Scholastic Notebook – 04/25/2011

Monday, April 25, 2011 | 12:00 AM

The decision might come as a surprise to some because college interest was starting to pick up in Mason, who led the WPIAL in scoring last season at 33.3 points and scored 64 in one game. Butler University coach Brad Stevens came to watch Mason work out at Highlands last week and requested grade transcripts on Mason. No scholarship offer was made. Richmond also came to watch Mason work out last week, and other Division I schools were starting to show interest.

But Drake had already been to watch Mason practice or work out four times.

“No one showed the interest that Drake showed,” Mason said.

Still, it is somewhat surprising that a kid from Western Pennsylvania would decide to play basketball in Des Moines, Iowa. But Mason was extremely impressed with Drake and its players and didn’t.

“I love Drake,” he said. “There are great people there. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Mason cant sign a binding letter of intent with Drake until November.

Scheduling Matters

The rain has played havoc with spring sports, but the scheduling situation for baseball and softball teams is not as bad as many might think.

Sure, there are a few teams who have a handful of section games to make up, but most teams arent that far behind in section play. Maybe a game or two and thats it at the most. Some teams are caught up in section games.

“I think where it has hurt the most is in non-section games,” said North Allegheny coach Andy Maddix. “A lot of teams havent been able to play many non-section games at all and thats where you get a look at some other players who might not be regulars and give them a chance to play some.”

WPIAL Baseball Notes

* As of Monday, South Fayette and Uniontown had played only four games. Thats one end of the spectrum. On the other end, Neshannock and Hopewell had played 13 games and neither team went on a trip to Florida or somewhere in the south.

* Norwin is the only undefeated Class AAAA team and has scored 10 or more runs in six of the past eight games.

* Another one of the dominant teams so far has been Elizabeth Forward, which also is undefeated. The Warriors have scored 10 or more runs in seven of 10 games, and have shut out five of the past seven opponents.

* Mount Pleasant first baseman Zac Heide has hit three grand slams in eight games so far this season.

No Dirt

The WPIAL baseball championships have been played at Consol Energy Park for a few years now and will be played there once again this season. The league wont have to worry about a muddy field this year.

Consol Energy Park has a new synthetic grass playing surface. There is no dirt anywhere.

The first game was played on the new surface last Wednesday when Trinity played Chartiers Valley. The surface is ProGrass. But the entire field is ProGrass, even the home plate area and the pitchers mound. Some fields with synthetic turf still have dirt at the pitchers mound or home plate. Not Consol.

The base paths, pitchers mound and home-plate area might look like dirt from far away, but it is simply colored ProGrass.

500 And Then Some

On the same day last week (Thursday), two girls softball coaches hit milestones. Leechburgs Jim Oberdorf won his 500th game as the Blue Devils defeated Ellis School, 15-0. Oberdorf has been Leechburgs coach since 1982 and has won three WPIAL titles and two PIAA titles. The 66-year-old Oberdorf has guided Leechburg to the playoffs 24 years in a row.

Also last Thursday, Sto-Rox coach Bill Palermo won his 550th game. Palermo and Oberdorf are believed to be the only two coaches in WPIAL girls softball with 500 wins. Palermo has a record of 551-126.

Another Williams Star

Maybe Erikka Williams isnt at the level that her sister, Lauryn, was as a senior at Rochester High School. But Erikka is making a pretty good name for herself.

A senior, Williams won the 200-meter dash and long jump titles at the Beaver County Championships Saturday. She set a meet record in the 200. So far this spring, Williams has by far the best long jump in the entire WPIAL at 18 feet,

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