Westmoreland notebook: Big 5/6 Conference announces baseball, softball all-stars

Monday, May 30, 2022 | 5:25 PM

Westmoreland County athletes once again made their mark in the WPIAL’s two largest classifications this spring.

The Big 5/6 Conference, which covers Class 6A and 5A athletics, had its all-section banquet Wednesday and announced its top players in baseball and softball.

Section 2-6A baseball’s first team included senior infielder Joe Fiedor and senior outfielder Brandon Coughlin of Hempfield and seniors Jack Whalen (OF) and senior Jake Kendro (SS) of Norwin.

In Class 5A, Latrobe’s Matt Basciano was named the Section 1 Coach of the Year, and three of his players, junior Logan Bradish (IF), senior Chase Sickenberger (P) and senior Logan Short (C), made the first team.

Other first-team picks included Franklin Regional seniors Caden Smith (IF) and Ryan DalCanton (OF) and sophomore Owen Sinclair (DH).

Sophomore Jason Sabol of Penn-Trafford also made the first team.

On the softball side, first-year Hempfield coach Tina Madison was named the Section 2 Coach of the Year, and three of her players, freshman pitcher Riley Miller and sophomores Maggie Howard (OF) and Hannah Uhrinek (DH), were selected to the Section 2 first team.

Norwin junior Madie Kessler and sophomore Bailey Snowberger also made the first team.

Franklin Regional freshmen Ciara Camacho (IF) and Toryn Fulton (OF), and junior Madison Nguyen (DH) made the Section 1 first team in Class 5A, along with Kiski Area juniors Mackenzie Favero (IF) and Hannah Simpson (P).

The Section 2-5A first team featured seniors Mia Smith (P), Hannah Allen and Maddy Rapp (C), junior Mackenzie Keenan (DH) and (OF) freshman Cam Ponko (3B) of Penn-Trafford and senior Jenna Tallman (IF), sophomore Kayla Williams (P) and junior Sydney DeGram (OF) of Latrobe.

Penn-Trafford’s Denny Little was the section’s coach of the year.

State softball

Only Penn-Trafford and Greensburg Central Catholic have qualified for the PIAA softball playoffs from Westmoreland County — so far.

The Lady Warriors, who will play Armstrong for a WPIAL title at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Cal (Pa.), are in the Class 5A tournament.

GCC is set to take on the Class A bracket.

State times and sites have not been announced.

Two other local teams can get into the state tournament with wins Tuesday.

Southmoreland will play South Allegheny in the Class 3A third-place game, and Burrell goes against Montour for third in Class 4A.

The top three teams in each class qualify.

All-WPIAL volleyball

Two local senior players made the All-WPIAL boys volleyball team in Class 3A.

Norwin right-side hitter Kevin Skweres and middle hitter Chaz Ewer of Hempfield were first-team selections.

Sophomore libero Lucas Churchfield (Norwin), senior opposite-side hitter Sean Gordon (Hempfield) and junior setter Daniel Tarabrella (Penn-Trafford) made the second team.

GCC openings

A pair of head coaches resigned at Greensburg Central Catholic.

Baseball coach Tom Appleby stepped down after three years — two seasons — leading the Centurions.

There was no season in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Appleby, who coached the GCC softball team for 15 years, had a record of 22-13 and made the WPIAL playoffs twice, falling both years in the Class A quarterfinals.

Girls soccer coach Olivia Kruger, meantime, moved back to the eastern side of the state, so she resigned her position. Her husband, Zak, was not retained as women’s soccer coach at Seton Hill, which initiated the move.

Kruger was 34-3 in two seasons with one WPIAL title, a runner-up and two PIAA silver medals.

She had a baby on the day of last year’s WPIAL final and returned three games later to lead the team in the PIAA semifinals and final.

GCC athletic director Dan Mahoney said the interview process for girls soccer will begin next month.

Flow resigns

Jeannette is looking for a girls basketball coach after the resignation of Bill Flow, who guided the team for one season.

Flow, a Norwin graduate, wants to pursue other career interests.

Jeannette finished 0-19 and will begin the 2022-23 season looking to snap a 41-game losing streak.

All-section lacrosse

Penn-Trafford lacrosse posted its first playoff win in program history this season, and now the Warriors can collect some postseason accolades.

Carter Green was named to the All-WPIAL and All-Section 1-3A teams, and Bennett Dupilka and Declan Ochendowski also made all-section.

The Warriors’ Dave Alexander was named the Class 3A Assistant Coach of the Year.

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

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