Healy added to Raabe Classic roster


(photo by Pam Fischer / Reporter Argus)

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
Apr. 30, 2009

“If Bryce could spell his name another way it would be ‘T-E-A-M.’”

That brief quote from Port Allegany football coach Mike Bodamer is a perfect description of Bryce Healy, whose talent and commitment were recognized this week with his addition to the Pennsylvania roster for the 36th Annual Big 30 Don Raabe Charities Classic.

“Because of injuries that took place during the season, Bryce was called upon to play every position but offensive and defensive line,” Bodamer continued. “It’s not common that a player is the team’s leading passer and receiver. I know he sacrificed his personal stats by playing so many different positions, but to him, if that would help the team have a better chance of winning, it was worth it.”

The 5-11, 185-pound Healy began his senior season at running back, averaging over seven yards a carry in the opener against Curwensville, but moved to quarterback the following week when starter Camrin Stuckey was sidelined. His versatility was an asset to the Gators throughout the year, as the team captain willingly played wherever the coaches needed him each week. Healy even threw and caught a touchdown pass in the same game against Kane, a feat he noted as his “biggest thrill” on the form sent out by the Big 30 committee. His four touchdowns (two rushing, two receiving) tied for the team lead in 2008, and he also contributed an interception, two fumble recoveries, and nine games’ worth of steady tackling and veteran leadership on defense.

“If we could have kept him in one position it would have been split end. He ran good routes, had very good hands, and once he caught the ball it was difficult to bring him down. On defense he was in a more stable situation, playing primarily in the defensive backfield. Bryce was chosen by the coaching staff as the Player of the Year for the 2008 season because of his willingness to change positions and play each one with success. It would be a big advantage to a team if they could have a kid like Bryce every season,” Bodamer concluded.

A multi-sport athlete, Healy averaged 11.8 points per game to earn a spot on this year’s North Tier League All-Star First Team in basketball, and currently competes in both baseball and track. He’s equally proficient in the classroom; the National Honor Society member plans to attend the Pennsylvania State University and major in finance. Asked about his reasons for accepting the invitation to the game, he said, “It is an honor to be able to play with the best football players in the area, and a chance to play one last football game.”

The Don Raabe Charities Classic, formerly the Big 30 All-Star Game, is played between teams of graduated seniors from the high schools in New York and Pennsylvania which make up the seven-county Big 30 area. This year’s game will be played Saturday, Aug. 1, 2009 at Parkway Field in Bradford, Pa., with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. The first 35 games produced a total of over $1.2 million in donations; in the last two years, the Big 30 was able to reach out to an average of 55 charities and personal causes throughout the Twin Tiers.

Pictures and video clips from some previous Big 30 Games are available online at http://www.maxpreps.com and http://www.TwinTiers.us/Football.

PAHS spring sports roundup: 4/23/09

Gators split pair of NTL games

After holding off a late comeback attempt at Oswayo Valley to win 13-11 and run their season-opening streak to five games, the Port Allegany High School baseball team came back to Moose Park on Thursday for an early-season showdown against Coudersport, another North Tier League contender.

There, they ran into Bret Metzger. The Falcons’ ace stole the spotlight from the home team, coming within a single strike of pitching a no-hitter and crushing two home runs to straightaway center field in Coudy’s 12-0 victory.

“He was just outstanding,” said Coudersport coach Doug McClintic, whose team improved to 6-2 with the win. “He came out and rebounded us from our loss to Bradford. That was a tough loss, and we struggled with pitching. Buddy came out and just pounded the strike zone, and let us get going. And he comes up one hit short of a no-hitter, which is rare to see. I’ve never been that close to one before, playing or coaching. So that was a lot of fun to watch, and he deserves all the credit … He’s the leader of this team.”

Metzger, back for his senior season after missing 2008 with a knee injury, was determined not to let some early struggles at the plate affect his pitching.

“I just kept going and got in a groove, just kept striking people out and getting groundouts, and my defense helped me out,” he said. “Then eventually, to come up with the first home run … And I’m speechless for the second one. I feel like I’m finally in my groove again.”

After a scoreless first frame, Coudersport put two unearned runs on the board before breaking the game open in the fourth with three singles and Metzger’s first blast. Meanwhile, the Falcons righthander was in cruise control on the mound, striking out eight of the first 13 batters he faced and setting the Gators down in order in both the third and fourth innings.

Leading 6-0 heading into the fifth, the visitors took advantage of a pair of walks and a hit batsman to add to their lead before Metzger’s second homer ended the scoring. Coudy took the field for the bottom of the inning with the 10-run rule in effect and recorded the first two outs, including Metzger’s tenth strikeout, before Ryan Bodamer lined a clean single to center on a 2-2 pitch to break up the no-hitter.

“Obviously, you have to tip your hat to the kid,” Port coach Nate Zitnik said. “He’s definitely a very good pitcher for the area. I kept telling the guys, ‘You can’t help him out.’ He wasn’t really throwing his curveball for a strike, but his fastball was legit. We were trying to get the pitch count up, and we were doing all right with it, but then we kind of fell apart. You know, that’s a really good ball team. You have to give them credit.”

But while he was more than willing to compliment the Falcons, Zitnik admitted his own team didn’t play up to their potential.

“I think they kind of lost focus, and didn’t realize exactly what was going on,” he said. “It’s a 0-0 ballgame (after three innings) if we do the little things right. Going back to what we always said, if we do the little things right and execute, we win ballgames. I would have been happy with 0-0 going into the fourth and then see where it goes, but it kind of got away from us a little bit. Plus, we have a lot of young guys, and they were a little outclassed by his fastball. That’s something we’re going to have to work on and get better at.”

“I’m still standing behind my guys and I think we have a pretty solid ballteam,” he continued. “We just have to come back – keep pitching, keep hitting, keep playing defense. I wouldn’t trade them. If anything, this is going to teach them a little about adversity.”

