Saturday, June 29, 2013

Alayna Astuto: Observer-Reporter's Softball Player of the Year

Brian Fisher: Observer-Reporter's Baseball Player of the Year

Odds and ends

>>Reminder, y'all, that All-District stuff for baseball and softball will be in tomorrow's paper.

Got some great shots from of our photographer, Katie Roupe, from Consol Energy Park -- with yours truly catching, I might add.

Will have stories on the baseball and softball players of the year, as well as a column and first and second teams for both. Five components in all.

>>This week starts Athlete of the Year stuff, which will take up a whole lot of the Sunday, July 7 edition. Two stories, another column, photos, a bunch of cool lists and other design elements.

>>Here are the results from Day 2 of the J. Budd Grebb Summer Basketball League. Got this early Friday morning, and I was off yesterday:

Farmers Insurance 73, Campy's Pizza 69 OT

FI: Noah Brown 31; Lavelle Rush 18
CP: George Prota 29; Charlie Scharbo 19; Demetri Clements 12

BeeGraphix 72 Union Cleaners 48

BG: Dayshore Majors 19; Elijah Minnie 17; Luke Doptis 13; Darrell Briggs, Jr. 10
UC: Jalen French 18

Dairy Queen 72 Northwood Realty 66

DQ: Clintell Gillespie 21; Rece Henneman 15; Ryan Novotney 13; Matt Indorante 13
NR: Jake Sweitzer 16; Cole Novotney 11; Brandon Lawless 11; Kass Taylor 10

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Budd Grebb Results: Day 1

Storm, what storm? The Budd Grebb Summer League opened Tuesday night, despite the awful weather. (Some games, of course, were moved inside.

Here's what happened:

Northwood Realty 83, Union Cleaners 74

Northwood Realty: Robert Chaney, Jr., Ringgold 20; Brandon Lawless, Carmichaels and Cole Novotney, Brownsville 13; Jake Sweitzer 12

Union Cleaners: Tray Matthews, California 19; John Arnold, Charleroi 17; Jalen French, Elizabeth Forward 15; John Frederic, Belle Vernon 10

Campy’s Pizza 53, Dairy Queen 49

Campy’s Pizza: George Prota, Elizabeth Forward 19; Nick Despot, Brownsville 10

Dairy Queen: Matt Indorante, Charleroi 18; Clintell Gillespie, Monessen 12

BeeGraphix 78, Farmers’ Insurance 69

BeeGraphix: Elijah Minnie, Lincoln Park 30; Dayshore Majors, Ringgold 14; Luke Doptis, Monessen 12; Timmy Pritchett, Ringgold 11

Farmers Insurance: Cameron Sarber, Thomas Jefferson 18; Matt Bernadowski, Elizabeth Forward 14; Lavelle Rush, Monessen 13

Misspellings, gripes, additional info or want to talk about the weather? Shoot me an e-mail at

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Girls athlete of the year finalists

Last week I posted the nominees for Boys Athlete of the Year. Here, now with those on the girls side. Also previous winners below.

Keep in mind that this stuff will run Sunday, July 7. Our All-District baseball and softball stuff will run Sunday, June 30.

Morgan Berardi, Carmichaels, basketball/softball
A 1,000-point scorer in basketball, also the school’s all-time assists leader, too. She’s one of the softball team’s leaders and a member of a senior class that posted a 75-10 record, without a loss at home.

Olivia Lorusso, Canon-McMillan, volleyball/basketball/softball
First-team All-District in hoops after averaging a double-double with 14.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Helped softball team to a second consecutive WPIAL title and first-ever state crown while ranked at or near the top in every offensive category. Named team defensive MVP.

Alyssa Wise, Washington, track and field
Won a pair of state titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, this after finishing third in both events a season ago. Navigated a cold at Shippensburg to win and wound up torching the competition in the finals. Also only a junior. 

