While I would love to give a preview about West Greene’s next PIAA softball tournament match-up, the timing of our printers has once again caused a story like that to not be an option.
However, if weather moves the Lady Pioneers’ game with Clarion back from its scheduled date on Thursday, here is a brief thought.
Clarion reminds me a lot of an old West Greene nemesis in Monessen.
The Lady Bobcats are far from a one-trick pony, but they rely heavily upon the services of junior pitcher Kaitlyn Constantino. Much like former Greyhound star and current Robert Morris No. 1 hurler Dana Vatakis, Constantino can take a game over, just as she did while striking out 15 batters in a District 9 true second-place game that got the Lady Bobcats into the state tournament.
Constantino was at it again when she shut out District 10 champion Commodore Perry in the first PIAA tourney game.
While the Lady Pioneers have never faced Constantino, they have faced dominant aces before. If the game hasn’t happened, it should be a great clash of styles between a squad that is the definition of a well-balanced, experienced TEAM vs. a star-centered group.
n Moving onto something that is not timely, but could be a huge story in the future, the next great Greene County wrestling superstar has already proved that he can go with the best in the nation. This past weekend, Waynesburg’s Mac Church came one win short of representing the United States at the Cadet World Freestyle Wrestling Championships later this summer in Bulgaria.
Church, who has only been competing in freestyle for a few years, made it to Sunday’s finals where he met Marc-Anthony McGowan, a Florida native who is enrolled at the unquestioned top high school program in the nation, Blair Academy in New Jersey. McGowan bested Church in the best 2-of-3 format, but Church could hold his head high as one of just three finalists from Pennsylvania.
Church, along with fellow soon-to-be ninth grader Rocco Welsh, should immediately join with 2019 freshman state medalist Cole Homet to create an imposing young core that may finally be the catalyst that vaults WCHS past Canon-McMillan as a section champion and a potential threat to the likes of Kiski Area for a WPIAL team crown.
n I tried to keep this entire column positive, but doggone it, I failed because I simply had to talk about the Pirates. For those of you who have managed to stomach my writing over the years, you may remember that I was a huge fan when the trade was made to bring Chris Archer to town.
Since then, he has barely performed like a No. 3 starter and has dealt with his share of injuries. While some have thrown the gaudy numbers being put up by Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows with the Rays, I chalk that up to a positive change of scenery and a coaching staff that was able to get the best out of Pittsburgh’s two former top prospects.
Also, Glasnow’s current injury is going to cost him a large part of the season. Meadows is hitting .357 with 12 home runs and 37 RBI as of Monday. However, it’s doubtful he would have the abundance of at-bats he enjoys in Florida with the Buccos, especially once Corey Dickerson returns to the lineup.
But, there’s been plenty of talking heads, myself included, voicing their support of the Pirates going after veteran pitching help once again. Lefty starter Dallas Keuchel and veteran backend reliever Craig Kimbrel are nowhere near the stars they used to be. However, both are still out there as free agents and both want paid.
The Pirates have the money and they have the need, thanks in large part to a ridiculous amount of injuries that include arguably their two most reliable starters in Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams, as well as last year’s breakout set up man Keone Kela.
The signings wouldn’t be financially prudent and have a fairly high probability of blowing up in the team’s face. But, with attendance dipping to numbers that would be considered lean 20 years ago, Pittsburgh has to do something to get butts back in the seats.