Then, thinking back to the Oswayo Valley game earlier in the week – where the Green Wave sent the tying run to the plate after going into the seventh inning down 13-2 – Zitnik talked about another teaching moment for his young squad, now 5-1 on the season.

“The important thing is, I think, that there are lessons to be learned in every game,” he said. “Going back to that whole title fight thing, I told the guys, ‘Baseball’s timeless. You’re not going to get saved by the clock. You let someone hang around, they can knock you out.’ It’s nice that I can refer back to that, and they have it in their memories as well.”

He concluded, “They’re learning the game, and I’m very happy with their progress. We’ll take something from each of the wins and each of the losses, and we’ll go from there.”

Camrin Stuckey pitched into the sixth inning to earn the win over OV, and helped his own cause with a solo home run. Mark Larson, who led the Gator attack with a grand slam, also took the mound in the seventh to shut down the Green Wave comeback and earn the save.

Port is back in action for three games this week, with a trip to Smethport and a home game with Otto-Eldred preceding Friday’s 4:15 p.m. start against Bradford at Moose Park.

At Shinglehouse, 4/14:
PA 1 0 5 1 1 1 4 – 13 7 4
OV 0 0 0 1 0 1 9 – 11 7 6
Camrin Stuckey (6 SO, 2 BB), Brock Bricker (6) (3 BB), Mark Larson (7) (1 SO, 1 BB) and Josh Guerrero
Ryan Austin (7 SO, 7BB), Chris Krajewski (7) (3 BB) and Jake Jandrew
HR: Stuckey (PA), Larson (PA)

At Port Allegany, 4/16:
C 0 1 1 3 6 – 12 11 0
PA 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 1 2
Bret Metzger (10 SO, 1 BB) and Zach Buckler
Mark Larson (5 SO, 5 BB), Lucas Kline (5) and Josh Guerrero, Zach Sigafoes (5)
HR: Metzger (C) 2

Gators fall to Green Wave, Falcons

After winning its first game of the season against Cameron County on Apr. 8, the Gators softball team was unable to make it two in a row against Oswayo Valley last week, with the visiting Green Wave scoring early and often in a 21-4 victory.

“We just did not play well at all. We did very little correct in that game … it was just a very poor game on our part,” said Port High coach Dave Roae, who did note that Cora Bova went 2-for-3 with a triple in the game.

“Cora has some pop in her bat. She gets some really good at-bats for us. She’s getting some RBIs, and in three out of five games, she had an extra-base hit (two doubles and a triple). She’s probably our leading hitter right now, average-wise and in on-base percentage. She’s a full-time starter this year, and she’s done well,” he said.

The score was closer but the result was the same against undefeated Coudersport on Thursday, with the Falcons riding Kori McManus’ one-hitter to a 10-0 decision to improve to 7-0.

Despite the outcome, Roae did see some positive signs from his young team: “We lost 10-0. However, the girls came to play; they were into it. Sarah (Brodhun, who scattered five hits, struck out six, and allowed six walks) pitched a good game. Going into the third inning, it was nothing-nothing. They scored three in the third, and then Sarah started getting tired in the fifth. She pitched very well, we had just a couple of errors, and overall, we played a much better game than Tuesday,” he said.

While the fifth-year coach admits he’s a little perplexed by the team’s slow start, he’s also realistic about the caliber of competition they’ve faced. And the schedule doesn’t get any easier this week, with games against Smethport and Otto-Eldred before a trip to the Bolivar-Richburg tournament on Friday afternoon.

“We have the talent to be better than our (1-4) record,” Roae said. “We’re not playing up to our potential, and I’m not quite sure why that is … At this point, it is a little disappointing looking at our record, but we have faced some tough teams so far. I guess we’ll see how we do going forward.”

Track and field:
Boys beat Smethport; Evens quadruples against Hubs, places at Kane

The Port Allegany track teams finally got to run their first dual meet of the season last Thursday in Smethport. Behind triples from Denzel Middleton (110/300 hurdles,400 relay), Tyler Payne (1600, 3200, 3200 relay), Ben Osani (100, 200, 400 relay), and Josh Fox (400, 800, 1600 relay), the Gator boys dominated the competition, winning 14 of 18 events to cruise to a 118-32 victory.

The girls fell 85-65 to the Hubbers despite a quadruple by sophomore Bryanna Evens, who swept the sprints and ran a leg on the winning 400 relay team. Head coach George Riley also noted that Jessica French and Kelsey Payne each earned a spot at the District 9 meet with their performances.

“Jessica came in second in the 1600 run, behind Smethport’s Tracy Woodring, with a time of 5:57, which is district qualifying. Kelsey qualified in the high jump with a jump of 4’9″; she also finished second, behind April Alfieri of Smethport,” Riley wrote in an e-mail to the Reporter Argus.

On Saturday, the teams’ top athletes faced a different level of competition – including several Class AAA schools – at the Kane Invitational. Evens improved her district-qualifying time in the 400-meter dash, finishing fourth in 1:04.81. French qualified for districts in the 800 run with a time of 2:39.09, winning her heat and finishing 12th overall. While no boys medaled, Riley noted that several personal bests were recorded.