Jenna Lucas, Fort Cherry, golf/basketball/track and field
Medaled twice at states, one of them in discus, which she only started seriously throwing this year. Won WPIAL and PIAA titles in javelin, her preferred event. Arguably the best golfer at Fort Cherry – male or female. Put up 15.6 points per game. Kills it in slowpitch softball, too.

Veronica Latsko, Peters Township, girls soccer

Sure, a knee injury will likely prevent Latsko from playing her senior year, but the resume is already stacked: 107 goals, three PIAA Class AAA titles, a scholarship to the University of Virginia. Scored 36 goals and added 11 assists this season for the Indians, who finished 24-1.

Sammie Weiss, McGuffey, basketball/softball

Weiss reached 1,000 points this season – as a sophomore. She led all boys and girls scorers this winter with an average of 26.7 points per game. She helped McGuffey reach the PIAA playoffs for the first time in school history, and the Highlanders won their first section title since 1990.

Kayla Briggs, Chartiers-Houston, softball

Will be a four-time All-State player: first baseman, right fielder, pitcher and somewhere as a senior. Won two WPIAL titles and one PIAA title. Hit .429/.525/.714 with 16 RBI and 32 runs. Pitching-wise was 17-1 with 172 strikeouts in 103 innings, .155 average against, 1.22 ERA.

Previous winners
2000 – Kristen Lancas, Ringgold

2001 – Shellie Cotton, Charleroi
2002 – Jessica Perry, Peters Township
2003 – Stephanie Kuhn, Ringgold
2004 – Samantha Slagle, Beth-Center
2005 – Ashley Young, Canon-McMillan
2006 – Brianna Liebold, Chartiers-Houston
2007 – Paige McMenamin, Peters Township
2008 – Jenna Phillips, Washington
2009 – Amanda Kennedy, Bentworth
2010 – Taylor Schram, Canon-McMillan
2011 – Shelli Spamer, Peters Township
2012 – Jessie Merckle, Fort Cherry

Monday, June 24, 2013

Budd Grebb boys schedule

The J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer League starts Tuesday night. Here's the regular season and playoffs schedule:

Tuesday, June 25
Union Cleaners vs. Northwood Realty, 7 p.m.
Dairy Queen vs. Campy’s Pizza, 8 p.m.
BeeGraphix vs. Farmers Insurance, 9 p.m.

Thursday, June 27
Campy’s Pizza vs. Farmers Insurance, 7 p.m.
BeeGraphix vs. Union Cleaners, 8 p.m.
Northwood Realty vs. Dairy Queen, 9 .m.

Monday, July 1
Union Cleaners vs. Dairy Queen, 7 p.m.
Farmers Insurance vs. Northwood Realty, 8 p.m.
BeeGraphix vs. Campy’s Pizza, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 2
Campy’s Pizza vs. Northwood Realty, 7 p.m.
BeeGraphix vs. Dairy Queen, 8 p.m.
Union Cleaners vs. Farmers Insurance, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 9
Farmers Insurance vs. Dairy Queen, 7 p.m.
Campy’s Pizza vs. Union Cleaners, 8 p.m.
Northwood Realty vs. BeeGraphix, 9 p.m.

Thursday, July 11
Farmers Insurance vs. BeeGraphix , 7 p.m.
Campy’s Pizza vs. Dairy Queen, 8 p.m.
Northwood Realty vs. Union Cleaners, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 16
Dairy Queen vs. Northwood Realty, 7 p.m.
Union Cleaners vs. BeeGraphix, 8 p.m.
Farmers Insurance vs. Campy’s Pizza, 9 p.m.

Thursday, July 18
Campy’s Pizza vs. BeeGraphix, 7 p.m.
Northwood Realty vs. Farmers Insurance, 8 p.m.
Dairy Queen vs. Union Cleaners, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 23
Farmers Insurance vs. Cleaners Rentals, 7 p.m.
Dairy Queen vs. BeeGraphix, 8 p.m.
Northwood Realty vs. Campy’s Pizza, 9 p.m.

