Scholastic Notebook – 03/28/2014

Friday, March 28, 2014 | 1:21 PM

Baseball and softball teams were able to start playing games last week. But it’s never too early to look ahead – and there are two teams that have a chance to make history come late May.

In baseball, Seneca Valley has been to the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game three years in a row, winning twice and losing last year. The Raiders could become the first WPIAL team in at least 70 years to make a championship game four years in a row.

A check of WPIAL final game scores that go back to 1954, shows that no team has played in a championship game four consecutive years. Some teams have made it three years in a row. North Allegheny made it four of five years from 1990-94. Shaler made it four of five years from 1980-84.

In softball, Canon-McMillan is trying to become the first team to win three consecutive WPIAL championships in the largest classification since Baldwin won four in a row from 1993-96.

What are the chances of both teams making history? Well, pretty good if you go by the MSA Sports preseason rankings. Seneca Valley is the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAAA baseball. Canon-McMillan is the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAAA softball.

Seneca Valley lost some key players from last year’s team to graduation, but the Raiders still should be strong. One of the main reasons is Connor Coward, one of the WPIAL’s top pitchers who has signed with Virginia Tech.

As for Canon-McMillan, the Big Macs have to get a new No. 1 pitcher now that ace Alayna Astuto has graduated. But Canon-McMillan should be strong offensively. Outfielder Abby McCartney hit .538 with 27 RBIs last year and third baseman Olivia Lorusso also is back after batting .444 with 33 RBIs last season.

Faust Returns to Coaching

When Ron Faust retired as Washington’s boys basketball in 2009, he was one of fewer than 20 coaches in WPIAL history to have more than 500 wins. Now he’s coming back for more.

Faust has been hired as Washington’s new, er, old coach. Mark Gaither resigned after this past season and Faust, who had also retired as athletic director and an English teacher, agreed to come back and coach.

Faust was extremely successful in his first stint, winning four WPIAL titles and two PIAAs. His record was 520-192 and from 1983-85 his teams had a 52-game winning streak, which still ties for the WPIAL record these days with Uniontown.

Ringgold Hires Milchovich

Ringgold hired Nick Milchovich as its new football coach Thursday night.

Milchovich has head coaching experience. It’s just that he hasn’t been a head coach since 2010. He was California’s coach for one season in 2000. He then coached Charleroi for four years from 2003-06 and Peters Township from 2007-10. His record is 34-50 with two playoff appearances.

Milchovich takes over for Matt Humbert, who left Ringgold to become Belle Vernon’s coach. At Ringgold, Milchovich inherits one of the WPIAL’s top offensive players in quarterback Nico Law, who threw for 1,000 yards and ran for 1,000 last year.

WPIAL Girls Make Statement

It was a great weekend for WPIAL basketball at the state championships last weekend in Hershey. The WPIAL won five championships (boys and girls) for the first time since the PIAA started having girls championships in 1973. The boys championships go back to 1921.

While New Castle became the first WPIAL boys team in 31 years to go through a season undefeated, what was really unusual about the weekend was the three girls titles for the WPIAL. It was the first time the WPIAL won three girls championships. The winners were Blackhawk, Seton-LaSalle and Vincentian.

The WPIAL had won two girls state championships in 10 other years. But never three.

Rowan Gets Invite

Maverick Rowan, standout sophomore guard for the Lincoln Park Class A state championship basketball team, is in Chicago this weekend trying out for the Adidas Nations teams. It is a big honor. The Adidas Nations is a small summer tournament where two U.S. teams play teams from other nations. Two teams are picked from tryouts this weekend and some top players across the country are invited to try out.

Rowan finished his sophomore season with more than 1,400 career points.

On the Track

The early track and field season has two good-sized meets the next two weekends. The South Hills Classic will be held Saturday and the Tri-State Track Coaches Association meet is next Saturday at West Mifflin.

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