Saturday, June 4, 2016 | 8:10 PM
For Morgan Ryan, earning a spot in the WPIAL record book means nothing.
As in zero.
As in zilch.
As in nothing on the scoreboard under the “R” column.
Ryan is a junior pitcher for the Hempfield softball team who threw a shutout in a 2-0 victory against Baldwin in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship Friday. A year ago, she threw a one-hitter as Hempfield defeated North Allegheny, 3-0.
A check of the scores of WPIAL championship games shows that Ryan is the first pitcher in the history of the WPIAL to throw back-to-back shutouts in championship games. The WPIAL has been staging softball championships for 43 years. So in four-plus decades, there has never been a pitcher like Ryan. By the way, Ryan is a Notre Dame recruit.
Hempfield begins the PIAA playoffs Monday against Latrobe.
Lack of Softball State Success
The PIAA playoffs for all baseball and softball teams begin Monday. And while history was a subject with Ryan, history suggests WPIAL Class A and AA teams will have a tough time winning a PIAA title.
Since 2000, the only WPIAL Class AA team to win a PIAA title was Neshannock in 2012. Meanwhile, Class A was started in 1999 – and the only two WPIAL teams to win PIAA championships at the Class A level were Chartiers-Houston in 2010 and Vincentian in 2008.
Youth Movement in Softball
Look at the softball teams that were in the WPIAL championships, look at their starting lineups and a number of them are good bets to return to the title games next year. Why? Just based on experienced players returning next year.
One has to wonder if the championship games ever had so much youth. All told, 15 freshmen and 24 sophomores started in the games. That means about half the starters were freshmen and sophomores:
*Class A champion West Greene started five freshmen and three sophomores.
*Class A runner-up Chartiers-Houston started three freshmen, three sophomores and four juniors.
*Class AA champ Ellwood City started three freshmen and two sophomores.
*Class AA runner-up South Park started two freshmen and two sophomores.
*Class AAA champ Mount Pleasant started a freshman and five sophomores.
*Class AAA runner-up West Allegheny started five sophomores.
*Class AAAA runner-up Baldwin started one freshman and four sophomores.
Hempfield was the only team with a number of “veterans,” if you will. Hempfield started five seniors and four juniors.
Where Will Kirilloff Go?
The Major League Baseball draft is Thursday and there is plenty of interest in Western Pennsylvania about where Plum’s Alex Kirilloff go.
Kirilloff is projected as a possible first-rounder (as an outfielder). If mock drafts mean anything, he seems like a shoo-in for the first round.
Baseball America has Kirilloff going to the Angels with the 16th pick. Draftsite.com has him going No. 12 to the Red Sox. Draftutopia.com has him going No. 17 to the Astros.
Kirilloff was invited to attend the draft near New York City Thursday. But it’s questionable whether he will be able to attend. The PIAA Quarterfinals are Thursday and Plum could be playing. The Mustangs play District 10 champ McDowell of Erie in a First Round game Monday. If Plum wins, it will play in the Quarterfinals against the winner of Norwin and Hempfield, who also play Monday.
Giving NA Heck
North Allegheny might hire a boys basketball coach soon and the school also is searching for a baseball coach after Andy Maddix resigned two weeks ago. From what we are hearing at MSA, a WPIAL coach who also plays for the Washington Wild Things is one of the top candidates for the baseball job.
Andrew Heck is the coach at Sewickley Academy and has had some success there. But he also plays for the Wild Things, and played for the Wild Things when North Allegheny Bob Bozzuto was a coach and manager there. Heck also does some work for Bozzuto in North Allegheny athletics.
WPIAL Lacrosse Woes
One WPIAL boys lacrosse team (Mount Lebanon) and two girls teams (Mount Lebanon and Chartiers Valley) were in the PIAA quarterfinals today. Mount Lebanon was playing Chartiers Valley. It would be a first if one of those teams goes on to make the PIAA championships.
Since the PIAA started PIAA championships in lacrosse in 2009, no WPIAL boys or girls lacrosse team has made the championship game.
But maybe the WPIAL will have a little better chance of having success at the state level next year. Starting next year, the PIAA will have two classifications. Currently, there is only one. The WPIAL has two classifications.
PIAA Changes in Football
Speaking of changes in the PIAA, the organization made a rather significant change in the practices of football teams, starting this season.
Under a new PIAA rule, teams will only be allowed to have live contact for 60 minutes a week once the season starts. This rule goes into effect after the first game. In the preseason, teams can hit as much as they want.
A few years ago, the PIAA put a 90-minute-a-week rule for hitting in practice.
Tags: Chartiers Valley Girls Lacrosse, Hempfield Girls Softball, Mount Lebanon Boys Lacrosse, Mount Lebanon Girls Lacrosse, North Allegheny Boys Baseball, Plum Boys Baseball, Sewickley Academy Boys Baseball