Thursday, July 25
BeeGraphix vs. Northwood Realty, 7 p.m.
Union Cleaners vs. Campy’s Pizza, 8 p.m.
Dairy Queen vs. Farmers Insurance, 9 p.m.

Tuesday, July 30
Second Place vs. Third Place, 7:30 p.m.
First Place vs. Fourth Place, 9 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 1

Championship, 8 p.m.

Budd Grebb boys draw

A few days ago I posted the teams for the girls division of the J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer Basketball League, asking for someone to send along the boys draw.

Well, here we go. Here are the teams:

J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer Basketball League
2013 Rosters

Bee Graphix

Coach Bob Kennedy
Noah Rullo, Junior, Monessen
Luke Doptis, Senior, Monessen
Elijah Minnie, Senior, Lincoln Park
Dayshore Majors, Senior, Ringgold
Ryan Beyer, Junior, Beth Center
D. Petrola-Bakos, Sophomore, Bentworth
Taylor Bunner, Sophomore, Bentworth
Darrell Briggs, Jr., Senior, McGuffey
Timmy Pritchett, Senior, Ringgold
Devin Hannan, Junior, Belle Vernon

Campy’s Pizza

Coach Kenneth Johnson
Demetri Clements, Senior, California
Nick Despot, Senior, Brownsville
Carl DellaPenna, Senior, Brownsville
Jason Capco, Senior, Belle Vernon
Brett Lewis, Sophomore, Belle Vernon
George Prota, Junior, Elizabeth Forward
Dominick Sarra, Junior, Waynesburg
Elijah Brown, Freshman, Kiski Prep
Jaden Altomore, Freshman, Monessen
Charlie Scharbo, Senior, Thomas Jefferson

Dairy Queen

Coach Rodney Taylor
Clintell Gillespie, Senior, Monessen
Rece Henneman, Junior, Jefferson-Morgan
Ryan Novotney, Senior, Brownsville
Nick Sweitzer, Sophomore, Belle Vernon
Matt Indorante, Senior, Charleroi
Joey Campano, Sophomore, Belle Vernon
Bailey Miller, Sophomore, Geibel
Zachary Lloyd, Senior, Ringgold
Shakal Brooks, Junior, Ringgold
Dan Terpin, Senior, Thomas Jefferson

Farmers Insurance

Coach Naz Victoria
Noah Brown, Sophomore, Kiski Prep
Lavelle Rush, Sophomore, Monessen
Andre Smith, Sophomore, Brownsville
Casey Zajicek, Sophomore, California
Cameron Sarber, Junior, Thomas Jefferson
Garrett Lenhart, Sophomore, Belle Vernon
Dean Holt, Senior, Beth-Center
Tryvon Brown, Sophomore, Brownsville
Joey Martin, Junior, Elizabeth Forward
Matt Bernadowski, Senior, Elizabeth Forward

Northwood Realty

Coach Paul Stanley
Jake Sweitzer, Senior, Belle Vernon
Noah Bukowski, Sophomore, Belle Vernon
Cole Novotney, Senior, Brownsville
Brock Shannon, Sophomore, Charleroi
Roger Kline, Senior, Frazier
Kass Taylor, Freshman, California
Brandon Lawless, Senior, Carmichaels
Javon Brown, Senior, Monessen
Robert Chaney Jr., Senior, Ringgold
Brandon Thomas, Junior, Ringgold

Union Cleaners

Coach Walt Costello
Tyler Yuille, Senior, Monessen
John Frederic, Sophomore, Belle Vernon
John Arnold, Sophomore, Charleroi
Zachary Robker, Junior, Bentworth
Jacob Crockett, Sophomore, Bentworth
Daquan Woods, Senior, Brownsville
Marcellous Grooms, Sophomore, Brownsville
Tray Matthews, Junior, California
Joshua Sidary, Junior, Charleroi
Jalen French, Senior, Elizabeth Forward

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wash High's Allen honored at WBCA All-Star game

Trailing by two runs in the ninth inning, the Class AA team needed a big hit against its Class A opponent in the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game at Burkett Athletic Complex earlier this month.

