Scholastic Notebook – 05/06/2016

Friday, May 6, 2016 | 10:21 AM

It was against lowly competition, and each game lasted only five innings. But still, the recent pitching performances of Zach Bowen were ones for the national record book.

Bowen is a sophomore at Serra Catholic who pitched back-to-back perfect games. Both games were blowouts and lasted only five innings because of the 10-run rule. Bowen’s first perfect game came April 27 against Clairton in a 17-0 win. Then this past Monday, Bowen pitched another perfect game in another 17-0 win, this time against Geibel Catholic.

According to the National Federation of High School Associations record book, only two other pitchers are known to have thrown consecutive perfect games. Mike Bradley of Fort Bragg, Cal., did it in 1991 and Anthony Velasquez of Bayside, N.Y., in 2006.

So Bowen can have a spot in the national record book.

It should be pointed out that there could be others who have thrown back-to-back perfect games. But the National Federation book lists only records that are sent to the Federation. Bowen’s name will appear in the record book only if Serra submits information on his feat.

Four Eligible, One Ineligible

Ambridge was in the news this week when the WPIAL ruled on the eligibility of five football players who left the school and transferred to other places in the past two months. Ambridge contested the transfers, saying they were for athletic intent because of the turmoil surrounding the program after Dan Bradley resigned as coach and Terry George was hired.

At hearings Tuesday, George and athletic director Brian Miller said the transfers came about because the five players were worried that the team would struggle next year because no linemen were returning. Among the players who transferred were the starting quarterback, the top two runners and the leading receiver. The fifth was a lineman.

But the WPIAL ruled four of the five eligible to compete at their new schools, while the league ruled one ineligible. The only player ruled ineligible was receiver-defensive back Isaiah McNair, who transferred to Quaker Valley. The WPIAL ruled he transferred at least partly for athletic reasons, which is against WPIAL and PIAA rules.

Ruled eligible to play next season are running back-defensive back Davion Jones and his cousin, fullback-linebacker Tariq Jones, who both transferred to Aliquippa; quarterback Austin French, who transferred to Beaver Falls; lineman John Prentice, who transferred to Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic.

McNair can appeal his case to the PIAA. WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said McNair was ruled ineligible because the WPIAL board of directors felt McNair’s case was the only one where there was some evidence that he transferred, at least partly, for athletic reasons.

Good News for Ambridge

But there are good things happening at Ambridge – with the baseball team. The Bridgers are headed to the WPIAL baseball playoffs. They haven’t been able to say that in seven years.

Ambridge is 8-8 overall and finished play in Class AAA Section 1 with a 7-5 record. This is the first time since 2009 that Ambridge has finished with a section record of .500 or better. In 2009, Ambridge finished 12-8 overall, 9-3 in the section and made it to the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

Clairton’s Baseball Woes

Clairton football star Lamont Wade is playing baseball this spring. It’s just a little different with the Bears in baseball than football.

Here’s a statistic that shows the two sports are in different worlds: Wade played on a baseball team that allowed more runs in nine games than a football team allowed points in 14 games. Clairton’s baseball team is 0-9 and has allowed 139 runs. Clairton’s football team allowed only 138 points in 14 games.

Record Streak for Softball

Leechburg has qualified for the WPIAL softball playoffs for the 30th consecutive year. That sets a record in WPIAL softball.

The old streak was 29 years by Sto-Rox. The Vikings stopped their program for the past two years before restarting it this season.

Sto-Rox’s Woes

Speaking of Sto-Rox, the school started both the softball and baseball programs again this season after a two-year hiatus. The startup seasons have not been pretty.

The Sto-Rox softball team, once a WPIAL power under coach Bill Palermo, has an 0-12 record. That’s bad enough, but  the Vikings have been outscored this season, 228-2.

The baseball team has at least one victory, a 16-12 decision against Summit Academy. The Vikings have been outscored in baseball, 175-32.

Baldwin Invitational Friday Night

Many of the top track and field athletes in the WPIAL will get together tonight for the Baldwin Invitational at Baldwin High School. This is the 43rd year of the Baldwin meet, one of the largest invitationals in the country. More than 150 teams will be represented and more than 1,500 athletes will compete.

Two athletes who will attract attention are Knoch junior Jordan Geist and Connellsville discus thrower Madison Wiltrout. Geist has the best shot put mark in the country this season and one of the best marks ever in the country.

Wiltrout, meanwhile, set a national high school record in the javelin last year. But this is only her second time throwing this season after recovering from “Tommy John” surgery to her right elbow last summer after the PIAA championship meet.

The Baldwin event starts at 12:30 and finals in running events are scheduled to begin at 6:15.

Streaking Some More?

The WPIAL team track championships for boys and girls in all classes will be Monday at Baldwin. Two teams will be trying to put themselves in elite streaking company.

The Hempfield girls have won four Class AAA championships in a row. Since the WPIAL instituted the team playoff format in 1984, only one girls team has won five consecutive titles. North Allegheny won five from 2000-04.

On the boys side, the North Allegheny boys have won three championships in a row. Since the inception of team playoffs, the only other boys team to win four championship was … North Allegheny from 1993-96.

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