By Ron Poniewasz Jr. and Andrew Petyak
NEW CASTLE —
The Neshannock High boys tennis tandem of Max Watters and Joe Bullano came up just short yesterday.
Watters and Bullano won two matches before falling in the semifinals and then in the consolation round in the WPIAL Section 2-AA Doubles Tournament at Pearson Park.
Watters and Bullano, seeded fourth, won a first-round match over a team from Beaver Falls, 10-2. The tandem then advanced to the semifinals with a 10-4 decision over a team from Riverside.
But the run came to an end in the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-1 loss to Clint Davies and Jonah Cooper of Blackhawk, the eventual champions.
Watters and Bullano lost in the consolation round against Ellwood City Lincoln’s tandem of Matt Barnes and Beau Ewing, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
“Watters and Bullano played really well,” Lancers coach Chuck Dess said. “They’ve never really played doubles this year.
“I thought they played really well. I think the experience of playing more matches will get us ready for the playoffs. They fought for every point and every game.”
Neshannock’s other entry, the team of Nick Hautala and Tyler Voland lost in the first round against a team from Riverside, 10-1.
The Wolverines’ team of Barnes and Ewing, who were seeded third, eliminated a team from Central Valley in the opening round, 10-0. They reached the semifinals with a 10-8 verdict over a squad from Blackhawk. But Barnes and Ewing were ousted by Beaver’s Connor Shallcross and Jimmy Cavato, the eventual runner-ups, 6-3, 6-3.
“We had chances against the Ellwood guys, but give them credit,” Dess said. “They came up with big shots at key times. We just couldn’t close it out.
“(Ellwood) is always scrapping and fighting for every point. Every point in doubles play is really intense; it wears on you. By the time it gets to the fourth match, it’s more mental than physical.”
The top three teams advance to the WPIAL Class AA Doubles Championship at 1 p.m. Monday at Keystone Oaks.
Neshannock returns to action at 3:30 p.m. today at Beaver Falls in section action. The Lancers will clinch a team playoff berth with a win. The team playoffs start May 6.
The Neshannock High softball team took a big step toward sewing up a section championship yesterday.
Madison Shaffer tossed a complete-game shutout, lifting the Lady Lancers to a 10-0 WPIAL Section 4-A road win over Shenango. The game was stopped after five innings because of the mercy rule.
The win forges a 2 1/2-game lead for Neshannock (10-0 section, 10-1 overall) over second-place South Side Beaver (7-2, 7-2) with four league games left for the Lady Lancers. It also ended the Lady Wildcats’ winning streak at four games.
Neshannock, the defending PIAA Class AA champion which dropped to single-A this year, is ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class A by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“Shenango got that big win over South Side last week. We impressed that upon the girls, that we have to play well,” Lady Lancers coach Tracy Kimmel said. “We’re going out to their place to play and we have to get geared up for it.
“I think the kids did get geared up for it. They really came ready to play.”
The Lady Lancers, who pounded out 15 hits as a team, scored two runs in the first, five in the third, two in the fourth and another tally in the fifth.
Alexandra Fischer and Rayanna Furst recorded three hits each for Neshannock. Fischer plated three markers as well.
Katie Burrelli and Marissa Kirkwood posted two hits and two RBIs each, while Madison Altmyer delivered a pair of hits.
“We hit the ball really well,” Kimmel said. “Most of the balls were hard hit. We expect to drive the ball and they’re starting to drive the ball.”
Madison Shaffer (10-1) got the win, working all five innings. Shaffer gave up three hits and no runs with a walk and 10 strikeouts.
“I was really happy with the pitching,” Kimmel said. “She pitched a good ballgame.”
Macy Rubin (9-6) took loss. Rubin gave up 14 hits and 10 runs — five earned — with no walks or strikeouts.
Shenango (7-3, 9-6) was limited to three hits.
“We made a lot of miscues. Things that don’t show up in the box score as errors, we made quite a few mental errors,” Lady Wildcats coach Amy Delaney said. “Things like not covering the bag, not throwing to the right base; not making the plays we need to make.
“We knew what our approach needed to be at the plate against Shaffer. We just didn’t make any adjustments.”
The bats were working for Union in a Section 4-A victory at Aliquippa.
Four Lady Scots tallied at least three RBIs each as the game ended after four innings because of the mercy rule.
“We really played well at the plate,” Union coach Gary Trimble said. “We hit some balls really hard and kept the offense moving.”
Lasha Clark notched four hits with a triple, five stolen bases and three RBIs. Skylar Thompson added four hits, three RBIs, and a double, while Hannah Booth contributed two hits and four RBIs. Gina Gaibis got in on the hit parade with three, including two doubles and two RBIs. Casey Brophy also drove in three runners.