Both teams are slated for two meets this week, visiting Coudersport to face the Falcons and Oswayo Valley on Tuesday, then returning home to host Otto-Eldred at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday. And in a scheduling change, the Sheffield meet has been moved up a day; the Gators will now travel to Warren County on Apr. 29.

boys: Port A 118, Smethport 32
100: Osani (PA) :12.1, 200: Osani (PA) :24.7, 400: Fox (PA) :54.6, 800: Fox (PA) 2:18.9, 1600: Payne (PA) 5:05, 3200: Payne (PA) 11:17.3, 400 relay: Port A (Middleton, Woods, Mitchener, Osani) :47.9, 1600 relay: Port A (Greenman, Gustin, Willis, Fox) 3:56.1, 3200 relay: Port A (Kysor, Coxen, Roush, Payne) 9:19, 110 hurdles: Middleton (PA) :18.6, 300 hurdles: Middleton (PA) :46.3, long jump: Paulik (S) 17-2, triple jump: Nelson (S) 35-11 ½, high jump: Nellis (PA) 5-7, shot put: Isadore (S) 38-11, discus: Isadore (S) 109-4, pole vault: Tanner (PA) 10-0, javelin: Fabish (PA) 133-2.

girls: Smethport 85, Port A 65
100: Evens (PA) :13.5, 200: Evens (PA) :28.98, 400: Evens (PA) 1:06, 800: Woodring (S) 2:37.2, 1600: Woodring (S) 5:55, 3200: Raymond (S) 13:43.9, 400 relay: Port A (Drabert, Foster, Schena, Evens) :56.4, 1600 relay: Smethport (Stratton, Alfieri, Carlson, Woodring) 4:41.7, 3200 relay: Smethport (Stratton, Nannen, Carlson, Woodring) 11:18, 100 hurdles: Alfieri (S) :18.02, 300 hurdles: Alfieri (S) :52.3, long jump: Kelley (PA) 13-2, triple jump: Drabert (PA) 26-2, high jump: Alfieri (S) 4-11, shot put: Anderson (PA) 27 5 ¼, discus: Duffy (S) 82-5, pole vault: Hahn (S) 7-6, javelin: Duffy (S) 95-2.

PAHS spring sports roundup: 4/16/09

Baseball: Port Allegany 15, Cameron County 4

Heading into the bottom of the sixth inning with a nine-run lead at frigid Moose Park, Port Allegany baseball coach Nate Zitnik called seniors Bryce Healy and Mark Larson over for a short conference before sending Healy to the plate to lead off the inning. The centerfielder promptly smacked a ground-rule double to the deepest part of the field, and Larson quickly followed with a two-run shot over the left-field fence to end the game via the “mercy rule,” giving the Gators a 15-4 victory over visiting Cameron County on Thursday afternoon.

You told them to hurry up and get the game over with, right, Coach?

Zitnik chuckled at the not-quite-serious question, then said, “Actually, to tell you the truth, I told them to treat this kind of like a title fight. You might be ahead on the scorecard, but if you let anyone hang around long enough, it can come back to bite you. We talked, and we figured now would be a good time to end it, and it just worked out that way. I have to give these guys credit; they’ve been clutch all year. That’s something you don’t teach – they’ve grown into it. That’s something I think we were missing a little last year, and now we have it, so I’ve been very happy about that.”

Larson led a Gator attack that pounded out 12 hits against Red Raider pitching, finishing the game 3-for-5 with 4 RBI, and junior first baseman Lucas Kline brought in another run on a 2-for-2 day. Sophomore pitcher Camrin Stuckey went four innings to earn the win, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out seven, before giving way to junior J.D. Haskins (one strikeout, one walk) for the final two frames.

“Camrin has really developed into a great No. 2,” Zitnik said. “With him and Larson, coach Bienkowski and I really feel like we’ve got a nice, solid 1-2 punch. We’ve been extremely happy. Even on a cold day, too, and the guys played solid defense behind him. It was a great team effort.”

On that theme, he continued, “We contributed all the way around. It’s hard to pick one guy and say he did a nice job, because everyone contributed. You can’t ask for more than that as a coach.”

Although Zitnik is obviously pleased by his team’s 4-0 start to the season, with games against a hot Oswayo Valley squad and always-tough Coudersport on the slate this week, he knows it’s far too early to start thinking about the long-term outlook.

“I keep telling these guys, ‘Take it one game at a time,’” he said. “We’re approaching it as, you show up, you do the right things, do the little things, pay attention to detail and focus, and good things will happen. Hopefully we continue to do that. We’ll see.”

At Port Allegany, 4/8:
CC 0 1 0 0 3 0 – 4 5 4
PA 3 8 2 0 0 2 – 15 13 1
Dom Manginell (2 SO, 6 BB), Jordan Garrigan (3) (2 SO, 1 BB), and Vince Summers, Manginell (3)
Camrin Stuckey (6 SO, 2 BB), J.D. Haskins (5) (1 SO, 1 BB) and Josh Guerrero, Zach Sigafoes (5)
HR: Kyle McManigle (CC), Mark Larson (PA)

Softball: Port Allegany 10, Cameron County 8

Weather woes postponed two of three scheduled games last week, but the Gators were successful in the one contest they did play, notching an 10-8 victory at Cameron County on Thursday afternoon to improve their record to 1-2.

“The girls played a great game,” coach Dave Roae said. “We cut down on our errors, and had some very timely hitting. I think we had 11 or 12 hits, and scored 10 runs, so the girls got hits when we needed them. We hit up and down the order; it was really nice to see.”

Kyley Mickle (2-for-3), Cora Bova (2-for-5, with a double), and Kris-Ann Raymo (2-for-5) helped power the Gator offense, while Sara Brodhun and Becky Andrus combined to pitch a five-hitter for the win.

Mother Nature permitting, Port returned to the diamond on Edison Bates Drive for a Tuesday afternoon game against visiting Oswayo Valley, and will travel to Coudersport on Thursday for a scheduled 4:15 p.m. start. Makeup dates for the postponed Austin and Bradford games have not been set.

Track: Port boys take second, girls third at Twin Tiers Invitational

April snows wiped out the dual meet against Oswayo Valley scheduled for last Tuesday, so the Gators hit the track for the first time this season at the Twin Tiers Invitational on Thursday evening. Head coach George Riley was pleased with his team’s performance at the meet hosted by OV at the Bolivar-Richburg facilities, calling it a “really, really good showing.”

While distance runner Jessica French (1600, 3200) and sprinter Josh Fox (400) captured the only individual victories for Port, an abundance of top-three finishes kept both teams in contention for the overall titles. The boys finished a strong second, 12 points behind Northern Potter, which set two meet records on the way to the win. Cowanesque Valley and Smethport each scored 116 points, breaking six more meet records, to split top honors in the girls’ meet.

