Alle-Kiski Valley high school notebook: Burrell softball keeps rallying

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Saturday, May 4, 2019 | 9:52 PM


Burrell is developing a penchant for softball comebacks.

The No. 2 Bucs’ rally from a three-run deficit for a 5-4 Section 1-3A win Monday gave them three late-inning, multiple-run comebacks this season. All three came over Burrell’s biggest rivals, giving the Bucs a pair of wins over Deer Lakes and another against Freeport.

The come-from-behind wins helped Burrell win its first outright section title since 2011.

Junior Charlie Confer, who delivered the go-ahead two-run double in the sixth inning Monday, said the team feels confident it can rally late in games, and the evidence bears that out.

Coach Brian Eshbaugh would prefer the team not get too comfortable playing from behind, though.

“The only problem with that, that I think, is one day it ain’t going to happen,” Eshbaugh said. “So we need to quit putting ourselves in the hole. We put ourselves in a 3-0 hole in the first inning (against Deer Lakes). Against good teams like Deer Lakes, Freeport, these playoff teams, we can’t be digging ourselves a hole.

“One day it’s going to come back, and we’re not going to make it. It was a close one today.”

Burrell overcame an early deficit in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs last season for a win over McGuffey, but the Bucs couldn’t do the same in the quarterfinals against Avonworth, suffering a 3-0 loss. The Bucs are seeking a deeper run this season.

Clinching achievement

The number of Alle-Kiski Valley teams with a spot in the WPIAL playoffs continues to grow.

In baseball, Fox Chapel (Class 5A), Burrell, Deer Lakes and Freeport (3A) and Leechburg (A) have clinched, but a handful of teams remain alive.

Highlands and Knoch enter the final week tied for the last playoff spot in Section 1-4A with two section games remaining. They play each other Wednesday evening at Pullman Park. Kiski Area can earn a Class 5A playoff berth with a win or an Armstrong loss. St. Joseph needs one win or a Clairton loss to clinch in A, and Valley remains alive in 3A.

Softball teams that clinched include Plum (Class 5A); Knoch (4A); Burrell, Deer Lakes and Freeport (3A); Apollo-Ridge and Riverview (2A); and Leechburg and Springdale (A).

Leechburg won its third consecutive Section 3-A softball championship and can finish off an unbeaten section season with a win over Geibel in a makeup game. Knoch won the Section 3-4A championship, its second title in three years. Plum won a share of the Section 2-5A crown for its first championship since 2014.

Jack flash

Kiski Area football star Jack Colecchi will get to show his best against some of the top players in the state as he plays in the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association’s East/West Game at 2 p.m. Sunday at Altoona’s Mansion Park.

The East/West game features senior All-Stars from around the state. The PSFCA also sponsors the annual Big 33 Football Classic.

Colecchi ended his career as Kiski Area’s all-time leading receiver, with 73 receptions for 1,424 yards and 11 touchdowns. The California (Pa.) recruit caught 40 passes for 692 yards and five touchdowns as a senior.

Twin billing

Kiski Area’s Palla twins will stick together at the Division I soccer level.

Juniors Christa and Sidney Palla committed Thursday to play women’s soccer for Morehead State.

The midfielders both earned all-section honors as juniors, even though Sidney Palla missed much of the season with a torn ACL suffered before the year began.

Christa Palla finished second on the Cavaliers with 13 goals. Sidney returned late in the season and tallied four goals in five games.

The sisters play club for Century Soccer. Their older sister, Brittany, is a sophomore defender at Indiana State.

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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