Westmoreland high school notebook: WCCA football showcase returns in May

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Saturday, April 20, 2019 | 6:16 PM


The Westmoreland County Coaches Association will host its seventh annual Underclassmen Football Showcase 9 a.m. May 11 at Hempfield’s Spartan Stadium.

The event has grown exponentially since it’s start.

“For a lot of kids, this is their first taste of college recruiting,” WCCA president Larry Sellitto said. “You look at kids like (Hempfield’s) Justin Sliwoski and (Franklin Regional’s) Colin Jonov. They both attended the showcase and went on to college ball. It’s a real benefit to the kids.”

Sliwoski is a walk-on quarterback at Pitt. Jonov played a year at Pitt as a walk-on after playing at Bucknell.

The showcase focuses on top rising sophomore and junior players, who will work out and run through drills in front of college coaches. Last year, 72 college coaches from 56 programs attended to check out an event-best 124 athletes. Colleges range from FCS to the Division III level.

Sellitto sends showcase results to Division I FBS coaches who are not permitted to scout recruits at that time of year.

“We’ve sent them to Pitt, Terry Smith up at Penn State, Rutgers, Temple … several places,” Sellitto said.

Schools from around the WPIAL have sent players, Sellitto said, including East Allegheny, Sto-Rox and Elizabeth Forward. The Kiski School plans to attend this year.

The WCCA has not placed a limit on the number of attendees.

Cost is $50 per player. Contact: Sellitto, 412-491-1212.

Nothing to lose

Eight WPIAL softball teams took perfect records into Friday. Two are from Westmoreland County: Penn-Trafford and Mt. Pleasant are 10-0.

The others are Avonworth (13-0), Bethel Park (9-0), Hampton (9-0), Knoch (8-0), Leechburg (8-0), and Vincentian (7-0).

Ligonier Valley is the last Westmoreland baseball team with a perfect record. The Rams took a 9-0 mark into Easter weekend.

Vincentian is the only WPIAL baseball team without a loss (5-0).

Ligonier Valley softball also is unbeaten, at 8-0.

Long bombers

Southmoreland softball has a knack for hitting home runs. The Scotties, after belting four homers in an 11-9 win over South Allegheny, have 18 homers this season, a program record. The previous mark was 14.

Lexi Klatt hit a grand slam, and Charity Henderson added a three-run blast against South Allegheny.

“We had the home run cycle,” coach Todd Bunner said. “Solo, two-run, three-run and grand slam. I’m impressed for sure, but they all swing hard, and when they barrel up the ball, home runs happen.”

Klatt, Henderson and Jess Matheny lead the team with four homers apiece. Faith Miller has three, Tyson Martin two and Abby Fullem one.

“Honestly, it’s been pretty spectacular,” Klatt said. “We’ve been smashing the ball like never before. We’ve been having better pitch selection and recognition. Plus, the experience from last year really helps us.”

Yough cancer game

The Yough softball team will have another Strike Out Cancer game May 8 when the Cougars host Frazier in Herminie.

The “color war” game will rely on T-shirt sales, the proceeds of which will go to the Mario Lemieux Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money for cancer research and provides children’s playrooms in medical facilities.

The competition lies in the the T-shirt sales: Which team can sell more? Yough will wear green shirts and Frazier red.

Last year, Yough coach Dutch Harvey said players sought pledges for their performance in the game, for hits, steals, etc. The team routinely has raised $1,000 or more each year of the cancer game.

County track

The Westmoreland County Coaches Association Track and Field Championships return Saturday to Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium. It will be the 97th annual boys meet and the 40th year for the girls.

Returning champions from 2018 include Greensburg Salem’s Cam Binda (1,600-, 3,200-meter runs) and Malia Anderson (800), Norwin’s Jessica Kolesar (long jump, 400-meter run), Makenna Orie of Hempfield (shot put, discus), Penn-Trafford’s Reaghan Panza (javelin) and Hunter Martin of Belle Vernon (110-meter hurdles, long jump).

The Hempfield boys team will go for its ninth straight title and 29th overall. The Norwin girls won last year for their 11th county title.

Martin was the boys combined MVP, and Kolesar won the award for the girls.

Recruiting scene

Ligonier Valley junior Christian Jablonski added his second Division I football offer, from Fordham. Jablonski is a 6-foot-5, 260-pound offensive tackle and defensive end. His other offer is from Cornell.

• Norwin senior baseball player Owen Sabol has switched his college commitment. Instead of going to Seton Hill, he will head to Penn State Greater Allegheny.

Scholar-athlete winners

Each year, the WPIAL awards $1,000 scholarships to 20 students — 10 girls, 10 boys — who are deemed scholar-athletes.

Girls winners: Blackhawk’s Mady Aulbach, Freeport’s Allison DeJidas, Fox Chapel’s Marisa Hardiman, West Greene’s Madison Lampe, Shady Side Academy’s Mary Lau, Hampton’s Anastasia Russ, Butler’s Elizabeth Simms, Beaver County Christian’s Margaret Townsend, South Fayette’s Helina Vanbibber and Ringgold’s Anna Vogt.

Boys winners: Carmichaels’ Matthew Barrish, Greensburg Salem’s Cameron Binda, Indiana’s Joseph Bujdos, Derry’s Dominic Deluca, Hopewell’s Connor Forrest, Shady Side Academy’s Nicholas Lauer, Waynsburg’s Daniel Layton, Gateway’s Brendan Mojocha, Seneca Valley’s Jake Stebbins and Springdale’s Mike Zolnierczyk.

The group will be honored May 13 during a luncheon at the DoubleTree Hotel in Green Tree.

BVA scholarships

Three Belle Vernon athletes were awarded $2,500 scholarships from the Donald Asmonga Foundation during the school’s annual senior awards banquet Sunday at Georgetown Centre in Pleasant Hills.

“Mighty Leopards” award winners were soccer players Markello Apodiakos and Aaron Brown and softball player Jordan French.

The foundation has awarded nearly $25,000 in scholarships in five years. Asmonga was a legendary basketball and baseball coach who died in 2014.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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