Westmoreland County high school notebook: Softball all-star game in the works

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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | 11:01 AM


An all-star game for the top senior softball players in the WPIAL is in the works.

Plum coach Phil DiLonardo came up with the idea, and three other coaches are helping to make the game a reality: Tom Sorce of Shaler, Jim Armstrong of Franklin Regional and Jenna Muncie from Avonworth.

The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 18 at Plum. DiLonardo said it will be called the Western PA Senior Softball All-Star game.

“I just thought it was time that softball recognized their seniors with a game like most other sports,” DiLonardo said. “We are currently working to finalize the rosters and hope to have them done shortly.”

State qualifiers

The PIAA baseball and softball playoffs will begin June 3.

WPIAL finals-bound Penn-Trafford is the only Westmoreland County team to qualify so far, but Franklin Regional has an elimination game at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday against West Allegheny at Washington & Jefferson for a Class 5A state berth.

In softball, Penn-Trafford and Latrobe are in the 5A field, and Ligonier Valley is a 2A qualifier.

Penn-Trafford and Latrobe will play a third-place game for seeding at 3 p.m. on Tuesday at Gateway, and Ligonier Valley takes on Avonworth at 5 on Tuesday at Gateway to settle third and fourth in 3A.

Ivy League likes Gribble

Two Ivy League women’s basketball programs extended playing opportunities to Greensburg Central Catholic sophomore Erica Gribble.

Penn and Harvard are interested in her game and academic pursuits. The Ivy League does not offer athletic scholarships.

Gribble averaged 19.4 points last season and topped 1,000 career points.

Much for Cutch

Southmoreland’s early exit in the WPIAL 3A softball playoffs brought an end to the high school career of standout shortstop Amarah McCutcheon.

The Cal (Pa.) commit set program records for career home runs (33) and RBIs (92).

A four-year contributor, McCutcheon hit .445 (106 for 228) with 16 doubles, six triples, 96 runs scored, 44 walks and 32 stolen bases.

Her OPS was 1.573 and her slugging percentage 1.021.

Munchinski honored

Latrobe assistant softball coach Dana Munchinski was selected as the “Pride of the Pirates” for WPIAL softball, an award she will receive July 22 at PNC Park.

Lacrosse stars

A number of county players were selected for the WPIAL all-section girls lacrosse teams.

Norwin’s Karlie Johnson and Ray Mamas made the Class 3A Section 1 first team, and Ava Wilson and Ava Kessler of Norwin and Heather Harshman of Hempfield were second teamers.

Sydney Valenta and Gia Fernandez of Norwin and Hempfield’s Angelina Reese and Olivia Eiseman made honorable mention.

Norwin’s Courtney Kloos was named the 3A Coach of the Year.

In Section 1-2A, Penn-Trafford had three first-team selections: Sophia Green, Annabelle Aquino, Ayla Moffa and Georgia Vislocky.

Also on the first team were Kate Lowe and Katelyn Patts of Franklin Regional and Bridget McHugh of Latrobe.

Penn-Trafford’s Gianna Botti and Adalyn Hawk, Catey Helm and Ingrid Varley of Franklin Regional, Jade Mazzoni of Greensburg Salem and Ryanne Lehman of Latrobe were on the second team.

Honorable mention picks were Maura Spadone of Penn-Trafford, Isabella Ioannou and Anna Ioannou of Franklin Regional, Erin Ulwicz and Tess Campbell of Latrobe and Greensburg Salem’s Jessica Kaufman.

Another local coach of the year is Penn-Trafford’s Rich Vislocky, who took home the honor in 2A.

Flag day

A Belle Vernon girls flag football player was selected to play in the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association Big 33 Tournament.

Caroline Lee will represent the Pittsburgh Steelers, who sponsor the fledgling district league for a sport that is in consideration for PIAA acceptance.

The flag tournament will be played before the Big 33 Classic on Sunday at Cumberland Valley.

Local co-op

Students at Heritage Baptist Academy, a small Christian school in Jeannette founded in 2003, will be allowed to play sports at Jeannette High School under an agreement approved Monday by the WPIAL board. Heritage Baptist is on Lowry Avenue near Jeannette McKee Elementary School.

The co-op between the schools will include football, baseball, softball, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer and boys and girls golf.

Householder wins scholarship

Burrell soccer player Andi Householder was the recipient of the 2024 Kaitlyn “Moe” Rosensteel Scholarship. A senior who will play at Pitt-Greensburg, Householder was awarded $2,000. Applicants submitted an essay for the scholarship, which goes to a WPIAL girls soccer player “who will be advancing into college to further her academic excellence while still playing the game she loves.”

Tre Cunningham tournament

The fourth annual Tre Cunningham Memorial Basketball Tournament will be June 20-22 at Jeannette. The event, presented by the Jeannette Educational Foundation, will feature 12 boys basketball teams.

Recruiting

Ahmad Ward has been a playmaker in the Derry backfield for the past few seasons. Now, the running back will take his talents to Seton Hill. As a senior, Ward ran for 1,279 yards and scored a team-high 15 touchdowns.

• Keiran Lippmann, a senior at Hempfield, will play college football in the PSAC at Lock Haven. Lippmann played quarterback, receiver and strong safety for the Spartans. As a senior, he threw for 649 yards and three touchdowns, rushed for 226 yards and four scores and caught 19 passes for 251 yards and four TDs. He led Hempfield with 79 tackles.

• Nate Papuga of Derry will continue his basketball career at Westmoreland County Community College. Papuga, a guard, scored more than 1,000 career points and averaged 23.9 as a senior.

• Derry’s Rebecca Huss will continue playing softball at Pitt-Greensburg.

Yough football player Shane Swope Jr. will continue his playing career at Saint Vincent. A senior, Swope is versatile, having played running back, wide receiver, outside linebacker and free safety in his prep career.

• Hempfield senior lacrosse player Thomas Stoves will play at Washington & Jefferson.

• Penn-Trafford softball player Erin Drotos, a senior first baseman, announced her commitment to IUP. Drotos helped the Warriors reach the WPIAL 5A semifinals and the PIAA playoffs.

• Ligonier Valley senior Noah Glunk will throw for the track and field team at Thiel.

• A pair of Franklin Regional bowlers, seniors Andrew Marcej and Luke Sunny, will compete at Westmoreland County Community College.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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