A-K Valley high school notebook: Section 1-3A softball race promises to be entertaining

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Friday, April 19, 2019 | 5:30 PM


If the second half of the Section 1-3A softball season resembles the first in any way, expect plenty of entertainment value in the coming weeks.

The rivalry between Burrell, Deer Lakes and Freeport atop the section is turning into a free-for-all — or maybe a three-for-all? — with all four meetings between the teams coming down to the later innings and three determined in the final at-bat.

Burrell (6-2, 4-1) delivered gut-punching losses to both of its rivals over the past week-plus. Senior Sara Clark’s three-run walkoff homer beat Deer Lakes, 13-12, last week. Her younger sister, sophomore Elizabeth Clark, hit a three-run walk-off homer for a 10-9 win over Freeport on Wednesday.

“We work very hard, and we have the passion and desire to play,” Elizabeth Clark said. “We want this more than anybody, and I think that’s what it is. We have that mental mindset, and we just want it.”

Less than 24 hours later, Deer Lakes gave Freeport another heartbreaking loss when Makayla Blair launched another three-run walkoff homer for a 7-4 win.

“The second half of the section is going to be really interesting,” Deer Lakes coach Craig Taliani said. “There’s going to be some really good softball played, and I hope that we’re in the middle of it ourselves.”

Deer Lakes won six consecutive section titles from 2012-17, though Burrell claimed a share of it in 2016. Freeport won the championship last season with an unbeaten record, including a six-run rally in the top of the seventh inning in one of its games against Burrell. The Yellowjackets also beat Burrell, 7-4, earlier this season.

“They’re great games,” Freeport coach Sam Ross said. “I think we’re three good teams that every year, we’re right there. We like to beat each other, but when you do get beat, you congratulate them and say we’ll see you in a couple weeks.”

Burrell visits Deer Lakes on April 29, and Freeport hosts Deer Lakes on May 1.

Johnny quest

Highlands junior Johnny Crise now has two football Division I offers to match the two he has in basketball.

Crise announced this week a football offer from Bryant to join the one he received earlier this month from Fordham.

The 6-foot-7 multi-sport standout led Highlands with 40 receptions for 796 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, including a record-breaking 10-catch, 301-yard, five-touchdown performance against Keystone Oaks.

He has two offers in basketball, from Robert Morris and S.C. Upstate. Crise averaged 16.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game and was named Valley News Dispatch Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Tess is more

Tess Myers spent last weekend playing basketball in Colorado. She might get a chance to do so for a much longer time than that in the coming years.

Myers, a North Catholic junior and Lower Burrell native, received a scholarship offer Monday from Colorado of the Pac-12, her first offer from a Power 5 school.

A 5-foot-10 guard, Myers led North Catholic to its third consecutive WPIAL Class 4A championship this season. She led the Trojanettes in scoring, averaging 15.4 points, and had a team-high 20 points in North Catholic’s loss to Bethlehem Catholic in the PIAA title game.

The Colorado offer brings Myers’ total to nine: Charlotte, Kent State, La Salle, Niagara, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph’s, UNC Wilmington and William & Mary are the others.

Myers played in the USA Basketball 3×3 National Championship last weekend in Colorado Springs, Colo., with Team Western PA Elite.

Bonnie true

The Kiski Valley rugby team’s big man made a college decision, as Andrew Bigler committed to St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies play at the D1A level.

The 6-foot-3 Bigler, a senior at Burrell, leads the Titans with nine tries this season. He plays football and basketball at Burrell.

Kiski Valley leads the Allegheny Conference with a 2-0 section record heading into a game Sunday against Indiana.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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