Washington outfielder Jordan Allen took care of that. Allen had a two-run triple to tie the score at four runs apiece, as it forced a 4-4 tie -- the game does not go to extra innings.

Allen was voted Hitter of the Game after going 1-for-2 with a run . Here's a photo of him with Prexies coach Rocky Plassio.

Other locals included Chartiers-Houston's Dylan Pounds, who threw two scoreless innings. Fort Cherry's Kyle Witzberger and Beth-Center's Josh Miller each had hits.

That's all the info we've been sent. If anyone knows more, please e-mail me at

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Budd Grebb girls division draft done

As you might have read, the J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer Basketball League added a girls division this year, with four teams.

Well, the girls head their draft today at Lagerheads, and here are the teams. Still waiting on info from the boys. If anyone has it, please e-mail me at

Bitonti Barristers

Caitlyn Trombley, Belle Vernon; Kylie Huffman, California; Meaghan Murphy, Belle Vernon; Kaitlin Thomas, Belle Vernon; Dominique Gaston, California; Cara Grogan, Monessen; Anjela Tilghman, Charleroi; TeRaee Bradford, Monessen; Marissa Bitonti, California; Keira Boff, Belle Vernon

Tommy Thomas Insurance Agency

Lilley Beadling, Beth-Center; Mia Woytovich, Charleroi; Monet Wade, Monessen; Reilly Skerbetz, Bentworth; Hanna Batovsky, Brownsville; Jessie Braddock, Brownsville; Kirsten Garber, Waynesburg; Victoria Cicci, Bentworth; Heaven Hester, Belle Vernon; Taylor Kovatch, Belle Vernon

Fredericktown Butcher Shop

Grace Marchezak, Bentworth; Kaitlyn Slagus, Belle Vernon; Bria Rathway, Belle Vernon; Brittany Stawovy, Greensburg CC; Eden Holland, Monessen; Celine Monica, Waynesburg; Heather Chester, Bentworth; Kendra Campbell, Bentworth; Rylie Campbell, Belle Vernon; Kinlee Whited, Beth-Center


Kelsey Green, Belle Vernon; Maris Seto, Brownsville, Keyonna McCrae, Brownsville; Cassidy Stollar, Chartiers-Houston; Ashley Holt, California; Courtney Askin, Belle Vernon; Carina Gottheld, Charleroi; Jennifer Tilghman, Charleroi; Bailey Vig, California; Kerilyn Wilkins, Waynesburg

Boys athlete of the year finalists

The Observer-Reporter will unveil its Athlete of the Year on Sunday, July 7, and here's a look at who will be among the group considered.

I'm told last year was a tough choice. Hard to imagine this is any easier. There will be much debate within our staff throughout the next few days and weeks, as all of these athletes are deserving.

Don't be afraid to comment below and let me know what you think.

Also scroll down further for a list of past winners:

Zach Challingsworth, South Fayette, football/basketball
Pitt recruit had 106 catches for 1,894 yards and 24 touchdowns the past two seasons combined. Was a big part of South Fayette’s hoops team, though his scoring average dipped a touch this past season while he battled an early-season sports hernia.

Brian Fisher, California, basketball/baseball
Surpassed 1,000 points in basketball while helping lead California to a section title. Became an elite pitcher in the spring, racking up a 10-3 record with a 2.20 earned-run average and 62 strikeouts for the only area baseball team to reach the state playoffs.

Brandon Lawless, Carmichaels, football/basketball/baseball
Averaged 21.0 points per game for the Mikes’ basketball team. Was the baseball team’s ace at 7-1 with a 1.83 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 46 innings. This past season, Lawless completed 32 of 66 passes for 504 yards and four touchdowns. Ran for an additional three scores.

