A-K Valley notebook: Perfect start for Freeport softball

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Sunday, April 14, 2019 | 5:27 PM


Freeport finished the 2018 regular season as one of only two undefeated softball teams in the WPIAL, and the Yellowjackets are picking up where they left off.

Entering Monday, Freeport stood as one of 11 WPIAL softball teams, including three in the Alle-Kiski Valley, with undefeated records. Knoch and Leechburg are two of the others.

Despite graduating some key pieces from its WPIAL semifinal team, Freeport (5-0, 4-0 Section 1-3A) outscored its first five opponents by a 61-15 margin. The Yellowjackets have won 17 consecutive regular-season games.

Senior Ally DeJidas, the reigning Valley News Dispatch Softball Player of the Year, is hitting .714 with two doubles, a triple, three homers and seven RBIs. Junior Tori Radvan is batting .611 with three homers and a team-high 15 RBIs and is leading the team pitching effort. Sophomore Emily Schmidt is hitting .556 with two homers and 10 RBIs and freshmen such as Madison Shanta and Autumn Powell also are producing.

Knoch and Leechburg also are enjoying dominant seasons.

Knoch (6-0, 3-0 Section 3-4A), a WPIAL quarterfinalist last season, blanked Blackhawk and Quaker Valley last week and is outscoring teams, 50-25. Leechburg (6-0, 4-0 Section 3-A), coming off two straight WPIAL semifinal trips, knocked Springdale from the unbeaten ranks last week and has 92 runs in six games, allowing 13.

Deer life

Facing late deficits in a pair of important Section 1-3A baseball games last week, Deer Lakes came through both times.

First came a six-run sixth inning against No. 4 Burrell on Wednesday, a frame that helped the Lancers rally from a two-run deficit in an eventual 10-6 victory. The next night, Deer Lakes (5-4, 4-0) scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 3-2 win over No. 2 Steel Valley.

The big hits came courtesy of Josh Probst — with a bases-clearing double against Burrell and game-tying single against Steel Valley — and Greg Geis, who followed Probst both times with big hits: a two-run homer against Burrell and the winning single against Steel Valley. Probst is tied with freshman Justin Brannagan for the team lead in RBIs with 13, and Geis is right behind them with 11.

Rams returning?

Highlands is setting itself up for a return to the WPIAL in girls volleyball after three seasons away.

The district’s school board will vote Monday on a motion that would restart the program in time for the 2019 fall season, athletic director Chuck Debor said. If approved, the Golden Rams would play a probationary schedule in 2019 with the goal of returning to the WPIAL in 2020.

The program folded in 2016 because of a lack of players, but Debor said students have approached him recently about restarting the program. More than 40 girls signed a list saying they would be interested in playing, and some spoke to the school board at its general meeting last week.

“If we get 20, which I feel we can get 20 very easily, we can do a JV and varsity,” Debor said.

Debor said a potential next step would be creating a junior high team to provide a feeder system to junior varsity and varsity.

Swift as a Sharrow

Burrell track standout Kaylen Sharrow broke one of her school records and inched closer to someone else’s last week.

Sharrow’s time of 16 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles during a Section 7-AA meet last week against Deer Lakes set a school record, surpassing one she set last season. She also ran a time of 46 seconds in the 300 hurdles, 0.22 seconds behind Missy Miller, who registered the record time in 1990.

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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