“Overall, depth made a big difference,” said Riley, who added that he only took a partial squad to the event. Based on the positive results, he said, “I think we’re looking forward to an enjoyable, fun season.”

Although the Gators will compete against Oswayo Valley when they travel to Coudersport next week, Riley would still like to make up the postponed meet – one of just three home dates on the schedule – to give both schools’ athletes another chance to qualify for districts. This week, the team travels to Smethport on Thursday, then heads south to the Kane Invitational on Saturday morning.

“We did get to do a little scouting on Smethport (at the Twin Tiers event), to see what they had,” Riley said. “I think we’ll do okay … Hopefully the weather will be nice, and we’ll have some quality times.”

Close to 30 teams are expected to compete in Kane, giving the Gators a chance to go up against some of the best athletes in this part of the state.

“I can’t wait to see Tyree Bennett run the hurdles,” Riley said of Bradford High’s state-ranked senior. “Not knocking my guy Denzel (Middleton), but he’s 10 seconds faster than Denzel, and Denzel’s pretty good. It’s going to be phenomenal to watch him compete … You’re going to see some quality athletes, get a chance to watch this guy warm up, watch what he does to prepare.

“I think some of our kids will do well,” he continued. “With Jessica, I think this is an opportunity for her to excel. She went out in front in all her races (at the Twin Tiers meet) – even in the relay, she was out in front, and in the mile and two-mile, she was out in front and no one could touch her. So it will be nice to see her going against some kids who will maybe push her a little bit. Fox, too; he jumped out in front in the 400. This one will be a pretty quick race, but I think he’ll do okay.”

Twin Tiers Invitational at Bolivar-Richburg, 4/9:
Boys: Northern Potter 124, Port Allegany 112, Oswayo Valley 83, Eisenhower 78, Otto-Eldred 75, Bolivar-Richburg 74, Cowanesque Valley 71, Smethport 36.

Results involving Port Allegany athletes:
200: Poole (BR) :24.33, Ben Osani (PA) :25.15, Adam Greenman (PA) :25.47
400: Josh Fox (PA) :54.60, Zack Erway (NP) 55.43, Andrew Morgan (NP) :56.88
3200: Steven Kibbe (NP) 10:40.82 (MR), Tyler Payne (PA) 11:07.12, Brady Robinson (BR) 11:09.70
400 relay: Otto-Eldred :47.68, Port A :48.97, Cowanesque Valley :49.38
1,600 relay: Northern Potter 3:47.29 (MR), Eisenhower 3:50.11, Port A 3:50.71
3,200 relay: Oswayo Valley 9:23.51, Port A 9:36.57, Smethport 9:39.11
110 hurdles: Mark Beckwith (O-E) :18.06, Phil Chambers (BR) :18.06, Denzel Middleton (PA) :18.72
300 hurdles: Max Solis (NP) :45.18, John Honhart (E) :45.26, Middleton (PA) :47.48
shot put: Jacob Lane (CV) 45-0 ¾ (MR), Isadore (S) 39-10 ¾, Paul Woods (PA) 39-3
discus: Lane (CV) 130-3, Chris Fabish (PA) 105-8 ½, Jacob Kady (CV) 103-0 ½

Girls: Cowanesque Valley 116, Smethport 116, Port Allegany 91, Eisenhower 77, Bolivar-Richburg 71, Otto-Eldred 66, Northern Potter 54, Oswayo Valley 50.

Results involving Port Allegany athletes:
200: Karen Eick (CV) :27.99, Rebecca Warriner (NP) :28.18, Bryanna Evens (PA):29.03
400: Orr (CV) 1:03.30, Warriner 1:04.18, Evens (PA) 1:05.54
800: Erin Perry (NP) 2:36.22, Tracy Woodring (S) 2:38.44, Jessica French (PA) 2:41.68
1,600: French (PA) 6:08.34, Hannah Pruch (BR) 6:09.79, Danielle Carlson (S) 6:17.62
3,200: French (PA) 13:53.19, Jacquie Raymond (S) 14:06.47, Natalya Nannen (S) 14:07.44
400 relay: Cowanesque Valley :54.61 (MR), Port A :57.29, Bolivar-Richburg :57.69
1,600 relay: Cowanesque Valley 4:35.67 (MR), Smethport 4:46.83, Port A 4:57.94
3,200 relay: Smethport 11:20.21 (MR), Bolivar-Richburg 11:50.60, Port A 11:56.13
100 hurdles: April Alfieri (S):17.92 (MR), Cassandra Chapman (E) :18.73, Emily Schena (PA) :19.10
300 hurdles: Chapman (E) :53.10, Schena (PA) :53.17, Cathrine Northup (CV) :55.39.
(MR = meet record.)

PAHS 2009 track and field preview

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
April 9, 2009

Trivia question: other than the wrestling team, which was the last Port Allegany High School sport to win a league championship? The correct answer is the boys’ track team, which completed the dual-meet portion of its 2008 schedule with a perfect 9-0 record to clinch the North Tier League title. The girls’ squad also had a successful season, finishing 7-2 and coming in second to perennial league champion Coudersport.

Head coach George Riley believes that this year’s high roster turnout can be attributed to that performance. “We’re in the seventies, which is 10 or 12 over last year,” Riley said. “Our junior high program is also growing. You see success, you draw more in.”

Does he expect to add another championship this season?

“Cameron County scares me,” he admitted. “They have some amazing sprinters, and they could do some damage. But they also have a coaching change, I believe, so who knows? On the girls’ side, I think Coudersport is the team to beat again. They have some excellent athletes with the Giannotti twins and some other girls … I don’t know if we have the ability to overtake them or not. I believe it will be between those two teams, Coudersport and Port.”

He continued, “Regarding the rest of the AML, I think our numbers will help us, because we’ll have three or four people in every event. If we don’t get first place, we’ll get second and third, and those end up helping.”

