Friday, April 15, 2016 | 2:24 PM
This is the second year that North Hills has scheduled almost all of its home baseball games in the evening. But this is the year the stars are shining brightest for North Hills.
North Hills has been one of the surprise teams of WPIAL baseball. Look at the always loaded Northern area section of Class AAAA (Section 1) and you’ll see North Hills alone at the top of the standings.
Look at the MSA Class AAAA rankings and you’ll see North Hills near the top at No. 3.
The reason for the surprise is North Hills has never been associated much over the past decade or so with winning baseball. The last time the Indians finished above .500 in the section was 2003. Their last section championship was 2002.
Heading into Friday’s games, North Hills was 3-0 in section play after shutting out Butler, 6-0, on Thursday. North Hills takes a 7-1 record into Friday’s game at Moon.
It’s likely that North Hills has never been as high as No. 3 in the MSA rankings. North Hills is also No. 3 in the Post-Gazette rankings.
The man guiding the turnaround is Randy Miller. He is in his fourth season as North Hills coach and the Indians won only two section games in three of the previous five seasons before Miller took over.
Section 1 is heavy with other top teams (North Allegheny, Seneca Valley, Pine-Richland, Moon and Butler are the other squads in the section). Can North Hills keep it up? That is the big question. But so far, the Indians have done fairly well hitting – and their pitching and defense have been stellar.
North Hills has three consecutive shutouts and has outscored opponents over the past five games, 39-3.
The team’s best all-around player so far has been senior Brendan Burke. He is 4-0 as a pitcher and has allowed only one earned run in 26 innings. He has struck out 31 and walked only eight. Burke also is hitting .523 (11-21). Mike Serpa is batting .667 (8-12) and is 2-0 as a pitcher. Anthony Ruggieri (.481) and Steve Miller (.478) also are batting above .450.
Is it easier to go undefeated in baseball or softball? You can debate that all you want. But so far this season, many more softball teams have that perfect look.
Heading into Friday’s games, nine WPIAL softball teams were undefeated. They were Hempfield (5-0), Shaler (9-0), Yough (8-0), McGuffey (5-0), West Shamokin (4-0), South Park (5-0), Ellwood City (6-0), Frazier (5-0) and Serra (5-0).
On the other hand, only three baseball teams were perfect heading into Friday’s games. They were Plum (7-0), Serra (8-0) and Brentwood (4-0).
Getting Thee Call
Right handed pitcher Derek Law, a WPIAL product, has been called up to the big leagues by the San Francisco Giants in time for this weekends series in Los Angeles against the rival Dodgers.
The 2009 graduate of Seton-LaSalle High School becomes the first Rebels alum to make it to the major leagues.
Derek’s Dad, Joey Law was also an outstanding pitcher. The Langley graduate got called up to the Oakland A’s in 1989 but was only there for three days and never pitched.
A 9th round draft pick in 2011 from Miami Dade College, Law is expected to pitch out of the bullpen as he replaces Sergio Romo, who was just placed on the disabled list.
Tor can make a baseball soar.
One of the top power hitters in the WPIAL this season is definitely Peters Township junior Tor Sehnert. About 25 percent of his at-bats so far have resulted in a home run.
Sehnert has been up 25 times – and he has hit six home runs. Sehnert also has one double and two singles, which makes his slugging percentage a whopping 1.120. He is batting .360 (9 for 25). Peters Township heads into Friday’s action tied for third place in Class AAAS Section 5 with a 2-2 record (4-5 overall).
Bad Luck Bailey
Belle Vernon’s Bailey Parshall is considered one of the top softball pitchers in the WPIAL. She is already committed to Penn State. But Parshall has had some tough luck in close games this season.
Parshall lost to Elizabeth Forward, 1-0, on Thursday. It was the fourth time this season that Belle Vernon has lost a 1-0 game.
Heading for 100 L’s?
The Aliquippa baseball team’s losing streak has to be one of the longest in WPIAL history – in any sport. The Quips soon might be turning 100.
Aliquippa is 0-2 this season, which brings their losing streak to 96 games. Aliquippa hasn’t won a baseball game since 2008.
But do the Quips have a chance to end the streak on Friday? Aliquippa plays Western Beaver, which is 1-7. Aliquippa gave Western Beaver a game last year, losing once by only 15-12. One of Aliquippa’s losses this year was by “only” 7-2 to Quigley.
One of the top track and field invitationals so far this season is Saturday. The Tri-State Track & Field Coaches Association meet is at West Mifflin High School. Some of the top athletes in the WPIAL will compete in the event.
Tags: Aliquippa Boys Baseball, Belle Vernon Girls Softball, Brentwood Boys Baseball, North Hills Boys Baseball, Peters Township Boys Baseball, Plum Boys Baseball, Serra Catholic Boys Baseball, Seton-LaSalle Boys Baseball