Johnna Johnston (1-0) earned the win filling in for injured starter Ariel Junkin, going four innings, allowing two hits, no earned runs and striking out seven.
“I want to give her a lot of credit,” Trimble said. “She’s a ninth-grader. She hasn’t really pitched competitively before now. She kept the ball over the plate and pitched well.”
Ellwood City 10,
The Wolverines broke the game open with a seven-run sixth inning en route to a Section 5-AA win over the Lancers at Ewing Park.
Ellwood City (2-6, 3-10) notched 12 hits and didn’t commit an error.
“It’s seemed like we’ve had the plague here for quite a while,” Wolverines coach Jeff Fotia said. “I’m just happy to get a win.”
The Wolverines are the defending WPIAL Class AA champions, and the Lancers are the two-time defending WPIAL Class A champions, but climbed to double-A this year.
Dillon Horgan tossed a complete game to pick up the win. Horgan scattered six hits and allowed one earned run with three walks and seven strikeouts.
“We got a very good performance from Horgan,” Fotia said. “Horgan had everything working for him and he had good velocity.”
Seth Mley paced Ellwood with three hits, while Horgan, Zach Mathias, Joe Ioanilli and Jake Varrati contributed two each. Mathias drove in three runs. Horgan, Mley, Walsh and Ioanilli all plated a pair.
Ernie Burkes had two hits for Neshannock (5-3, 8-3).
The Scotties pounded out 14 hits in a Section 3-A road win over Aliquippa. The game was stopped after five innings because of the mercy rule.
“We’re hitting the ball better; we’re hitting it on the nose,” first-year Union coach Mark Stanley said. “We’re getting more consistency at the plate and hopefully that continues.”
Joe Salmen registered four hits for the Scotties and Kody Smith added three. Wayne Seamans and Markel Peace added two each. Salmen knocked in two runs and Peace drove in two.
“Joe stayed back on the ball,” Stanley said. “He got a couple swings there early. Even the one they got him out on, the ball was hit hard.”
Carrington Bell (1-2) earned the win, working five innings. He gave up four hits and five runs — two earned — with two walks and eight strikeouts.
Josh Dando was dandy on the hill for the Spartans in a Section 5-AA road win over Mohawk.
Dando (3-2) went the distance, giving up three hits, walking three and striking out eight. He added a pair of hits as well.
“Josh has been good all year for us,” Laurel coach Eric Verdi said. “He gives you an opportunity to win every time out.
“Josh has been contributing at the plate for us, too.”
The win extends Laurel’s win streak to five straight and into a second-place tie with Riverside (6-2, 9-3).
R.J. Stewart paced the Spartans with four hits and two RBIs. Jake Reese added two hits.
Bryant Croach took the loss. Croach worked four innings, allowing eight hits and four runs — one earned — with four walks and three strikeouts.
The Warriors are now 1-7, 1-8.
Beaver Falls 1
Shenango edged Beaver Falls in a Section 5-AA home victory.
Wildcats starter Tyler Booher (3-1) worked out of several jams through seven innings, scattering seven hits and one unearned run.
“Nearly every inning they had guys in scoring position and he was able to pitch out of it with a strikeout, groundball, or flyout,” Shenango coach Mike Othites said. “He did a nice job of pitching around those.”
The Tigers (1-7, 1-8) had runners in scoring position with one out or less in four of seven innings, only managing one run in the first on a passed ball.
“Tyler is what I consider to be my number one (starter). He mixes his pitches well. He just doesn’t walk people,” Othites said. “If you look at his line sometimes, you’d say he gives up a lot of hits. He just gets out of things. He’s very consistent in that.”
The Wildcats (4-4, 7-5) plated a pair in the fourth when Evan Kendall roped an RBI single, advancing Brent McCormick to third on the play. McCormick would come around to score on a double-steal attempt in which Kendall was thrown out at second. “We always have a read,” Othites said of the double steal. “That’s always a risk. If you think you can make it, you go. It worked.”
Shenango, which is on a three-game winning streak, is hoping that its string of two one-run wins against Sharon and Beaver Falls will pay dividends against the class of the section.
“I’m hoping being in these, that once it gets to the big boys of the section, we have the confidence to get through this,” Othites said.
Commodore Perry 2
Travis Brumbaugh led Wilmington on the mound in a District 10, Region 2-AA victory at Commodore Perry.
Brumbaugh (3-0) kept his perfect record intact, stifling the Panthers (3-4 region, 3-4 overall) to four hits through seven innings. He showed great control, striking out 11 Commodore Perry batters without walking any. Brumbaugh’s only runs against came off of fielding errors in the fifth.
