Pine-Richland notebook: Spring sports teams win playoff openers
Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 11:01 AM
It was a successful first week of the postseason for the Pine-Richland spring sports teams.
The Rams softball and boys and girls lacrosse teams all scored victories in their first playoff games.
A year after suffering a first-round exit on their home field, the fifth-seeded Rams made amends by dominating No.12 Norwin in a 17-3 win to open the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs May 16.
It was the first playoff win for second-year coach Dave Offner. The Rams advanced to play No. 4 Shady Side Academy in the quarterfinals May 18.
Junior attackman Cooper Zancosky scored four goals and had three assists. Senior midfielder Andrew Mellis, who missed last year’s playoff game due to injury, had a hat trick, while Garrett Barth, Will Hilton and Owen Luellen added two goals each. JL Aiello, Talan Hill-Ressler, Nate Vrabel and Sam Rippole scored once.
Luke Hatzimbes was strong on faceoffs, winning 10 of 14 attempts, and Justin White made four saves in net.
After receiving a bye in the first round of the playoffs, the top-seeded Rams dispatched rival North Allegheny, 18-6, in the WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinals May 17.
Caroline Gentile paced Pine-Richland with five goals and three assists, while younger sister Cate Gentile netted four goals.
Kendyll Jerry also had four goals and added an assist, while Hannah Young scored a pair of goals and had three assists.
It was the first playoff win for first-year head coach Shannen Drennon.
The Rams advanced to play No. 5 Shady Side Academy in the semifinals.
Like the girls lacrosse team, Pine-Richland softball beat rival North Allegheny, 5-1, in the Class 6A quarterfinals May 17.
It was perhaps the most surprising result of the three, given the Rams had lost twice to North Allegheny in the regular season, including an 8-5 setback May 9.
Izzy Sulesky pitched a complete game four-hitter with one strikeout. Sulesky also singled twice in the win.
Mackenzie Gillis provided the big hit, belting a two-run double that gave the Rams a 3-1 lead in the fifth. The Rams added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh.
Iliana Aggelou had a pair of hits and RBIs each and Marissa DeLuca plated a run.
Pine-Richland advanced to play top-seeded Seneca Valley in the semifinals.
The Rams received the top seed in the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs and were not in action the first week of the WPIAL playoffs.
They were scheduled to play No. 8 Hempfield in the quarterfinals May 22, with the semifinals following the next day.
Pine-Richland coach Kurt Wolfe received Section 1-6A coach of the year honors from the Big 56 Conference. Anthony Mengine, Jacob McGuire and Owen Henne received first-team honors. Tanner Cunningham, Keegan Diehl and Joey Perry were on the second team and Jake Waddell was an honorable mention.
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer
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