *                       
9/19 7 pm            at Jefferson-Morgan *                      
9/26 7 pm            at Carmichaels *                                   
10/3 7 pm            Bentworth *          
10/10 7 pm          at West Greene *           
10/17 7 pm          at Mapletown *               
10/24 7 pm          Frazier *

8/29 7:30 pm      at Mt. Lebanon *            
9/5 7:30 pm        Penn Hills *                             
9/12 7:30 pm      at Peters Township *                         
9/19 7:30 pm      Bethel Park *         
9/26 7 pm            at Fox Chapel                          
10/3 7:30 pm      at Woodland Hills *             
10/10 7:30 pm    Upper St. Clair *                                   
10/17 7:30 pm    at Baldwin *      
10/24 7:30 pm    Blackhawk

8/29 7 pm            Bentworth *     
9/5 7 pm              Mapletown *    
9/13 12 pm          at Riverview                            
9/19 7 pm            at Beth-Center *                                  
9/26 7 pm            California *             
10/3 7 pm            West Greene *
10/10 7 pm          at Frazier *         
10/17 7 pm          at Avella *          
10/24 7 pm          Jefferson-Morgan *

8/29 7 pm            at Southmoreland *       
9/5 7 pm              McGuffey *                            
9/12 7 pm            at Derry Area *     
9/19 7 pm            at Burgettstown *          
9/26 7 pm            Waynesburg Central *  
10/3 7 pm            Washington *                        
10/10 7 pm          at Mount Pleasant *      
10/17 7 pm          Brownsville *         
10/24 7 pm          Freedom

8/29 7 pm            Avonworth *    
9/5 7 pm              at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic *           
9/12 7 pm            Western Beaver                
9/19 7 pm            Northgate *      
9/27 7 pm            at Bishop Canevin *            
10/3 7 pm            Our Lady of Sacred Heart *         
10/10 7:30 pm    at Brentwood *                                    
10/17 7 pm          at Neshannock      
10/24 7 pm          Fort Cherry *

Fort Cherry
8/29 7 pm            at Our Lady of Sacred Heart *    
9/5 7:30 pm        Brentwood *                         
9/12 7 pm            at South Side Beaver           
9/19 7:30 pm      Bishop Canevin *                                 
9/26 7 pm            at Avonworth *               
10/3 7:30 pm      Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic *    
10/10 7:30 pm    Union                         
10/17 7 pm          at Northgate * 
10/24 7 pm          at Chartiers-Houston *

8/29 7 pm            at West Greene *           
9/5 7 pm              Frazier *                                   
9/12 7 pm            at Avella *                               
9/19 7 pm            California *                             
9/26 7 pm            at Bentworth *                     
10/3 7 pm            Mapletown *    
10/10 7 pm          Springdale                
10/17 7 pm          at Beth-Center *             
10/24 7 pm          at Carmichaels *              

8/29 7 pm            Beth-Center *                       
9/5 7 pm              at Carmichaels *                                   
9/12 7 pm            West Greene *                     
9/19 7 pm            Frazier *                                   
9/26 7 pm            at Avella *                               
10/3 7 pm            at Jefferson-Morgan *                      
10/10 7 pm          Bentworth *                          
10/17 7 pm          California *        
10/24 7 pm          at Monessen

8/29 7 pm            at Mount Pleasant *      
9/5 7 pm              at Charleroi *                         
9/12 7 pm            Mohawk               
9/19 7 pm            at Southmoreland *                            
9/26 7 pm            at Brownsville *                                    
10/3 7 pm            Derry Area *     
10/11 1:30 pm    at Burgettstown *          
10/17 7 pm          Waynesburg Central *  
10/24 7 pm          Washington *   

8/29 7 pm            at Greensburg Central Catholic *                  
9/6 12 pm            at Riverview *                       
9/12 7 pm            Serra Catholic *
9/19 7 pm            at Leechburg * 
9/26 7 pm            Wilkinsburg *    
10/3 7 pm            at Springdale *                      
10/10 7 pm          at Jeannette *       
10/17 7 pm          Clairton *            
10/24 7 pm          Mapletown

