Fisher’s Files: Bethel Park spring athletes earn high marks

Saturday, May 18, 2024 | 11:01 AM

Keaira Griffiths and Julia Hoppe are just two of the many integral athletes on the Bethel Park girls track and field team.

The displayed their mettle at the Tri-State Track Coaches Association outdoor championships at West Mifflin in April.

Griffiths, a junior, took third place in the javelin event with a toss of 119 feet, 2 inches. Hoppe, a senior, placed sixth in the pole vault competition by clearing a height of 10 feet, 7 inches.

Seton Hill recruit Artemis Conaboy, who holds multiple school records, won the girls 400-meter dash at West Mifflin in 58.56.

A senior sprinter, Conaboy had a 4.5 weighted GPA in 2022-23 and is a member of the National Honor Society. At Bethel Park, she has served as vice president of Best Buddies, a club that aims to foster friendships between students with or without intellectual disabilities.

She also been an active member of her school’s student government and Interact Club, which specializes in community service.

BP softball reaches playoffs

The Bethel Park softball team had been exchanging wins and losses through the early part of its 2024 schedule.

Through nine games, the Black Hawks were 4-5 overall and 2-2 in Section 2-5A. They also had at least seven games postponed due to poor weather conditions.

Bethel Park ended up 10-10 overall in the regular season and 5-5 in Section 4-5A, good for fourth place and a WPIAL playoff berth. The Black Hawks won three of their final four games heading into the postseason.

The 13th-seeded Black Hawks lost to No. 4 Penn-Trafford in a close game May 13 in the first round of the playoffs. The final score was 3-2.

Bethel Park scored one run in the top of the sixth and seventh innings; Penn-Trafford scored once in the third and twice the sixth.

Senior pitcher Makenzie Wade tossed a one-hitter through five innings for the Black Hawks and had offensive support with doubles by sophomores Anna Duguid (3B) and Anastasia Spano (CF) and senior Belinda Bova (RF).

Bova scored one run and junior shortstop Aubrey Campbell drove in one.

There were six seniors in Bethel Park’s starting lineup this spring: Wade, Bova, Julia Miller (2B), Rebecca Gillenberger (DH), Alayna Owen (P) and Lupe McElvenny (C).

Other starters included juniors Taylor Striegel (1B) and Campbell, along with sophomores Julia Bitkowski (LF), Duguid and Spano, a left-handed hitter.

Sophomore OF Courtney Roberts, junior INF Kamiya Martin and Owen were utilized for their pinch-running skills at times.

Nicolette Antonucci, a senior infielder, also saw pinch-hitting duties.

• Bethel Park’s softball team also posted a late-season shutout, blanking Seton-La Salle, 7-0, on May 8 behind Bova’s offensive antics.

Bova went 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs, while Duguid drove in two runs. Wade picked up the win.

Flag football team a hit

Did you know that Bethel Park has a girls flag football team?

Two dozen girls were assigned roster spots this spring for the inaugural Bethel Park flag football team, most notably 11 senior pioneers.

The senior class was represented on the team by Katherine Clouston, Faith Clunan, Emerson Crawford, Alexandria Francus, Clairessa George, Etta Jackson, Brooklyn Jones, Sam Kern, Brooke Kessler, Grace Lindblom and Lily Sierka.

Alyssa Celletti, Keaira Griffiths, Talia Jackson, Elizabeth Mackey, Brea Schoffstall and Jala Schoffstall are juniors, while sophomore team members included Ava Cerro, Layla Jones, Mia Rapali, Emily Stolpa and Kaelyn Weber.

Riley Johnson and Lily Yester are top freshman prospects.

Bethel Park’s schedule this season included South Fayette, Uniontown, Mt. Lebanon, South Allegheny, Clairton and Belle Vernon. Teams played two games per date.

The Blacks Hawks, coached by Vinny Ziccardi, started out 2-2 with wins against Uniontown (14-0) and South Allegheny (6-0), and losses to South Fayette (12-0) and Mt. Lebanon (25-8).

Girls flag football is an NFL-sponsored scholastic activity. Efforts are being made to make it an official PIAA sanctioned sport.

The 2024 Steelers Girls Flag Football Week 5 showcase event took place May 5 at Bethel Park. All eight teams in the South Division were scheduled to participate.

The league championships were held May 19 at Carnegie Mellon. The top three teams in each of the five divisions — North, South, East, West and Central — qualified for the championships.

Walsh leads Black Hawks to win

Ryan Walsh, a senior pitcher/outfielder, belted a walk-off home run May 6 to lift the Bethel Park baseball team to a 1-0 win over Ringgold.

Junior P/OF Dylan Paul picked up the victory on the mound for the Black Hawks.

Two days later, Bethel Park defeated Chartiers Valley, 10-0, as junior shortstop Ryan Petras went 3 for 3 with a homer and three RBIs. Paul singled, doubled and drove in three runs.

Dylan Schumacher, a junior P/OF, and Walsh combined to throw a three-hitter over five innings.


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