Westmoreland high school notebook: Franklin Regional baseball pursues 1st section title in 13 seasons

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Sunday, April 28, 2019 | 4:52 PM


Bobby Saddler sees winning a section title as a reward for his Franklin Regional baseball players, who have put in the time during what has become a year-round venture.

“Fall baseball, strength and speed training, winter workouts, whatever the case,” Saddler said, “To win a section title shows the dedication, effort and perseverance of the guys on this team. The boys have worked so hard over the course of their high school careers.”

While there is work to be done — the Panthers (10-1, 7-0) are just a half-game up on Gateway (10-4, 7-1) in Section 1-5A — a section title would be a long time coming. Franklin Regional has not won a section since 2006.

“That this is something that the boys will share for years to come,” Saddler said.

The Panthers, ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, are one of five Westmoreland baseball teams chasing championships.

Penn-Trafford (12-1, 5-1), the Trib’s new No. 1 team in Class 6A, is in position to win its first section title since 2007. The Warriors have opened a 112-game lead in Section 2-6A.

Greensburg Salem (9-2, 5-2) is a game behind Yough (8-4, 6-1) in Section 1-4A. The Golden Lions have not received a section plaque since 2012. Yough, led by Pitt recruit Jarett Bach, last won a section in 2016.

Yough is No. 2 in Class 4A, and Greensburg Salem is No. 5. The teams play Wednesday at Greensburg Salem.

And don’t forget about red-hot Ligonier Valley. The Rams (11-0, 9-0) are closing in on their first Heritage Conference title since 2012.

Gretz to ‘Nova

Greensburg Central Catholic freshman soccer standout Tatum Gretz has played just one season of high school soccer, but she already knows where she will play in college.

Gretz, a 30-goal scorer last season, recently committed to Villanova, where she believes she can play right away. The midfielder also had interest from North Carolina, East Carolina, Bucknell and West Virginia.

She called Villanova “the right fit.”

“The coaching staff is outstanding and made me feel like I was part of the program already,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to putting all my efforts into this great program.”

Gretz might be young, but she appreciates the fact not all prospects can accept a scholarship so soon. She said a large circle of support gave her confidence to make a choice now.

“Committing early is a special treat for my family and myself,” she said. “There was a lot of hard work from myself and my family.”

She also pointed to the Riverhounds Academy, for which she has played since age 7.

“I couldn’t have done this without the help and support of the Riverhounds and my coach, Jason Kutney. It’s a relief, but now I’m setting new goals on what I want to accomplish not only as a freshman but as student-athlete.”

Durmis takes to W&M

Norwin sophomore Anna Durmis had plenty of interest from colleges for soccer, with schools recruiting her from more than a half-dozen Division I conferences.

But the midfielder went with William & Mary, committing late last week.

“From the time I first visited, I fell in love with the school, players and the coaches,” Durmis said. “It is a top academic institution, has been rated as the No. 5 most beautiful campus and added coach (Julie) Shackford as head coach in 2018.

“Not being too far from the beach was just icing on the cake.”

This and that

Monessen baseball coach Billy Matush recorded his 100th win when the Greyhounds defeated Mapletown, 13-3. He has been coach for 16 years. …Penn-Trafford senior Dani Ochendowski signed to continue her field hockey career at Mercyhurst. She helped the Warriors win three straight WPIAL titles. … The WPIAL softball season ends May 7 and baseball May 9. … The WPIAL track and field team championships will be May 6 at Peters Township. The individual championships (May 16) have a new venue: Slippery Rock.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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