The Greyhounds (5-2, 6-2) registered three runs in the first three innings, capped off by a two-run home run by Ryan Brumbaugh, who went 3 for 3 with a double and three RBIs. Davis Smith also performed at the plate, slapping two hits, including an RBI double. Travis Brumbaugh also contributed offensively with three runs and two hits.
“Travis, Ryan, and Davis have been very special players for us the entire year,” Wilmington coach Garett Malinak said.
New Castle 8,
New Castle found the right balance of offense and pitching in a nonsection home win over Knoch.
The ’Canes received a strong pitching effort from starter Sean Coyne (1-2), who went four innings and allowed just one hit and no runs.
“I wanted to get him some work because he’s going to throw again this week,” New Castle coach Paul Malley Jr. said. “He threw very well. He had some extra pop on his fastball and threw some other pitches for strikes. It was definitely his best performance of the year.”
On the offensive front, the ’Canes (4-7) offered eight runs of insurance powered by the bats of Vinny Jannetti and Julian Cox.
Jannetti lined a crucial three-run double in the fifth after the Knights (5-6) closed an early 3-0 New Castle advantage to a one-run game. Jannetti finished the contest 2 for 4 with two doubles and four RBIs. Cox went 3 for 4 with two doubles of his own. The win puts a halt to a four-game losing skid for the ’Canes.
“He’s our leadoff hitter,” Malley Jr. said of Jannetti. “The last several games, he’s been driving the ball, even in his outs. He came through for us with some timely hits.”
Ron Davis tallied three events as Shenango upended Beaver Falls, 85-59.
Davis paced the field in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and the 1600 relay.
Laurel takes two
The Spartans were too much for Shenango in a 92-58 victory.
Ethan Wilson and Matt Conway led the charge for Laurel, earning a win in three events each.
Wilson led the pack in the 1600, 3200 relay and the javelin, while Conway was unbeatable in the 100, 200 and 400 relay.
Ron Davis finished in the top spot in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and 1600 relay for the Wildcats.
In another meet, Laurel doubled up Beaver Falls in a 100-50 triumph.
James Steele and Ethan Wilson topped the pack in three events each. Steele outjumped the competition in the long jump and triple jump and helped the winning 400 relay squad. Wilson outran the pack in the 1600, 1600 relay and 3200 relay.
Mohawk won 15 of 18 events in a 127-23 decision over Ellwood City.
John Zagotti highlighted the Warriors’ effort with victory in the long jump, triple jump and 400 relay.
The Wolverines’ Keaton Docchio was the top performer in the 100 and 110 hurdles.
Neshannock struggled in a 110-32 defeat to Riverside.
Robbie Kroner, Ron Calvert and Zack Barnes were the lone victors for the Lancers. Kroner recorded victory in the 1600, Calvert the 3200 and Barnes the javelin throw.
Shenango takes two
The Lady Wildcats held off Laurel in a highly-contested battle, 75-74.
Three Shenango athletes carried the team to victory — Allie Cardella, Sarah Herb, and Allyssa Allwine.
Cardella took the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, while Herb was best in the discus and javelin. Allwine wrapped up the top mark in the high jump and triple jump.
Ashley Glasser earned victory in the 100, 200, 400 and 1600 relay for the Lady Spartans.
The Lady Wildcats notched another win with a 127-21 triumph over Beaver Falls.
Angelina Sibeto outran the pack in the 200, 400 and 1600 relay for Shenango. Cardella took the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and 1600 relay while Ashleigh Presnar placed first in the 800, 1600 relay and 3200 relay. Corie Palmer rounded out the Lady Wildcats effort with victory in the pole vault, 100 and 400 relay.
Ashley Glasser took four events as the Lady Spartans rolled past Beaver Falls, 129-16.
Glasser was unbeatable in the 100, 200, 400 and 3200 relay for Laurel. Brooke Dicks finished first in the 800, 1600 relay and 3200 relay, while sister Kristin Dicks excelled in winning the 1600, 1600 relay and 3200 relay.
Hailey Tammaro also placed first for the Lady Spartans in the 400 relay, 1600 relay and 3200 relay.
Wagner leads Mohawk
Breyona Wagner propelled the Lady Warriors to a 105-45 decision over Ellwood City.
Wagner earned victory in 1600, 3200 and 3200 relay.
Angela McCowin paced the field in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and high jump for the Lady Wolverines. She ended the season undefeated in the individual events she competed in during dual meets.
The Lady Lancers couldn’t keep up with Riverside in a 97-44 loss.
Sarah Davis led Neshannock with a win in the discus and shot put.