Scholastic Notebook – 04/21/2017

By: HSSN Staff
Friday, April 21, 2017 | 11:58 PM

Blackhawk baseball coach Bob Amalia has had talented pitchers before. Only a few years ago he had Brendan McKay, who came close to breaking a national scoreless streak record.

But now Amalia is blessed with a stable full of pitchers who are putting up remarkable statistics for an undefeated team.

“So far, so good. We’re trying to just go one game at a time,” said Amalia. “But as a staff, this is the best I’ve had.”

Blackhawk has a 12-0 record and the Cougars’ statistics make eyes pop:

* Blackhawk has allowed only eight runs in 12 games, including six earned runs.

* The Cougars have seven shutouts and allowed only one run in four other games. Four of the runs allowed came in one game against New Castle.

* The team ERA is 0.58 and five pitchers have combined for 105 strikeouts in 72 innings.

* Opposing teams have only 38 hits in 12 games.

Blackhawk has used five pitchers and four have an ERA below 1.00. Andy McClymonds is 5-0 with a 0.29 ERA and has 43 strikeouts in 24 innings.

Mark Engel is 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA and has 14 strikeouts in 19 innings.

John Nixon is 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA. He has struck out 21 in 15 1/3 innings.

Jon Pence is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He has struck out 15 in 72/3 innings.

Amalia uses Mike Turcony as his closer and Turcony has responded with four saves. He has 12 strikeouts in six innings.

With Blackhawk’s strong tradition and with such strong pitching, the Cougars would seemingly be the team to beat in WPIAL Class 3A.

The Ryan Express

Hempfield could come up with close to 60 reasons why it likes softball pitcher Morgan Ryan. That’s the number of wins she has.

Ryan is a senior and a Notre Dame recruit. She has a 7-0 record this year, which lifts her career total to 58-7.

Baseball-Softball Excellence

Everything was absolutely perfect this spring for West Allegheny’s baseball and softball teams – until Wednesday. The West Allegheny baseball suffered its first loss of the season, a 9-5 setback against Moon. Heading into Friday, that is the only loss of the spring for West Allegheny’s baseball or softball teams. The baseball team is 9-1 while the softball team is 12-0.

Both of West Allegheny’s baseball and softball teams were ranked No. 1 in the most recent MSA Sports rankings.

A.J. is OK

For best, all-around athletes in the WPIAL, A.J. Myers might deserve a look.

Myers is a senior at Chartiers-Houston. In the fall, he was the leading receiver for the Bucs, catching 37 passes for 779 yards and also rushing for 155 yards. In the winter, he had a big season for the Chartiers-Houston basketball team, averaging 23 points and being selected the top player in his section.

Now he is a big hit in baseball with his hitting. Myers has a .478 batting average.

Woodland Hills Hires Football Coach and AD

It was controversial, but Woodland Hills hired Kevin Murray as football coach Wednesday night.

Murray takes over for legendary George Novak, who retired after last season. Murray is a former Woodland Hills player who had been the associate head coach under Novak the past five seasons. Novak recommended Murray be hired.

But Murray also is Woodland Hills’ principal and some Woodland Hills residents protested his hiring at a school board meeting Wednesday. The reason for the protests was because Murray was placed on paid leave for a few months in the winter after a recording surfaced of him threatening to punch a student. The Allegheny County district attorney’s office did not file charges, but some Woodland Hills residents were still upset that the school would hire him as football coach.

The Woodland Hills school board voted, 5-4, to hire Murray.

Woodland Hills also hired a new athletic director Wednesday. The board voted, 7-2, to hire Coursey. Novak also is retiring as AD.

Coursey is now the AD at William Penn High School in York, Pa., but he is familiar with the Pittsburgh area. He attended Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. He also spent a little time as dean of students and boys basketball coach at Propel Andrew Street, a charter school in Munhall.

Epps Resigns at Hempfield

Aaron Epps resigned as girls basketball coach at Hempfield High School. Epps was the Spartans’ coach for five seasons and had an 81-43 record. He made the WPIAL playoffs all five seasons and went to the WPIAL 4A championship once. Epps also coached Kiski Area for one season before coming to Hempfield. His career record was 97-50.

WPIAL Scholar Athletes

Lincoln Park basketball player Nelly Cummings, Armstrong football player Zane Dudek and Hempfield softball pitcher Morgan Ryan have rung up some impressive numbers in their athletic careers. They also rang up some impressive grades in the classroom – and were rewarded as three of the recipients of the WPIAL Scholar Athlete award.

The league announced the 20 winners Tuesday. Each winner gets a $1,000 scholarship award.

Besides Cummings, Dudek and Ryan, other winners were: Penn Hills’ Cole Bishop, Mt. Lebanon’s David Harvey, Kiski Area’s Eric Kennedy, Quaker Valley’s Amos Luptak, Freeport’s Kevin Lynch, North Allegheny’s Ethan Maenza, Woodland Hills’ Mike McAllister and Monessen’s Justice Rice for the boys.

Other girls winners were: Jefferson-Morgan’s Erin Confortini, Mars’ Taylor Hockenberry, Brentwood’s Molly Huffman, Riverview’s Erin Joyce, North Allegheny’s Anna Li, Ellwood City’s Taylor Petrak, Brownsville’s Alie Seto, Baldwin’s Madison Sgattoni and Moon’s Emma Thomas.

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