Shai McKenzie, Washington, football/track and field
Everybody knows about McKenzie’s football ability: 2,689 yards, 41 touchdowns, 11.6 yards per carry and 37.4 yards per touchdown. But he was also dominant in track. Won a pair of WPIAL Class AA track and field titles, helping the 4x100 relay and taking gold in the shot put.

Connor Schram, Canon-McMillan, wrestling
Schram ended his high school career the way he started it: by winning a PIAA Class AAA title, this one with a 5-3 defeat of Franklin Regional's Michael Kemerer to close the year at 44-3. Another key cog in Canon-McMillan's statewide, team dominance.

Garrett Vulcano, Chartiers-Houston, football/wrestling
State runner-up in Class AA while wrestling at 195 pounds. Set the school record with 154 victories. In football, the tenacious Vulcano finished his career with 444 tackles, including 130 this past season. Was Defensive MVP in tough Black Hills Conference.

Cody Wiercioch, Canon-McMillan, wrestling
Pitt recruit won a third state title this winter. Finished with a career record of 167-5. Of those five losses, four came against Travis McKillop of Burrell. Never lost a bout in the PIAA Team Tournament.

Josh Wise, Washington, football/basketball/track and field
Two-way standout in football, accounting for 13 touchdowns as the Prexies’ quarterback. The Observer-Reporter’s Player of the Year in hoops averaged 21.9 points per game. Two-time defending champion in WPIAL Class AA high jump.

Previous winners

2000 – Michael Sutton, Washington
2001 – Lanfer Simpson, Waynesburg
2002 – Dan Mozes, Washington
2003 – Colby Giles, Carmichaels
2004 – Coleman Scott, Waynesburg
2005 – Jeff Weiss, McGuffey
2006 – Robert Heller, Ringgold
2007 – Andrew Sweat, Trinity
2008 – Dan Conley, Burgettstown
2009 – Nick Wilcox, Peters Township
2010 – Mike Hull, Canon-McMillan
2011 – Christian Brumbaugh, South Fayette
2012 – Dustin Fuller, Washington

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ridiculous McKenzie video

Shai McKenzie, who recently narrowed his list of prospective schools to five, was invited to "The Opening," a prestigious, nationwide football camp in Beaverton, Ore., for many reasons.

One of them, as I found out, was his performance at an Ohio State camp at the end of the May.

Check this out.

They're doing one-on-ones, running backs versus linebackers. There's a teaser at the 1:04 mark, but what transpires at 2:11 is really worth your time.

And this, let's not forget, is a luxury that McKenzie will give some college coach.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Couple summer preps notes

>>Remember that whole California baseball-turns-into-Hulkamaniacs things from two weeks ago. Check this story out. It's from a good friend of mine who I knew in D.C., now a really good high school features writer in New Jersey. Made me think of the Trojans and their odd collection of items.

>>Was sent this picture of Washington linebacker Jaylin Kelly from the Big 33 All-Star Game, which Pennsylvania won, 58-27.

Haven't been able to find a box score. Anybody else have any luck? I did hear that Kelly had a big hit on a kickoff.

>>Speaking of all-star stuff, has anyone seen info from the Tri-County Coaches Association All-Star Game? We were short-staffed that night and couldn't make it, but we never got any info. If you have details on this, send it to

>>California University announced its 2013-14 recruiting class for men's soccer, and on it was Ringgold's Nick Cichon, who had 25 goals and 21 assists while earning all-state honors this past season.

Cichon, who played club soccer for Victory Express and Washington United, intends to major in chemistry.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

BeeGraphix rosters

The BeeGraphix All-Star Football Game will be played Saturday at Southmoreland, and here are the rosters.

