New Castle News

Sports

April 4, 2013

Spring Sports: A roundup of local action for April 4

NEW CASTLE — The Neshannock High baseball team is ready to play with the big boys.

The Lancers welcomed themselves back to the WPIAL Class AA ranks with a Section 5 win over visiting Ellwood City Lincoln, 8-6.

It was a battle of two WPIAL champions from a season ago. The Wolverines took home the Class AA crown and Neshannock won Class A gold.

 “Any time you’re playing Ellwood City, it’s a battle and it’s a game,” Lancers coach Mike Kirkwood said. “The last time we were in AA, we won the section outright. We’re trying to show our kids we can play with anybody.”

Neshannock (1-0 section, 4-0 overall) got on the scoreboard early with six runs through two innings. Ernie Burkes and John Conglose were key for the Lancers, getting on base three times each. Burkes was 2 for 3 with a walk and three stolen bases, including a steal of home to give the team a 5-0 lead, and Conglose was 1 for 2 with a triple, two walks and an RBI.

“You get John and Ernie on base, they’re fast. It’s nice,” Kirkwood said. “It kind of puts you in a good situation with that.”

The Wolverines (0-1, 0-4) got back into the game in the third with four runs, but were not able to overcome early-inning struggles.

“That’s a hostile place to play and we’re so young,” Ellwood coach Jeff Fotia said. “I thought as the game went on, we settled in better.”

Leaving runners on base was a theme for the Wolverines in the later innings as they stranded 11 total. In the sixth, Ellwood left the bases loaded and followed the next inning with two men left on base. Tony Joseph tallied two hits and two RBIs for the Wolverines.

“We just didn’t get done what we had to do,” Fotia said. “They never quit. They battled and stayed in there.”

Conglose (2-0) registered the win after pitching 3 2/3 innings and allowing four unearned runs and three hits.

“He’s such a competitor. One of my rules is if you can compete, you pitch for me. He’s working extremely hard and mixing up pitches well,” Kirkwood said. “It was hard for both sides to throw strikes. He showed us what he can do by really battling.”

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