Riley expects big things from sprinter Bryanna Evans, who qualified for districts in the 400 last year as a freshman. “She can fly,” he said. And with Nikki Drabert finishing right behind her in most of those races, the Port mentor thinks he might just have co-number ones. “That’s going to be fun to watch,” he said.

But while the sprints appear to be a strong suit for the Gator girls, depth in the field events was weakened by graduation losses.

“Jenn Anderson is good, but after Jenn, there’s a falloff because they’re young,” Riley said. “And that takes technique and repetitions. We’ve been outside since the first day of practice, but the weather hasn’t been conducive to throwing … like today,” he said with a laugh, as a hard rain fell outside the gym doors.

Senior distance runner Jessica French, who competed in the PIAA cross country championships last fall, is another athlete to watch. “She had success in cross country, and I think she’s excited about what she can do in track,” said Riley, who will be assisted by Dan Eskesen, Scott Gerhart, Steve Frison, and Hunter Conway.

The boys’ team will be paced by a strong group of milers, led by Tyler Payne, Ken Kysor, and Jason Roush. Riley also expects his jumpers to do very well – and perhaps even break a school record or two along the way – with Greg Gustin and James Nellis the names to keep an eye on in those events.

Denzel Middleton (300 hurdles) and Josh Fox (400) both made the trip to districts last year, and could do the same in 2009. But while Riley feels he has adequate depth in both the sprints and the throwing events – “there’s strength in numbers,” he said – he’s still waiting for a “superstar” to emerge. Junior sprinter Cameron Lane might have been able to fill that role, but will miss the season as he continues to rehab a knee injury suffered during a football game last fall.

Weather permitting, the season gets underway this week, with a home meet against Oswayo Valley on Tuesday before the Gators head to Shinglehouse for the Twin Tiers Invitational on Thursday morning.

PAHS 2009 baseball preview

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
April 9, 2009

The Port Allegany High School baseball team got off to a torrid start in the first seven days of the 2009 season, averaging 10 runs per game while allowing just three in their 3-0 start. First-year head coach Nate Zitnik, who takes over the Gators from Bob Haskins after serving as an assistant in the program, couldn’t be more pleased with the early results.

“I told the guys I was happy with pitching, defense, offense – all the way around,” Zitnik said last Thursday, following a 15-3 four-inning win over Northern Potter. “We’ve got some tough games coming up, so it was good to get everyone some playing time. But we’re going to see what kind of team we have in the next couple of weeks.”

Zitnik is counting on senior Mark Larson, “a great pitcher,” to be his workhorse on the mound. Larson and sophomore Camrin Stuckey combined to fan 17 batters and allow just one hit in the team’s season-opening 8-1 victory at Otto-Eldred last Tuesday, and notched 10 more strikeouts against Kane on Monday to help push Port by the Wolves, the No. 3 seed in last year’s district playoffs, by a 7-5 final score.

The Gators’ rotation may go three deep, as Lucas Kline went the distance – allowing a single hit while striking out five – in the mercy-rule-shortened game against the Panthers. Zitnik was pleasantly surprised by Kline’s performance, noting that the junior hurler didn’t pitch many innings last season. “He was over the plate most of the day, which makes your job easier as a coach,” Zitnik said.

Multiple players are also contributing on offense, with returning lettermen Larson (2-2, 4 RBI vs. NoPo), Stuckey (5-for-8 in the last two games), Bryce Healy, Josh Guerrero (ground-rule double vs. Kane), Ryan Bodamer, and Seth Lowery (two doubles vs. NoPo) leading the way.

“We hit all the way through the lineup,” Zitnik noted following the Northern Potter game.

Next up: defending District 9 champion Cameron County, in a 4:15 p.m. Wednesday start at Moose Park.

“I’m excited to be the head coach and make the decisions,” Zitnik said. “As of right now, these guys are making it easy on me. They were great in the gym, as far as being motivated and coming in and working hard. We just have quality guys.

“So right now, I’m enjoying it,” he said before adding with a smile, “but talk to me at the end of the season, and we’ll see how things go.”

PAHS 2009 softball preview

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
April 9, 2009

As the 2009 high school softball season begins, fifth-year Port Allegany head coach Dave Roae hopes to improve on last year’s 5-14 record, but he expects some growing pains along the way.

“We need to replace five starters from last year’s team. We lost our pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, and left fielder. We had quite a few seniors last year, and we lost quite a bit of talent. So it’s a young team, but I think we can play and I think we can win,” he said.

Finding a good pitcher is at the top of Roae’s list, because the position is critically important in fast-pitch softball.

“Pitching is key. It’s the main focus of the game,” he said. “We have a young pitcher this year, Sara Brodhun. She’s a tenth-grader, and she throws the ball hard. Now we’re working with her to get some other pitches – you can throw the ball a hundred miles an hour, but if you don’t have a changeup, don’t have some other off-speed stuff, eventually they’ll catch up with you.”

Roae also lauded Brodhun’s play in the field, saying, “I’ve never had a pitcher get off the mound the way she does to cover bunts and play defense.”

The team may be young, but the Gators do return five players with some starting experience.

“We have a young core group of very athletic girls,” Roae said. “We’ve got a group of four juniors and three sophomores who are going to play together all this year and all next year. It’s nice that this group is going to play together for several years here. The four juniors – shortstop Shanel Halle, center fielder Kaitlyn Kio, third baseman Amarae Reinard, and catcher Brittany Drabert – all play the same sports. You see them all over the place, and they play together very well, and I’m glad I have them … the sky’s the limit for them.”

Those four, plus sophomores Kyley Mickle (second base) and Cora Bova (outfield), will be key contributors for a team Roae and assistant coach Dave Morey hope can contend for a playoff berth.

“Our record last year wasn’t representative of our talent,” Roae said. “We threw a couple of games away that we should have won, and a couple of things happened here and there … We should have been a better team last year.”

He continued, “I think realistically, if we play at our potential, we can be a .500 team, and that’s what we need to go to the playoffs. I think if we beat the teams we’re supposed to beat, and play a little bit better, that’s a realistic goal.”

