Scholastic Notebook – 06/01/2012

Friday, June 1, 2012 | 2:59 PM

After Blackhawk’s Brendan McKay pitched a shutout in the WPIAL Class AAA championship Thursday, Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia said there is no stage too big for McKay. But as sophomores go, McKay has the entire stage to himself.

The way McKay has pitched this season brings about a question. Has there ever been a sophomore pitcher in the WPIAL who has enjoyed this much success in one of the largest classifications?

McKay, a sophomore left-hander, has been tremendous for a pitcher in any year, let alone one in his sophomore season. His statistics go beyond impressive.

* McKay is on a string of 30 consecutive scoreless innings. He has not given up a run in 30 days. The last run he allowed was in the first inning against Hopewell May 2nd.

* He went through a stretch of 11 2/3 innings of no-hit ball from the WPIAL semifinals until he gave up a hit in the sixth inning of Thursday’s title game against Belle Vernon.

* He has an 8-1 record with a 0.47 ERA and also three saves. He has allowed only seven runs (five earned) this season.

* In 74 innings, McKay has 86 strikeouts. What also is impressive is his control for a sophomore. He has allowed only 12 walks.

Those statistics prove McKay’s talent. In addition, he didn’t compile these statistics against stiffs. Blackhawk plays in a tough section and McKay won two playoff games.

On top of all his talent, McKay is humble.

“I just feel lucky,” McKay said after he beat Belle Vernon, 1-0, in the WPIAL final. “Most sophomores don’t get the chance to pitch in games like this.”

Before the season started, named McKay one of the top 50 sophomores in the country. Some might have been surprised to see a Pennsylvania kid rated that highly. But McKay has only enhanced his reputation this year.

“We’re just trying not to screw him up,” Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia said with a laugh.”He was already pretty good when we got him.”

Them Again?

McKay and Thomas Jefferson’s Greg Schneider had a memorable duel in the WPIAL semifinals. There is a chance they could meet again in the PIAA quarterfinals.

Thomas Jefferson qualified for the PIAA playoffs as the No. 3 team from the WPIAL and will play District 10 champion Warren (16-3) Monday in a first-round game. Under the original PIAA brackets, Blackhawk would have played the District 9 champ, while Belle Vernon would have played City League representative Carrick. But Carrick elected not to participate in the PIAA playoffs.

Rather than give Belle Vernon a bye, the PIAA elected to give Blackhawk a first-round bye. Belle Vernon will now play the District 9 champ.
It is not known whether Thomas Jefferson will pitch Schneider against Warren. But the winner of the game faces Blackhawk in the quarterfinals Thursday. It’s highly likely McKay will pitch for Blackhawk in that game. If Schneider doesn’t pitch against Warren and 
Thomas Jefferson wins, it will be McKay-Schneider II.

Season of Firsts

“The first time” seemed to be a popular theme in the WPIAL baseball and softball championships the past few days. Belle Vernon played in the baseball championship for the first time in school history.

Also, Canon-McMillan and Deer Lakes played in softball championships for the first time.

Canon-McMillan and Deer Lakes won titles while Belle Vernon came up short against Blackhawk.

Attendance Figures

The WPIAL was very pleased with the crowd at the baseball championship tripleheader Wednesday night at Consol Energy Park. Paid attendance was 3,024 for the Class A, AA and AAAA championships.

WPIAL officials said that was one of the best crowds they have had at Consol. The WPIAL can’t break down the attendance for each game, but the Class A and AA games had bigger crowds than the Class AAAA game.

Uncle vs. Niece

The Class A softball championship game between Chartiers-Houston and Carmichaels brought about an interesting family matchup. Dave Briggs is the coach of Carmichaels. His niece, Kayla Briggs, is Char-Houston’s pitcher.

The niece won as Char-Houston scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to pull out a 3-2 win.

Coaching News

* Bob Miles enjoyed great success the past few seasons as Fort Cherry’s girls basketball coach, but he has taken his act to Trinity High School. Trinity has hired Miles as its new girls coach. Miles was Fort Cherry’s coach for 15 seasons and won 237 games. A year ago, Fort Cherry made it to the WPIAL title game for the first time in school history. This season, Fort Cherry made it to the WPIAL semifinals.

* In boys basketball coaching news, Bishop Canevin hired Tony DiMaria as its new coach. DiMaria was the Crusaders’ coach for a few years in the early 1990s.

Special Circumstances

The Michigan High School Athletic Association, governing body of Michigan high school sports, voted this week to lift the age limit for athletes, under certain circumstances.

The move came after Eric Dompierre, a 19-year-old student with Down syndrome, petitioned to be able to play sports next season at Ishpeming High School, despite being over the age limit allowed by by the MHSAA. Dompierre stated school late because of Down syndrome.

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