Peters Township
8/29 7:30 pm      Woodland Hills *                  
9/5 7:30 pm        at Upper St. Clair *              
9/12 7:30 pm      Canon-McMillan *               
9/19 7:30 pm      New Castle                              
9/26 7:30 pm      at Mt. Lebanon *                                 
10/3 7:30 pm      Penn Hills *                             
10/10 7:30 pm    Baldwin *                                
10/17 7:30 pm    at Bethel Park *               
10/24 7:30 pm    at Pine-Richland

8/29 7:30 pm      at Thomas Jefferson *       
9/5 7:30 pm        Uniontown *                         
9/12 7:30 pm      Knoch                        
9/19 7:30 pm      at West Mifflin *                                  
9/26 7:30 pm      Albert Gallatin *                                   
10/3 7:30 pm      Belle Vernon *                      
10/10 7:30 pm    at Laurel Highlands *                          
10/17 7:30 pm    at Elizabeth Forward *       
10/24 7:30 pm    Trinity *               

South Fayette
8/29 7 pm            East Allegheny *              
9/5 7 pm              Keystone Oaks *                  
9/12 7:30 pm      at South Park *                     
9/19 7 pm            South Allegheny *                               
9/26 7 pm            at Carlynton *        
10/3 7 pm            Steel Valley *         
10/10 7 pm          at Sto-Rox *                           
10/17 7 pm          at Seton-La Salle *               
10/24 7 pm          Quaker Valley *

8/29 7:30 pm      Belle Vernon * 
9/5 7:30 pm        at Laurel Highlands *                          
9/12 7:30 pm      Elizabeth Forward *            
9/19 7:30 pm      at Albert Gallatin *              
9/26 7:30 pm      Thomas Jefferson *                            
10/3 7:30 pm      at Uniontown *                                    
10/10 7 pm          at Yough                                   
10/17 7:30 pm    West Mifflin *                       
10/24 7:30 pm    at Ringgold *

8/29 7 pm            Derry Area *          
9/5 7 pm              at Burgettstown *                               
9/12 7 pm            Waynesburg Central *                       
9/19 7 pm            at Brownsville *                                    
9/26 7 pm            Mount Pleasant *                                
10/3 7 pm            at Charleroi *                         
10/10 7 pm          New Brighton                         
10/17 7 pm          Southmoreland *                                 
10/24 7 pm          at McGuffey *

8/29 7 pm            Burgettstown *                    
9/5 7 pm              at Brownsville *                                    
9/12 7 pm            at Washington *                                   
9/19 7 pm            Mount Pleasant *           
9/26 7 pm            at Charleroi *                         
10/3 7 pm            Summit Academy                 
10/10 7 pm          at Southmoreland *                            
10/17 7 pm          at McGuffey *  
10/24 7 pm          Derry Area *

West Greene
8/29 7 pm            Jefferson-Morgan *           
9/5 7 pm              at Bentworth *                     
9/12 7 pm            at Mapletown *                                    
9/19 7 pm            Serra Catholic     
9/26 7 pm            at Beth-Center *                                  
10/3 7 pm            at Carmichaels *                                   
10/10 7 pm          California *             
10/17 7 pm          Frazier *              

10/24 7 pm          at Avella *

Monday, July 7, 2014

All-State softball selections announced

The 2014 high school softball season did not end with a local team hoisting a state championship trophy, but the success of several local programs is reflected on the Pennsylvania High School Softball Coaches Association post season honors announced Monday.

Canon-McMillan, which reached the WPIAL Class AAAA title game before losing to DuBois in the first round of the state playoffs, had four players receive first team honors - senior third baseman Olivia Lorusso, sophomore shortstop Linda Rush, senior catcher Gia Zeremenko and junior outfielder Abby McCartney.
Lorusso, who was named the Observer-Reporter Softball Player of the Year, batted .532 with a team-high 16 home runs and 46 RBI. Rush was a first-team all-district selection and batted .571 with a team-high 48 hits, 40 runs and 16 doubles.