However, that playoff push got off to a bumpy start last week with losses against two of the better teams in the newly-formed North Tier Division.

Otto-Eldred pitcher Taylor Thomas quieted the Gator bats in the season opener last Tuesday afternoon, a 12-0 Terrors victory at the Port High field on Edison Bates Drive. The junior righthander carried a perfect game into the bottom of the fifth inning before allowing a two-out walk to Kaitlyn Kio, then notched her ninth strikeout to complete the no-hitter.

“She pitched a really nice game,” Roae said, “and we didn’t hit to our potential. Not much else to say about that, except that they played a great game.”

O-E catcher Jordan Beckwith provided all the offense the Terrors would need in the top of the first inning, crushing a two-run homer to right-center; the junior slugger would finish the game 3-for-3 with 5 RBI. Up 3-0 after three innings, the visitors pushed across nine runs in the next two frames to invoke the 10-run rule.

“We definitely had some first-game jitters there, and seven errors don’t help,” Roae said.

The story was much the same in Ulysses on Thursday, with Kristin Potter’s first-inning home run and more Port fielding errors staking Northern Potter to an 11-3 win. The Gators dropped to 0-2 on the season despite managing 12 hits, including a double by Bova and a 3-for-4 performance by Shelby Gleason, against Panthers pitching.

Depending on the weather, Port has three chances to get on the winning track this week, with games scheduled at Austin (Monday), Cameron County (Wednesday), and Bradford (Thursday). Their next home game is slated for Apr. 14 against Oswayo Valley.

Josh Guerrero named to Big 30 Game

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
March 26, 2009

Two-time Allegheny Mountain League All-Star. Check.
Back-to-back selections to the Pennsylvania Football News All-State Teams. Check.
2007 Western PA Football All-West First Team, which included players from Class A all the way up through the largest Quad-A schools on this side of the state. Check.

Long before Josh Guerrero’s addition to last fall’s Olean Times Herald Big 30 All-Star Team guaranteed the Port Allegany High School star a roster spot in the 36th Annual Big 30 Don Raabe Charities Classic, anyone who saw him wreak havoc on opposing offenses from his middle linebacker position knew that an invitation to the game would be forthcoming.

Perhaps no one has watched Guerrero more often than Gators head coach Mike Bodamer, who was effusive in his praise of the four-year starter.

“Over my 17 years of coaching defense, Josh is one of the top five linebackers I’ve worked with,” Bodamer wrote in an e-mail to the Reporter Argus. “He did not have the speed that some linebackers have, but his ability to read a play and know where it was going made up for it. Many times it looked like Josh was blitzing but he was just reading the play that quick. He was very difficult to block because of his strength and when he hit someone, they knew it. The last two seasons he was ranked near the top in the state for tackles. It was a relief not having to worry too much about the inside run game with Josh being right there in the middle.”

The 6-0, 205-pound Guerrero, a team captain who shuttled between the line and tight end on offense, doesn’t confine his athletic skills to the football field. He recently concluded his fourth season on the Gators’ varsity basketball team, averaging 10.6 points per game and earning a spot on the North Tier League All-Star second team, and has also lettered in baseball in each of the last two years.

“I want to play in the Big 30 Game for many reasons,” Guerrero said. “One is that I have wanted to play in the game since I was in tenth grade, and football is my favorite sport and I excel in it each and every day.” He added that his biggest thrill while playing was making the varsity team as a freshman.

Smethport running back/linebacker Kyle Nobles and Elk County Catholic lineman Bobby Imbrogno were also named to the Pennsy squad this week.

The Don Raabe Charities Classic, formerly the Big 30 All-Star Game before being renamed for its founder, is played between teams of graduated seniors from the high schools in New York and Pennsylvania that make up the Big 30 area. This year’s edition is set for Saturday, Aug. 1, 2009 at Parkway Field in Bradford, Pa., with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. The first 35 games produced a total of over $1.2 million in donations; in the last two years, the Big 30 was able to reach out to an average of 55 charities and personal causes throughout the Twin Tiers.

The New York team is comprised of players from Allegany-Limestone, Archbishop Walsh, Bolivar-Richburg, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Cuba-Rushford, Ellicottville, Franklinville, Gowanda, Hinsdale, Olean, Pioneer, Portville, Randolph, Salamanca, Wellsville and West Valley.

The Pennsylvania team includes players from Bradford, Cameron County, Coudersport, Eisenhower, Elk County Catholic, Kane, Johnsonburg, Otto-Eldred, Port Allegany, Ridgway, Sheffield, Smethport, St. Marys, Warren and Youngsville.

Pictures and video clips from some previous Big 30 Games are available online at http://www.maxpreps.com and http://www.TwinTiers.us/Football.

Northwest Region Wrestling Championships

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
March 5, 2009

Port Allegany High School’s wrestling season officially ended at the Northwest Region Class AA tournament last Saturday, as no Gator grappler managed to secure a ticket to next weekend’s PIAA state championships in Hershey with a top-three finish. Then again, all of District 9 had a rough weekend at Sharon, with Ridgway’s Garet Pisani the sole individual champion and the Elkers, who dominated district competition again this year, managing only eighth place in the team standings. Nationally ranked Reynolds, the District 10 power which already owns the state duals championship, captured their eighth consecutive regional title.

Dylan Major’s attempt to repeat as a regional champion ended at the hands of District 10 champ Tim DeFrances (Commodore Perry) in the 189-pound semifinals, but not without controversy. Major (36-5) was leading in the third period when the referee signaled a pin for DeFrances at the 5:31 mark, a decision questioned by many observers. Grove City’s Nick Miller then defeated Major in the wrestlebacks, bringing the Gator senior’s glittering career to an end with 133 wins. Major is just the sixth member of Port High’s 100-win club, finishing second to Nick Nichols’ 168 on the school’s all-time list.

