A-K Valley notebook: Spring sports realignment affects area teams

Thursday, April 19, 2018 | 11:12 PM

The 2019 and '20 baseball seasons will include some sections heavy on Alle-Kiski Valley teams.

The WPIAL released baseball, softball and lacrosse alignments for the 2019 and '20 seasons Wednesday.

Locally, the biggest change comes in Section 1-3A baseball. Deer Lakes and Freeport are dropping from Class 4A to Class 3A and will join A-K Valley rivals Burrell and Valley in the same section, along with East Allegheny, South Allegheny and Steel Valley. Fox Chapel and Kiski Area will remain together in Section 1-5A, as will Apollo-Ridge and Riverview in Section 3-2A and Leechburg, St. Joseph and Springdale in Section 3-A.

Riverview is jumping from Class A to 2A in softball, joining Apollo-Ridge in Section 2-2A. Springdale is dropping from Class 2A to A, replacing Riverview in Section 3-A alongside Leechburg and St. Joseph. Kiski Area and Plum were split apart in Class 5A. The Cavaliers will compete in Section 1 with Albert Gallatin, Armstrong, Connellsville, Franklin Regional, Latrobe, Laurel Highlands and Penn-Trafford, and the Mustangs will play in Section 2-5A with Gateway, Hampton, Mars, Oakland Catholic, Penn Hills, Shaler and Woodland Hills.

Plum is dropping from Class AAA to AA in boys lacrosse, where the Mustangs will join Freeport in Section 1-AA.

Cooper resigns

Freeport hockey coach Ryan Cooper resigned Thursday after two seasons with the team.

The Yellowjackets went 12-27 in the past two seasons, with one playoff appearance.

They fell in the Penguins Cup Class A first round last season before finishing 3-17 in 2017-18.

“I wish the organization the best of luck in the future,” Cooper said.

Russell in Roundball

Burrell senior Donovan Russell will join the Alle-Kiski Valley basketball players competing in this weekend's Roundball Classic at Geneva.

Russell will play for the Class 3A/A team at 6 p.m. Saturday against the Class 4A team. Apollo-Ridge's Kyle Fitzroy will join him on the Class 3A/A team, and Freeport's Ben Beale and Valley's Dru Stokes will play on the Class 4A team.

The 6-foot-5 Russell averaged 12.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks this season.

Ionadi to Penn-Trafford

Former Kiski Area girls basketball coach Nick Ionadi will be back on the sideline next season, as he will join the Penn-Trafford boys basketball program as an assistant.

Ionadi resigned in February after six seasons at Kiski Area. The school hired Nick Dizon as his replacement earlier this week.

Penn-Trafford coach Jim Rocco coached Ionadi during his playing days at Penn Hills, which included a WPIAL championship in 2000.

On scholarship

Two Alle-Kiski Valley athletes were among 21 seniors announced as WPIAL scholarship recipients Wednesday.

Deer Lakes' Josh Solomon and Freeport's Claire Crytzer received the $1,000 scholarships. The WPIAL received 136 applicants.

Solomon is a three-sport athlete at Deer Lakes, competing in football, basketball and track and field. Crytzer played libero for the Freeport girls volleyball team and also is a member of the softball team.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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