Zeremenko, a Pitt recruit, did not commit an error in 2014 and batted .438 with five home runs, 24 RBI, 32 hits and just two strikeouts in 79 plate appearances. McCartney, who will join Lorusso at Robert Morris, led the Big Macs with a .575 average, while adding 12 home runs, 45 RBI, 42 hits and 36 runs. She struck out twice in 84 plate appearances.

In Class AAA, Trinity junior shortstop Olivia Gray and sophomore catcher/first baseman Delaney Elling received first team honors.

Gray, a Pitt recruit, batted .554 this spring with eight doubles, five home runs, 32 stolen bases and 32 RBI. Elling, who will play at Penn State, led the Hillers with 39 hits, 11 doubles and a .684 batting average. She also tied Gray with 32 RBI.

Also in AAA, South Fayette junior pitcher Ashley Iagnemma was named Class AAA Honorable Mention. Iagnemma led the Lions (14-2) to their first section title in program history with a 1.80 ERA and 151 strikeouts. She had a 14-2 record in the circle and batted .400 with a team-high 30 RBI.

In Class AA, Waynesburg junior third baseman Hannah Gibbons was a first team selection and McGuffey senior pitcher Cassie Weiss received second team honors. Gibbons, a Penn recruit, batted .614 with three home runs and 26 RBI, while Weiss led the WPIAL in strikeouts with 175 in 102 innings pitched.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Trinity sophomore invited to Hockey Night in Boston

A'Shon Burgess
A’Shon Burgess, a sophomore at Trinity High School, is as diverse an athlete you will find in Washington County.

On a humid afternoon in April, Burgess qualified for the finals at the WPIAL Class AAA South Individual Track & Field Qualifiers in the 100 hurdles.

It is not track that has Burgess close to an opportunity that athletes around the country would pay to receive. Burgess, who plays hockey for Trinity in the PIHL and for the Mon-Valley Thunder in the PAHL, received a roster spot on the Mid-West team at Hockey Night in Boston – a showcase for players who will soon be
eligible for junior hockey.

Burgess, who plays at one of the lower levels of hockey in Class A, was unexpectedly invited a tryout in Ann Arbor, Mich., where he competed against some of the top Class AAA high school talent in the region. After three days competing against bigger players, he received an invitation to the showcase in Boston, which is set for July 13-18.

“It was very hard because it’s a couple of levels higher than I usually play,” Burgess said. “I had to change my game a little bit to skate with those kids because it’s a faster paced game and you are always skating. At a lower level, you can glide at times to take little breaks.”

Like showcases in other sports, Hockey Night in Boston soared in popularity when college and junior hockey scouts began attending the weekend in swarms. 100 college scouts and 52 junior hockey scouts from all levels will be in attendance.

For Burgess, who only began playing hockey five years ago, the tryout was the culmination of a quick rise in the game.

He had yet to reach middle school when a parent of a friend suggested he give hockey a try. Basic classes came first before he joined a developmental team.

Burgess, who is one of very few African Americans to play hockey in the region, got much needed help from a program based at Robert Morris’ complex on Neville Island. Pittsburgh Ice, which was formerly known as Hockey in the Hood, provides socially and economically disadvantaged boys and girls in the Greater Pittsburgh area the opportunity to learn to play the game of ice hockey.

Ice hockey is rapidly increasing in popularity, but the cost of the sport prevents many kids from being able to lace up skates and dedicate themselves to the craft.

“The first time around he fell,” JoJo Burgess, A’Shon’s father, said.” His second time up, he stayed up and he’s been up ever since. He loved it. My wife and I busted our behinds because it is an expensive sport. We fundraise to play the sport. We let our work, work for him. I do any type of fundraiser to let him play for who he plays for. To see him grow and show the skills, he is successful in anything he puts his mind in.”

For JoJo, who works in the steel industry, allowing his son the opportunity to choose hockey over track creates an inevitable sacrifice. Purchasing equipment for a growing teenager is never ending and playing organized hockey comes with a hefty price tag.

With the opportunity in Boston waiting, A’Shon’s father is going to all lengths to get his son on the ice in Boston. The family has set up an internet fundraiser page on to help fund his trip.
A’Shon recently won the 15-16 year-old division of the 100 meter hurdles championship in the Three Rivers Association of the USA Track & Field – qualifying for a Region 2 National Qualifier in Atlantic City. .