North Squad
1 Dylan Morrell, OL/DL (Bentworth)
2 Connor Craig WR/DB (Chartiers-Houston)
3 Jake Seabright, WR/DB (McGuffey)
5 Rhamir Thomas, TE/LB (Washington)
7 Mijerean Witcher, WR/DB (Washington)
11 John Dugas, RB/DB (Burgettstown)
13 Matthew Johnston, WR/DB (West Greene)
21 Tyreke Brown, WR/DB (Fort Cherry)
22 Tyler Ramsey, RB (Southmoreland)
23 David Kincaid, RB/LB (Chartiers-Houston)
24 Garrett Vulcano, WR/LB (Chartiers-Houston)
25 Darius Spinks, WR/DB (Washington)
32 Je'Vone Hairston, RB/DB (Chartiers-Houston)
39 John Mascaro, FB/LB (Bethel Park)
42 Daron Whitaker, RB (Washington)
44 Brent Blacharczyk, FB/LB (McGuffey)
55 David Martin, OL/DL (South Park)
59 Torre Carr, DL (Canon-McMillan)
60 Justin Kulwicki, OL/DL (Frazier)
62 Blake Greene, OL/DE (Fort Cherry)
66 Zach Vinski, OL (McGuffey)
71 Jacob McNeice, OL (Southmoreland)
73 Rikwon Moore, OL/DL (Washington)
79 Tanner Severns, C/DL (Bentworth)
80 Jaime Fell, WR/DB (Frazier)
91 Michael Bruckner, OL/DL (Bethel Park)
92 Alex Campbell, TE/LB (Canon-McMillan)
95 Evan Yarger, OL/DL (Bethel Park)
99 Angelo Broglia, OL (Canon-McMillan)

South Squad
1 Nicholas Landman, TE (Brownsville)
4 Brandon DeCarlo, QB (Brownsville)
5 Cody Durant, RB (Beth-Center)
6 Ian Patterson, K (Waynesburg)
7 Joey Wall, WR/CB (Ringgold)
8 Demetrius Louis, RB/FS (Ringgold)
9 C.J. Novak, WR (Beth-Center)
10 Xavier Daniels, DE (Laurel Highlands)
11 Josh Mundell, DB (Carmichaels)
12 Jucqui Taylor, DE/WR (Uniontown)
13 Jason Vankirk, QB (Trinity)
17 Joe Pegg, DB/WR (Laurel Highlands)
21 Jacob Pato, DE (Trinity)
30 Jordan Griffin, WR (Mapletown)
31 Patrick Short, WR (California)
32 Colton Henry, DB (Carmichaels)
33 R.J. Small, DT (Monessen)
34 Connor Durko, FB (Trinity)
41 Keith Davis, RB (Monessen)
44 Austin Young, DE (Ringgold)
50 Taylor Kennison, OL (Mapletown)
51 Evan McWreath, DE/LB (Trinity)
52 Peter Tarka, C (Monessen)
53 Luke Moskal, LB (Carmichaels)
55 Michael Mitchell, OT (Carmichaels)
58 Matt Devenney, C (Ringgold)
59 Jeremy Saternos, OT (Ringgold)
65 George Teslovich, OG (Laurel Highlands)
67 Collin Woss, OT (Belle Vernon)
70 Nathanael Wolfe, OL (Jefferson-Morgan)
73 Zach Miller, DT (Beth-Center)
74 Tucker Tolbert, DT (Albert Gallatin)
83 Jonathan Hager, DB/P (Uniontown)

Details on Friday

Who: Canon-McMillan vs. Neshaminy
What: PIAA Class AAAA championship game
When: Friday, 12:30 p.m.
Where: Penn State University's Nittany Lion Softball Park, Beard Field

