Alle-Kiski notebook: Playoff fates await Kiski Area, Knoch baseball

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019 | 6:05 PM


It might not be the most ideal situation, but it’s certainly the most dramatic.

Kiski Area’s baseball playoff fate will come down to Wednesday as the Cavaliers (8-9, 5-6) host Armstrong in a winner-take-all game for the final Section 1-5A playoff berth.

The situation arose after Armstrong (8-8, 4-7) rallied for a 9-8 victory over Fox Chapel on Monday afternoon and Kiski Area saw a five-run lead slip away at Gateway on that night, losing 9-8 on a passed ball.

Although Kiski Area holds a one-game lead in the standings, the Cavaliers lost to Armstrong earlier this season. A win by the River Hawks on Wednesday would give them the tiebreaker and entry into the postseason.

“It’s a tough thing to deal with,” Kiski Area coach Aaron Albert said. “(But) like I said to the kids at the beginning of the year, if you told us we’d have a chance to play Armstrong at home with a chance to go to the playoffs and a chance to knock them out of the playoffs in the process, I would have taken that for anything in the world.”

Albert said the 6-2 loss to Armstrong earlier this season might actually help Kiski Area in this matchup. That earlier loss also came right after a difficult loss to Gateway. The Cavaliers played a nonsection game Tuesday at Connellsville.

“I think the day between helps,” Albert said. “The last time, it was right the next day. It was 24 hours later that we had to get on a bus and go to Armstrong, and I know we weren’t feeling too good about ourselves. (Playing Connellsville) might not be the worst thing in the world for us, get our minds off what happened (Monday) and refocus toward Wednesday.”

Knoch-out game?

Like Kiski Area, Knoch faces a do-or-die scenario Wednesday as the Knights (9-6, 5-6) host Highlands (10-7, 6-5) in their Section 1-4A finale.

Highlands, which beat Knoch by a run earlier this season, clinched a playoff berth Monday thanks to a win over Indiana and Knoch’s loss to Greensburg Salem.

But the Knights can get in with a win over Highlands, which would force a two-way tie for fourth with the Golden Rams or a three-way tie for third with Highlands and Mt. Pleasant (8-7, 6-5), which plays Greensburg Salem on Wednesday.

Knoch won Section 1-4A the past two seasons but is on a three-game losing streak.

“The playoffs for us start Wednesday,” Knoch coach Sean O’Donnell said.

Alex whack

A wrist injury kept Alex Kirilloff from playing in April. His performance since his return is backing up his breakthrough 2018 season.

The former Plum baseball star was hitting .412 (7 for 17) through Monday in the five games since his debut last week for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Minnesota Twins’ Double-A affiliate.

Kirilloff had three hits, including a triple, and two RBIs in the Blue Wahoos’ 6-3 win Monday over the Mississippi Braves.

The Twins’ 2016 first-round draft pick, Kirilloff hit a combined .348 last season with 44 doubles, seven triples, 20 homers and 101 RBIs while splitting his time between low-A Cedar Rapids and high-A Fort Myers.

Myers admirers

A weeklong recruiting shutdown started Monday for NCAA women’s basketball coaches, but North Catholic standout Tess Myers, a Lower Burrell native, pulled in an offer just before the deadline.

Myers announced an offer Saturday from Temple, her list exceeding more than a dozen schools.

A 5-foot-10 guard, Myers counts offers from Charlotte, Colorado, LaSalle, St. Joseph’s, UNC Wilmington, William & Mary and others. Colgate, Furman and Stony Brook all offered Myers on April 29.

She averaged a team-best 15.4 points for North Catholic (26-4), which won the WPIAL Class 4A title and finished as the state runner-up.

Recruiting roundup

Former Freeport volleyball standout Claire Crytzer announced she would play next season for Juniata. Crytzer, a 2018 Freeport graduate, was an all-state selection by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association in ’16 and ’17.

Crytzer called the past year a “crazy journey.” She started her freshman year at Gettysburg but missed athletics, so she transferred to Pitt, where she worked as manager of the women’s volleyball team.

“I was watching volleyball and going to practice every day, and that’s when it really made me miss playing and competing myself,” she said.

Crytzer said she considered Juniata during high school, and her club coaches know Eagles coach Heather Pavlik.

The libero helped lead the Yellowjackets to their first PIAA volleyball championship in ’17, her senior season. Freeport also won a pair of WPIAL Class titles during Crytzer’s tenure, in ’15 and ’16.

• Deer Lakes senior Mackenzie Spence committed to the track and field program at Lebanon Valley College. Spence holds the Deer Lakes record in the discus, having placed third with a distance of 110 feet, 1 inch in the WPIAL Class AA championships as a junior.

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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