A’Shon chose Hockey Night in Boston over the track meet.

“I knew he wanted to give it a shot and I’m not going to tell him he can’t do something,” JoJo Burgess said. “I wanted him to go out there and achieve. He got an opportunity. The one thing that was very rewarding to me was he grabbed the opportunity and ran with it. I’m never going to tell my son he can’t do something.”

To donate, simple got to and enter A’Shon Burgess in the search line to read his story. JoJo Burgess can be reached by phone at 724-554-5561 or by e-mail at

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ringgold School Board approves assistant football coaches

The Ringgold School Board officially hired Nick Milchovich’s coaching staff at a meeting last week and the six new Rams coaches are familiar with Western Pennsylvania.

Milchovich’s two top assistants are Ron Frederick and Thomas Plack. Frederick is a graduate of Southmoreland High School and played collegiately at the University of Tulsa.

Also joining the staff are Brady Barbero, who was the head coach at California Area High School from 2009-12, as well as former Washington & Jefferson standout Matt Wujcik, Jeff Lowden, who was an assistant under Barbero at Cal, and former Pitt offensive lineman Dan LaCarte.

When Milchovich was hired, he promised he would be able to lure a strong coaching staff and he did just that. Having an assistant like Barbero with head coaching experience is vital and Frederick will help mentor the linemen, which is invaluable in Class AAA.

I also love the hire of LaCarte, who instantly brings credibility. Ringgold will be one of the bigger story lines to watch this season as the Rams transition from Matt Humbert’s offense to Milchovich’s, which will surely contain some different concepts.

With Nico Law at quarterback and a star-studded backfield featuring one of the highest touted incoming freshman and a workhorse like Chacar Berry, Ringgold is bound to reach the WPIAL playoffs once again.
Many were disappointed that a bigger name was not brought in to take Humbert’s place, but Milchovich could be the right man for the job and will bring stability to a program that is one of the most storied in Western Pennsylvania.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Observer-Reporter All-District Softball teams

Player of the Year 
Olivia Lorusso, Canon-McMillan
Senior, Third Base

It was hard to imagine the Robert Morris recruit improving at the plate, but she did just that. Lorusso batted .532 with a team-high 16 home runs and 46 RBI. She added eight doubles, 33 runs, 44 hits and had a 1.285 slugging percentage to lead the highest powered offense in the WPIAL.

First Team 
Erica Burns, Carmichaels
Junior, Pitcher

Few WPIAL softball players have been as consistent the past three years as Burns. She finished third in the area with 166 strikeouts in 108 innings while going 14-4 with a 1.23 ERA. At the plate, she led the Mikes with a .508 average while adding a home run, 20 runs and 13 RBI.

Delaney Elling, Trinity
Sophomore, First Base

A Penn State recruit, Elling led the Hillers with 39 hits, 11 doubles and a .684 batting average to lead all local players. She also tied for the team lead with 32 RBI and had 27 runs with two home runs.

Hannah Gibbons, Waynesburg
Junior, Third Base

A University of Pennsylvania recruit, Gibbons was dominant in the field and at the plate for the Raiders. Waynesburg’s leadoff hitter batted .614 and added three home runs, 34 runs, 26 RBI and struck out just twice in 87 plate appearances. She also drew 21 walks and committed just two errors in the field.

Olivia Gray, Trinity
Junior, Shortstop

Gray, a Pitt recruit, batted .554 with eight doubles, five home runs, 32 stolen bases and tied for the team lead with 32 RBI. Flawless in the field, Gray also led the Hillers with 34 runs and a 1.092 slugging percentage.

Ashley Iagnemma, South Fayette
Junior, Pitcher

Iagnemma was pivotal in the Lions’ first section title in program history with a 1.80 ERA in the circle and 151 strikeouts. She had a 14-2 record that included a three-hit shutout over Trinity to clinch the title. She also batted .400 with a team-high 30 RBI.

