A-K Valley notebook: Freeport’s Heilman to compete in Big 26 Classic

Thursday, June 6, 2019 | 6:41 PM

Jarrett Heilman, who helped the Freeport baseball team capture the Section 1-3A championship and qualify for the PIAA playoffs for the first time in 21 years, will represent the WPIAL on the Pennsylvania team for the Big 26 Baseball Classic on July 25-28, in Harrisburg.

The list of players for the four-day tryout-based all-star series was released Wednesday morning, and the Yellowjackets junior pitcher and infielder is one of two from the WPIAL to make the squad.

South Fayette sophomore Ryan McGuire is the other.

The Pennsylvania team, made up entirely of sophomores and juniors from this past academic year, will face a team from Maryland in a three-game series.

“It will be a lot of fun,” Heilman said. “I’ll get to talk to a lot of people throughout the state and Maryland and share stories. This is a good opportunity for me. Hopefully, more WPIAL players can be a part of this next year.”

Each team consists of six pitchers, three catchers, eight infielders, six outfielders and three multi-position/utility players.

Heilman is listed as a pitcher and McGuire an outfielder.

The players for both teams were chosen after tryouts at select locations throughout each state.

Heilman impressed the coaches and others evaluating with a limited throwing regimen at a tryout at West Mifflin on May 19, one day before Freeport’s WPIAL quarterfinal contest against Waynesburg.

“They saw my fastball and my other off-speed pitches,” Heilman said. “I could tell they liked what they saw, and that gave me confidence.”

He flirted with a no-hitter against Waynesburg and ended up surrendering just one hit in the 1-0 triumph.

Heilman finished his season 9-2 overall with a 0.67 ERA (seven earned runs/73 innings). He struck out 107 and walked only seven.

At the plate, he batted .290 (18 for 62) with four doubles and 11 runs batted in.

Athletes for all seasons

The Northern Athletic Directors Association recently honored a group of area high school seniors at its 21st annual tri-athlete luncheon at The Chadwick in Wexford.

Each year, NADA recognizes the commitment of student-athletes who participate in a WPIAL sport in the fall, winter and spring seasons as well as his or her academic and community service accomplishments.

Those celebrated from the A-K Valley were Burrell’s Hannah Pastor and Luke Kastelic, Fox Chapel’s Avery Bursick and Marissa Hardiman, Freeport’s Ariana Clark, Knoch’s Lindsey Fanton and Josh Goldscheitter, Plum’s Hunter Linhart, Riverivew’s Jack Stock and Springdale’s Jacob Garmong and Breanne Hurley.

Ultimate opportunity

The Fox Chapel boys and girls Ultimate (Frisbee) teams tested their mettle at the Pennsylvania State Championships in Irwin over Memorial Day weekend.

The girls squad came within a victory of the state-title match. They fell to eventual state champion Haverford, 13-2, in the semifinals. Haverford went 7-0 and outscored its opponents 91-15.

The Foxes went 2-1 in pool play and defeated Allderdice, 11-7, in the quarterfinals. They finished 3-4 and placed sixth overall.

On the boys side, Fox Chapel went 1-2 in pool play with an 11-10 victory over Hampton. Pine-Richland stopped the Foxes, 15-8, in the first round of the bracketed playoffs.

A close loss to Masterman, 12-10, in a consolation match capped Fox Chapel’s tournament record at 1-4.

Making a breakthrough

Plum junior first baseman Alyssa Schofield was one of three high school softball players from the WPIAL to take part in the Breakthrough Series amateur development camp Memorial Day weekend in Kansas City.

She was among just 60 players ages 15-19 from across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada selected for the event, a joint effort of USA Softball and Major League Baseball.

In addition to instruction from notable softball standouts such as former Olympians Jennie Finch and Natasha Watley, the group participated in a number of speaker sessions, visited the Negro League Museum and attended a Royals baseball game.

This spring, Schofield helped the Mustangs to a Section 2-5A co-championship, a 15-4 overall record and spot in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL playoffs.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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