Battling injuries, both Chet Tanner (130 pounds, 31-5) and Zigmund Reichenbach (171, 26-15) also failed to place. However, the AML won’t be completely without representation in Hershey next weekend, as Coudersport’s Dirk Cowburn (3rd-152 pounds), Smethport seniors Tim Hubbard (3rd-125) and Jon-Marc Burdick (2nd-140), and Kane’s Ross Nicholson (2nd-215) all still have a shot at a state title.

Despite the disappointment of seeing the season conclude a week short of where he’d hoped it would, Port head coach Sean Lathrop is pleased with the results of his first year in the top job.

“Nobody really believed we had a chance to do anything this year – I mean, there were three teams in our league who were supposed to beat us – but the kids responded to challenge after challenge,” he said. “At the beginning of the year, we were young and inexperienced, but I thought we matured well.”

Lathrop will have a good group of wrestlers returning next season, including rising seniors Adam Greenman (29-9), Brandon Goodreau (18-14), and Koty Milford (19-13) and juniors-to-be Tanner, Ryan Kio (21-15), Brad Goodreau (7-5), Benn Baxter (7-9), and Zach Manning (17-12). But the loss of seniors Major, Reichenbach, Pat Lacher (9-24), Justin Lewis (15-10), and Damen Brodhun (22-17) – all team captains – will be felt.

“I’ll really miss them,” Lathrop said. “It’s going to be a shame to see them go.”

Class AA Regional Team Scoring:

Reynolds 106, Grove City 75, Commodore Perry 56, Greenville 52, Fort LeBoeuf 45, Harbor Creek 43, North East 42, Ridgway 36, Curwensville 31, Redbank Valley 31, Sharon 31, Smethport 28, Union City 24, Sharpsville 22, Hickory 20, Maplewood 20, Kane 16, Cochranton 15, Keystone 15, Jamestown 14, Coudersport 13, Saegertown 12, Brockway 10, Brookville 8, Fairview 7, Iroquois 7, Mercer 2, Johnsonburg 1, Northwestern 1, Port Allegany 1, Seneca 1, Sheffield 1, Cameron County 0, Eisenhower 0, Clarion –1.

District 9 Wrestling Championships

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
February 26, 2009

When the season began, Port Allegany wrestling coach Sean Lathrop wasn’t sure exactly what he had in his young team, but their performance at the District IX Class AA Championships last weekend in Clarion gave him a better idea. And with 13 of 14 wrestlers winning at least one match, five top-four finishers, three regional qualifiers, and a fourth-place team finish, he liked most of what he saw.

“Every one of the kids wrestled hard,” Lathrop said. “We were in most of the matches; that was the most important thing. It was a good way to end the year. Too bad we don’t have more people going to regionals, but we had three last year and three this year.”

Heading that list is senior Dylan Major, who repeated as a District IX champion and will try to add another Northwest Region title next weekend in Sharon. Major (35-3), who won his district and regional titles in the 215-pound weight class last season, is wrestling at 189 this year. He dominated the lighter weight in Clarion, pinning his first two opponents in under a minute each, then handing Coudersport’s Rich Keagle a 5-1 loss before duplicating that score against the No. 2 seed, Jacob Shields (Brookville), in the finals.

“That was probably the best I’ve seen him wrestle all year, as far as controlling matches,” Lathrop said.

A loss to eventual second-place finisher Kyle Jones of Keystone dropped fellow senior Zigmund Reichenbach into the wrestlebacks in the 171-pound class, where he faced a familiar foe, Smethport’s Kyle Nobles, in the consolation finals. The two wrestlers split a pair of close matches at the beginning of the month, with Nobles winning 3-1 in overtime at the District 9 team semifinals before Reichenbach (26-13) returned the favor with a 5-4 victory in Smethport five days later. This time, the Gator senior left no doubt about the outcome, earning a 7-2 decision, a third-place plaque, and a trip to regionals.

“It’s always tough to wrestle the same kid over and over again in a short period of time, so that was a big win for Zig,” Lathrop said.

Sophomore Chet Tanner (31-3), the third regional qualifier, defeated Zach Baughman (Keystone) 7-1 in the consolation finals to earn his way to Sharon.

Two other Gator wrestlers, junior Adam Greenman (29-9) and sophomore Brad Goodreau (8-5), just barely missed making the top three. Greenman’s loss was a “heartbreaker,” according to Lathrop – the 160-pounder seemed to be in control of his third-place match against Cameron County’s Mike Baker, a returning regional qualifier, until a last-second reversal gave the Red Raider senior a 5-3 win. After an early loss to Preston Mahoney (Johnsonburg), Goodreau battled through the wrestlebacks at 140, only to face the Rams junior again in the deciding match.

Three other Allegheny Mountain League wrestlers successfully defended their district titles. The 2008 PIAA Class AA state champion at 152 pounds, Coudersport junior Dirk Cowburn, earned the Outstanding Wrestler award for his dominating performance, and Smethport Hubber stars Tim Hubbard (125) and Jon Marc Burdick (140) also returned to the top spot on the podium.

The top three finishers in each weight class move on to the PIAA Northwest Regional championships and will be in action again this Friday and Saturday at the Sharon High School gym in Sharon, Pa., with the top three finishers there advancing to the PIAA state championships in Hershey on Mar. 5-7.