Abby McCartney, Canon-McMillan
Junior, Outfielder

The powerful left-handed hitter and Robert Morris recruit led the Big Macs with a .575 average, while adding 12 home runs, 45 RBI, five doubles, 42 hits and 36 runs. She struck out just twice in 84 plate appearances. One of the top fielding outfielders in the WPIAL, McCartney did not commit an error while recording 35 putouts.

Linda Rush, Canon-McMillan
Sophomore, Shortstop

One season after hitting the game-winning home run in the PIAA Class AAAA title game, Rush batted .571 and led the Big Macs with 48 hits, 40 runs and 16 doubles. She batted .471 with nine home runs, 38 RBI and struck out only six times in 89 plate appearances.

Cassie Weiss, McGuffey
Senior, Pitcher

Weiss was arguably the most dominant pitcher in the WPIAL this season, leading the district with 175 strikeouts in 102 innings to finish her career with 554. She also tossed 12 complete game wins.

Giorgiana Zeremenko, Canon-McMillan
Senior, Catcher

Zeremenko, a Pitt recruit, reinforced her status as the best defensive catcher in the WPIAL by not committing an error in 2014. She was her dominant self at the plate with a .438 average, five home runs, 24 RBI, 32 hits and just two strikeouts in 79 plate appearances.

Second team 
Bailey Bennington, West Greene
Sophomore, Pitcher

While the Pioneers experienced growing pains this season, Bennington was one of the most dominant players in Class A softball. She recorded seven double-digit strikeout games, including a 22-strikeout performance against Monessen. She finished second among local pitchers with 174 strikeouts this season in 108.2 innings. Opponents hit .242 against her, and she batted .507 with three home runs and 20 RBI.

Jasmine Fuqua, Trinity
Senior, Outfielder

One of the most improved players from last season, Fuqua led Trinity with eight home runs while batting .400. She also scored 20 runs, and hit five doubles. Her slugging percentage (0.980) and on-base percentage plus slugging (1.488) ranked third on the team.

Sara Jubas, South Fayette
Freshman, Catcher

A key cog in the Lions’ youth movement, Jubas led the team with a .648 average while driving in 19, and hitting 21 singles, nine doubles, four triples and a home run. Jubas caught one of the WPIAL’s most dominant pitchers, and was named South Fayette’s Rookie of the Year.

Kellyn Perich, Peters Township
Junior, Pitcher

Perich averaged more than nine strikeouts per game and finished with 65 on the season in 47 innings. She also hit .419 with 17 runs and four RBI.

Caley Ritts, Burgettstown
Junior, Catcher/Shortstop

Ritts was a key component in the Blue Devils’ first state playoff victory in 12 years and 18-5 overall record. The junior led Burgettstown with 33 hits, a .446 batting average and a .538 slugging percentage. She also had 17 RBI and only struck out twice in 23 games.

Reagan Rush, Jefferson-Morgan
Junior, Catcher

Rockets head coach Tony Barbetta calls Rush one of the best catchers he has coached and her offensive numbers help support the endorsement. Rush led J-M with a .540 batting average and hit two home runs, eight doubles, had 16 RBI, 26 runs, 10 stolen bases, a .900 slugging percentage and she drew a team-high 23 walks.

Tiffany Ross, Waynesburg
Sophomore, Second Base

Ross was an all-section selection and her offensive numbers supported a Raiders team that took a giant leap forward this season. Ross batted .447 with a team-high 26 RBI, 21 runs, two home runs and four doubles.

Haley Sutton, Chartiers-Houston
Senior, Catcher

A four-year starter, Sutton was asked to move to catcher after Casey Craig’s season-ending shoulder injury and Sutton did not miss a beat. She led the team in almost every offensive category, including batting average (.460), hits (23), home runs (3), RBI (24), slugging percentage (.820) and tied for first in runs (19) and doubles (5).

Kate Tarr, Burgettstown
Sophomore, Pitcher

Tarr led the Blue Devils with a 10-4 record and 104 strikeouts. She also was the team’s best hitter with a .333 average, a team-high 32 RBI, a .538 slugging percentage and a .384 on-base percentage.