Scholastic Notebook – 05/06/2013

Monday, May 6, 2013 | 12:16 AM




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For Crimone’s sake, Keystone Oaks is in the WPIAL baseball playoffs.

Keystone Oaks, under coach Scott Crimone, made the Class AAA playoffs and won a section title this year. Those are two statements you don’t hear often.

With two non-section games left, Keystone Oaks is 13-4 overall. The Eagles finished play in Class AAA Section 3 with an 8-2 record, tying Chartiers Valley for the section title. The teams are crowned co-champions.

Keystone Oaks qualified for the WPIAL playoffs for the first time in almost a decade. The Eagles last qualified in 2004, won a preliminary-round game, but lost in the first round to Blackhawk, 12-1. It is their first section title since 2003, when they finished section play 10-0 while playing in Class AA.

For certain, Keystone Oaks is one of the surprise stories in the WPIAL. The Eagles finished above .500 only once in the previous eight seasons. That was 2011, when the Eagles were 10-6, but missed the playoffs. In the previous eight seasons, Keystone Oaks was only 48-92.

Pitching has been vital to Keystone Oaks’ success this year. The Eagles have given up two or fewer runs in nine of 17 games. The team ERA is 2.38.

Jared Skolnicki, a senior,  has been the ace and one of the most successful pitchers in the WPIAL. He is 6-0 with a 0.36 ERA. He has pitched 39 innings and struck out 60 while walking only eight.

John Beveridge, a junior, is 3-1.

Skolnicki also leads the team in hitting with a .512 average. Ryan Ribeau is hitting .340 and leads the team with 14 RBIs.

Baldwin Invite Notes

The Baldwin Invitational was Friday night and there were some performances worth mentioning.

Hopewell’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough long jumped 19 feet, 3 ½ inches. She became only the third girl in WPIAL history to reach 19 feet.

Sarah Stanley, a sophomore at South Park, won the javelin with a throw 136-9. She is the younger sister of Bill Stanley, who set a national high school record in the javelin last year.

Shaffer Swann, a Central Catholic junior, won the long jump with a 22-7 ¼. It is the second-best long jump in the WPIAL this year. He is son of former Steeler great Lynn Swann.

A Wise Athlete

Washington’s Josh Wise is certainly a teenager for all seasons. You could make a case for him being one of the best three-sport athletes in the WPIAL.

In the fall, Wise was the quarterback of a Washington football team that made it to the WPIAL Class AA title game. In basketball, he averaged 22 points a game and scored more than 1,000 points in his career.

Now in the spring, he is one of the best high jumpers in the WPIAL. He is second in Class AA, clearing 6-4.

Baseball Notes

* Peters Township missed the WPIAL playoffs for the second consecutive season. Before last year, Peters Township had made the playoffs nine consecutive seasons.

* Seneca Valley and Quaker Valley are still undefeated.

* Blackhawk’s Brendan McKay is now 20-1 in his career. This season, he is 5-0 and it is a big event when he gives up a run. He has pitched 36 innings and has allowed only five runs, but only one earned run. His ERA is 0.19. He averages almost two strikeouts an inning with 69 in 36 innings.

Coaching News

* Hempfield opened the position of boys coach Jim Nesser, despite Nesser having success the past few seasons. Nesser coached Hempfield four seasons and his record was 58-32, including 36-10 the past two seasons. His 2011 team won the section and the Spartans tied for the section title the past two seasons. Nesser, however, never won a playoff game.

* Spencer Stefko resigned as Chartiers Valley’s girls coach a few weeks ago. It was somewhat surprising because Stefko turned the Colts into a perennial winner. They never won a section title before he became coach and he guided Char Valley to the WPIAL AAAA title game this past season. But maybe Stefko won’t be out of coaching for a while. He is candidate for the vacant Seton-LaSalle girls job.

Highmark the Home For WPIAL Soccer Finals

The WPIAL announced this week that it has a home for all of its soccer championships – and the home is in downtown Pittsburgh.

Starting with this season, all six WPIAL title games will be played at the new Highmark Stadium, which sits on the South Side near Station Square and has a beautiful view of the city.

Two games will be played Nov. 1 and four Nov. 2. Highmark Stadium is the home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds professional soccer team. Highmark seats 3,500.

Riverhounds CEO Jason Kutney said, ““The Riverhounds and Highmark Stadium are committed to brokering opportunities whereas the game of soccer can grow in Pittsburgh,” said Kutney.  “Bringing these Championships downtown, for the entire City to see, means enhancing the soccer experience for players and spectators, alike.  This is extremely important to us.”

Where Are They Now?

Derek Law, a graduate of Seton-LaSalle, is having an excellent so far for the San Francisco Giants Class A affiliate in Augusta, Ga. Law, a right-handed pitcher, has an 0-1 record as a reliever, but he has a 2.08 ERA. He is averaging more than a strikeout an inning. He has pitched 17 1/3 innings in nine appearances and has struck out 24. He has not allowed a run in seven of his nine appearances.

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