Scholastic Notebook – 05/23/3014

Friday, May 23, 2014 | 1:11 PM

The perfect championships don’t happen often in WPIAL softball.  But for the Deer Lakes Lancers, they’ve been in the perfect storm before.

Deer Lakes is 18-0 and will play Beaver (15-0) for the Class AA championship Thursday at California University of Pennsylvania. It is only the third time in 17 years that a softball title game will match two undefeated teams. But it’s the second year in a row for Deer Lakes.

In 2013, Deer Lakes and Riverside both took undefeated records into the title game before Riverside came away with a 5-1 victory.

The only other time in the past 17 years that two undefeated teams met in a final was 1998 when Carmichaels beat Sto-Rox for the Class AA crown.

Runs will certainly be at a premium in this year’s Deer Lakes-Beaver game. Deer Lakes has allowed only two runs in three playoff games. Beaver has given up only one run in two playoff games.

No Average Joe

Blackhawk pitcher Brendan McKay has most certainly been the headliner of the Cougars’ baseball team this season as he pursues a national record for consecutive scoreless innings. But Joe Campagna has championed Blackhawk’s hitting efforts.

Campagna, a junior second baseman, leads Blackhawk in hitting with a .523 average. He has been one of the main reasons Blackhawk has made it to the WPIAL Class AAA title game Wednesday.

McKay is Blackhawk’s second-leading hitter. After going 4 for 4 with five RBIs in the semifinals Thursday against West Mifflin, McKay is now hitting .446 (21 of 47).  

As for his pitching, McKay’s scoreless innings streak is now at 69. He is 11 away from the national record of 80, set in 1973 by Joe Porter of South Natchez High in Mississippi. His scoreless streak goes back to last season. He is 7-0 this year and has not allowed a run in 45 innings.

The First Time

The WPIAL baseball championships will be Tuesday and Wednesday and it will be a totally new experience for two teams.

Baldwin and Steel Valley have both made it to the title game for the first time in school history. Baldwin will play Seneca Valley in the Class AAAA championship and Steel Valley meets Seton-LaSalle in the Class AA final.

It will certainly be differing traditions in the Class AAAA final. While Baldwin is in a title game for the first time, Seneca Valley is in for the fourth consecutive year. It is believed to be the first time a team has made it to a WPIAL final four years in a row.

Football Coaching News

The start of high school football practice in Pennsylvania is less than three months away, but a few schools were still hiring coaches this week.

* Charleroi hired Donnie Militzer. This will be Militzer’s second head coaching job. He was Gateway’s coach last season, but the school decided not to bring him back.

* Shaler hired Jon LeDonne as its new coach. LeDonne was Millitzer’s defensive coordinator at Gateway last season. LeDonne is a former Aliquippa player.

* Sto-Rox hired Jason Ruscitto as its new coach. This will be Ruscitto’s second go-round at Sto-Rox. He coached the Vikings from 2004-09 and had a 36-20 record. Ruscitto also was 1-8 in one season at East Allegheny (2012).

Basketball Coaching News

* Will Saunders is expected to be hired as Montour’s boys coach at a school board meeting Tuesday. Saunders is currently South Park’s coach. He also spent time as the boys coach at Shady Side Academy and the girls coach at North Allegheny. He won WPIAL and PIAA titles at Shady Side Academy.

* Yough hired Casey Copeman as its boys coach.

Wrestling Change

More WPIAL wrestlers will go to the PIAA tournament next year.

Earlier this week, the PIAA approved the expansion of wrestling brackets from 16 wrestlers per weight class to 20.

Starting next year, the top four finishers from the WPIAL will go to the PIAA tournament. Previously, only the top three qualified.

WPIAL Class AA wrestlers must still go through the Southwest Region tournament to get to the PIAA tournament in Hershey. Six Class AA wrestlers from the Southwest Region will advance to Hershey, opposed to only five in previous years.

Where Are They Now?

Shaler graduate Ryan Mincher was a first-team all-Ivy League selection in baseball.

Mincher now plays at Penn and the sophomore shortstop hit .328 with four home runs and 24 RBIs for the 24-17 Quakers. Mincher played football, basketball and baseball at Shaler.

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