A look at Canon-McMillan's lineup:
CF Yaszmin Kotar — Hitting .450 in playoffs
1B Maddie Engel — Two errors in team-high 106 chances
SS Linda Rush — Two Ks in team-high 85 at-bats
RF Abby McCartney — Slugging .950 in playoffs
3B Olivia Lorusso — Leads in homers (7) and RBI (35)
C Giorgiana Zeremenko — Team-best seven postseason RBI
LF Tara Fowler — .355 with three HR
DP Kirsten Rush — HR, 2B in PIAA quarterfinals
2B Ally Bellaire — Unassisted double play in PIAA quarters
P Alayna Astuto — 125 strikeouts in 133 innings

More on Canon-Mac's baseball-like approach

My story in today's paper focuses on how the Canon-McMillan softball team can come off as more of a baseball team: laser focus, cheers only when there's a reason, very few substitutions.

From what I learned, it's basically always been this way. Just the character of the team. Assistant coach Steve Moskal started coaching them this way with the Canonsburg Lady Knights, and it has never really changed.

Then again, with the natural ability the Big Macs have, it doesn't has to.

I talked to third baseman Olivia Lorusso after I filed the story last night and decided to save some of her comments for the blog. I asked Lorusso, who Wednesday gave a verbal commitment to play softball at Robert Morris, why Canon-McMillan didn't do much of the organized chants.

"I hate teams that cheer. I don't think it's very necessary," Lorusso said. Then she clarified.

"I don't hate the teams that chant — I hate the chants. It's kind of more of a distraction. A team that cheers is no better than a team that doesn't cheer."

Fair enough. Lorusso also said the spontaneity also makes it more personal.

"I feel like when you cheer your own chants that it's a little more personal than chanting a song or a rhyme," Lorusso continued. "I like the way we do it because, quite frankly, I would probably get annoyed if the whole time I was up at bat I was hearing rhymes or chants."

I think there's something to be said for expecting success. Not making the argument that those who chant don't 
 pardon the double negative  but for Canon-Mac, it's almost a case of acting like they've been there before.

Or at least ignoring the belief that making a bunch of noise will help the ball travel farther or to a vacant part of the field.

"We expect more out of our team than other teams do," Lorusso said. "When someone gets a good hit, we're really excited. But we expect that to happen. Our team — not bragging — but we are very good hitters. I just feel like it's more of an expected hit than a surprised one."

Reminder that the PIAA Class AAAA state final against Neshaminy is Friday at 12:30 p.m. at Penn State's Nittany Lion Softball Park.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hulkamania big in California

When I was younger -- talking like elementary school here -- I used to fake sick and beg my mom to take me to Phar-Mor to rent old wrestling videos. Favorite was Summer Slam '88, though many of the Wrestlemania tapes (not DVDs) were great, too.

That's why when I learned the California baseball team was drawing inspiration from Hulk Hogan, I couldn't help myself.

Plus, whenever we're constantly talking about travel leagues, club competition, AAU, etc., it's refreshing to see a high school baseball team excited to be around each other and have a little fun.

Many thanks to Brian Fisher, who coordinated the picture effort, and Aaron Previsky, who has sort of lorded over the wacky operation. Here -- because it didn't run in print -- is a close-up of what the Trojans have accumulated.

Also a reminder that today's California/Canon-McMillan baseball/softball PIAA semifinals will now be played Tuesday.

California will take on Johnsonburg at Homer City's First Commonwealth Field at 6 p.m. The Big Macs' game against Pennsbury was moved from a 4 p.m. start to 2 p.m. I will be at the Canon-Mac game, my boss, Chris Dugan, at Cal.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursday's PIAA games postponed

Practice in the gym this time of year? No thanks. But that's what our area baseball and softball players have to endure, as today appears to be a complete washout. Here's the revamped schedule for our local teams.

PIAA Class A Quarterfinals
California vs. OLSH, Fox Chapel, 12 p.m.


PIAA Class A Quarterfinals
Carmichaels vs. Southern Huntingdon, Everett High School, 3 p.m.
Canon-McMillan vs. North Allegheny, Woodland Hills, 12:30 p.m.