Scholastic Notebook – 05/31/2013

Friday, May 31, 2013 | 5:36 PM

The South Park baseball and Riverside softball teams did something unusual this week – win a WPIAL title with a perfect record.

On Monday, both begin a quest to do something even more rare– win a PIAA title with a perfect record.

Since the PIAA started softball and baseball championships in the 1970s, no WPIAL baseball team has won a PIAA title with an undefeated record. Elizabeth Forward came the closest, making the PIAA Semifinals in 2011.

While no WPIAL baseball team has won a PIAA title with an undefeated record, three WPIAL softball teams have won PIAA titles with perfect records, but it has been 14  years since it happened.

Canevin won the 1999 PIAA Class AA title with a 25-0 record. Also, Carmichaels won Class AA in 1998 with a 26-0 mark and Leechburg won Class AA in 1992 with a 23-0 record.

The Chartiers-Houston softball team came close to going undefeated in 2011, but lost in the state Semifinals.

Both the South Park baseball and Riverside softball teams begin the playoffs Monday. South Park will play the District 5-6 champion. Riverside will play the District 9 winner – either Redbank Valley or Curwensville.

Double Take is Tough

History says that South Park’s chances of winning a PIAA title are not good – and not because of the undefeated mystique.

History says that it’s hard to win both the WPIAL and PIAA titles in baseball. In Class AAA or AAAA, there have been 14 state champs from the WPIAL. Of those 14, only five were also WPIAL champs. They were Penn Hills (1978), Shaler (1980), Connellsville (1989), North Allegheny (1986) and Pine-Richland (2006).

Football-Baseball Double Take

North Allegheny won a WPIAL baseball title this week and the school became only the eighth to win football and baseball titles in the same school year. And remember, the WPIAL has been staging championships back to the early 1920s.

The other football-baseball champs in the same school year are: Pine-Richland (2003-04), Washington (2001-02), North Allegheny (1990-91), Penn Hills (1976-77 and also 1977-78), Beaver Falls (1960-61) and Allegheny (1918-19).

Incidentally, a kid named Joe Namath played on both the 1960-61 Beaver Falls football and baseball teams.

Battle to go to Battle With CV

There was a notable hiring this week in WPIAL girls basketball as Chartiers Valley hired Ashley Battle as its new coach.

Battle has never been a coach before but she has an impressive resume as a player. Battle, originally from the Pittsburgh area, was on three national championship teams at the University of Connecticut and also played six years in the WNBA.

Battle, who has been living in Manchester for about a year, is no stranger to the Chartiers Valley school. She sometimes plays pickup basketball at Chartiers Valley before school starts. Chartiers Valley boys coach Tim McConnell sometimes plays.

“I’ve know Tim since I was a kid,” Battle said. “He trained me some when I was a kid and when I was trying out for the USA team when I was a junior or senior.”

Battle takes over for Spencer Stefko, who resigned after the season and then became coach at Seton-LaSalle.

In other WPIAL coaching news, West Greene hired Paul Kreuzer as its new football coach.

McKay Honored

Gatorade this week named Blackhawk star baseball player Brendan McKay as the Pennsylvania Player of the Year.

It just goes to show what kind of reputation McKay, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound left-hander, has throughout the state, even though he is only a junior. He finished 7-0 with a 0.09 ERA. He pitched 53 innings, struck out 101 and allowed only three runs, one earned. He also is an outfielder-first baseman and hit above .400.

McKay is 22-1 for his career.

Speaking of awards, the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association announced its players of the year, pitchers of the year and coaches of the year this past week. The Players of the Year are (Class AAAA) Danny McGrath, Franklin Regional. (AAA) Nick Yobbi, South Park. (AA) Ben Herstine, Beaver. (A) Preston Falascino, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

The Pitchers of the Year are (AAAA) Tyler Smith, Penn-Trafford. (AAA) Brendan McKay, Blackhawk. (AA) Brandon Ritchie, Laurel. (A) Anthony Malky, Riverview.

The Coaches of the Year are (AAAA) Frank Zebrasky, Canon-McMillan, (AAA) Steve Bucci, South Park. (AA) Rocky Plassio, Washington. (A) Chad Miller, Western Beaver.

Where Are They Now?

The Connecticut baseball team made the NCAA tournament and Norwin graduate Max McDowell has started 44 games for the Huskies. He is batting .253 with four home runs and 25 RBIs.

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