District IX Class AA Championship Finals:
103 Bauer (Cl) dec Constable (Bkv) 7-2 OT
112 Smith (Bkv) dec Caggiano (Rdg) 4-2 OT
119 Brothers (Cur) dec McCauley (RV) 3-0
125 Hubbard (Sm) dec McCauley (RV) 6-3
130 Pisani (Rdg) dec Zimmerman (Bkv) 7-0
135 McCauley (RV) dec Dombrowski (Bkv) 3-1 OT
140 Burdick (Sm) dec Licatovich (Bkw) 6-2
145 Thomas (Cur) dec Hartless (Bkw) 6-1
152 Cowburn (Coud) dec Woodford (J) 9-4
160 Zelcs (Rdg) dec Switzer (Key) 1-0
171 Shirey (RV) md Jones (Key) 18-8
189 Major (PA) dec Shields (Bkv) 5-1
215 Nicholson (K) dec Yahner (Bkw) 5-2
285 Chittester (Rdg) dec Bowser (RV) 3-0

AA Consolation Finals:
103 Bush (Rdg) fall Koptchak (Cur) 3:41
112 Wolfe (J) dec Keller (Cur) 3-1
119 Grecco (Bkw) dec O’Rourke (J) 2-1
125 Slattery (Rdg) dec Zimmerman (J) 3-1 OT
130 Tanner (PA) dec Baughman (Key) 7-1
135 Hannold (Key) dec Bauer (Cl) 4-3
140 Mahoney (J) md Goodreau (PA) 17-5
145 Haines (RV) dec Dornish (Rdg) 7-0
152 Skraba (Rdg) dec Ferringer (Cran) 6-3
160 Baker (CC) dec Greenman (PA) 5-3
171 Reichenbach (PA) dec Nobles (Sm) 7-2
189 Kreitzer (Sm) dec Puhala (Bkw) 3-1 OT
215 Hahn (Shef) fall Thompson (Rdg) 4:00
285 Divins (Cl) dec Russell (Cur) 3-2 SV Rideout

AA Team Scoring: Ridgway 170, Redbank Valley 137, Brookville 124, Port Allegany 107, Curwensville 106, Smethport 93, Brockway 90, Keystone 83, Johnsonburg 80, Clarion 72, Coudersport 52, Cranberry 36, Cameron County 29, Kane 29, Sheffield 24, Oswayo Valley 8

District 9 basketball playoffs: Union 65, Port A 44

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
February 26, 2009

When the District 9 boys’ basketball playoff pairings were released, last Wednesday night’s game between seventh-seeded Port Allegany and No. 10 Union promised an intriguing contrast between the Knights’ fast-paced, high-scoring offense, led by 1,000-point scorer Scott Booth, and a stout Gator defense allowing a district-low 42.4 points per game.

As it turned out, an old adage was proven true: speed kills. Despite a relatively quiet night for Booth, who picked up his third foul early in the second quarter and sat out the rest of the half, the Knights lit up the scoreboard in the Port High gym en route to a 65-44 upset, earning a rematch with KSAC North Division foe Keystone in Friday’s quarterfinals.

“I knew coming in that they really get the ball up and down the floor, and it was going to be a key for us to be able to get back and be able to get out defense set up. Their speed was just a little too much for us,” Port coach Bob Raudenbush admitted afterward.

The visitors caused several early Port turnovers, taking advantage of them to open up a quick 10-2 lead halfway through the first quarter and force a quick timeout by Raudenbush. The Gators settled down after that, cutting the Union advantage to 17-12 on Greg Gustin’s driving layup just before the end of the first quarter.

Part of Port’s game plan was to take the ball right at Booth and try to get him in foul trouble, and it worked, as the junior guard/forward went to the bench just 1:04 into the second period. But the Gators missed both free throws – a common occurrence, as the team shot 0-for-6 early on and finished the game 2-for-10 at the line. And at the other end, the Union offense didn’t seem to miss a beat without their star player, extending the lead to 32-20 at the half.

“We have some good players, but when Scott’s in there, they look for him more. When he’s not in there, someone else has to shoot it. Not that I want Scott on the bench, but when he is on the bench, I think it actually helps our team at times. It gives us more confidence, makes the kids feel more secure with themselves,” Union coach Karen Davis said.

The third quarter belonged to Knights guard Zach Smith, who scored 10 of his game-high 19 points in the period.

“He had a great third quarter. Every time he shot the ball, it didn’t look like it was going to get there – I kept yelling, ‘Short!’ and it went swish. He played an excellent game. He’s a good little shooter, and he’s quick. Sometimes he gets mad because I tell him not to pass the ball as much as he does, because he does have a nice shot,” Davis said.

The Gators kept working hard, but with Union’s 2-1-2 defense cutting off their normal dribble-and-drive moves on the baseline, they struggled to score. Co-captains Bryce Healy and Josh Guerrero paced the team with 14 points apiece and Gustin chipped in with 12, the three senior starters ending their careers by scoring all but four of Port’s 44-point total. Healy added 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals to notch the final double-double of his high school career.

“They did a good job packing their zone in and taking away our size,” Raudenbush said. “They gave us perimeter shots, but we just didn’t make them. That’s not our game. We’re not a three-point shooting team – this was probably by far the most three-point shots we took all year – but that’s what they gave us. Either force it in there, and if it’s not there, you’re just turning it over. So we took what they gave us, but unfortunately, we just weren’t making shots and they were pushing it up on defense. That’s a good recipe for a win on their part.”

Union led by 15 points after three, and when they pushed the margin to 20 midway through the fourth quarter, Raudenbush knew his team was in trouble.

“We don’t really score a lot of points; our defense keeps us in games, and that’s what wins games for us. When we get behind by double figures, it’s tough for us to come back,” he said.

Then, switching his focus to Union, he added, “They have a good squad; they’re real quick, and handle the ball well … Give credit where credit’s due. They played a great game, and that’s why they’re moving on.”

He concluded, “We still had a good season. I told the kids in the locker room, we were in most of the losses. We could have had a great season with a couple of breaks.”

Union (65)
Smith 8 0-0 19, Anthony 2 3-3 7, Mortimer 2 5-10 10, Scott 3 2-6 8, Booth 6 3-4 16, Pollock 2 0-0 5. Totals: 23 13-23 65.
Port Allegany (44)
Middleton 0 0-0 0, Gustin 6 0-3 12, Healy 6 1-4 14, Kline 1 0-0 2, Guerrero 6 1-3 14, Gleason 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 2-10 44.
Union 17 32 52 65
Port A 12 20 37 44
Three-point goals: Union 6 (Smith 3, Pollock, Booth), Port 2 (Healy, Guerrero). Total fouls: Union 10, Port 16. Fouled out: Healy.