PAHS track: District 9 meet

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 21, 2009

While no Port Allegany athletes qualified for states at the District 9 Championships Friday afternoon in Kane, it certainly wasn’t for lack of effort, as several recorded new personal bests at the meet.

Emily Schena led the way with a fifth-place finish in the girls’ 300-meter hurdles, winning her heat with a time of :50.99. Keystone junior Samantha Schwabenbauer won the district title in the event, running the race in :48.05 on her way to capturing the Jim Manners Award given to the meet’s top athlete.

Bryanna Evens qualified in all three sprints, running the 200 and 400-meter dashes. The sophomore placed sixth in the 400 – lowering her best time to 1:03.22 – behind Clarion’s Skyler Ganoe, who broke the tape in :59.87, and finished seventh in the 200.

“(Bryanna) ran her best race; those kids are just superfast. When you’ve got kids running sub-minute 400s, that’s pretty good,” Gators coach George Riley said.

Distance runner Jessica French also qualified in three events. She chose to run in the 800 and 1600-meter races, improving on her best time in the mile by finishing sixth in 5:44.32 behind Kane’s Dani Kojancic, who defended her district title with a winning time of 5:15.41.

French also placed eighth in the 800, and freshman Kelsey Payne did the same in the high jump.

On the boys’ side, the 400-meter relay team came in eighth, James Nellis placed 10th in the high jump, Chris Fabish finished 17th in the discus, and Ben Osani was 18th in the javelin.

“It was a great experience for those guys,” Riley said. “The kids who went down there are excited, and the ones who will be back are excited for next year. I think we’ll be better for it.”

With the season officially over for his teams, the Port coach reflected on another successful campaign.

“I said all year that I didn’t have any superstars,” Riley admitted, “but I’ve got good kids who win races, and we have depth. You look around at our league, and Smethport, Oswayo Valley, and Northern Potter all have kids going to states … We didn’t have those kids, but we did well as a team.”

PAHS baseball: Gators, Hubs split doubleheader

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 21, 2009

Rain washed out the first Port Allegany – Smethport baseball game back in April, and delayed the second attempt long enough to force a suspension due to darkness after four innings, with the teams agreeing to resume the game as part of a doubleheader last Wednesday at Moose Park.

As it turned out, the weather wasn’t much better this time, but the matchup was worth waiting for.

Trailing by a run heading into the home half of the seventh, the Hubbers tied the score to send the game into extra innings and staved off defeat again in the eighth before pulling out a thrilling 11-10, 11-inning victory. The Gators recovered to take the second game by a 7-5 score, a win which secured the No. 4 seed and the final bye in this week’s District 9 playoffs.

After Port took an 8-7 lead in the top of the seventh on Seth Lowery’s steal of home and Bryce Healy’s RBI single to bring in Camrin Stuckey, Smethport manufactured their game-tying run without a hit. Jarrod Hughes drew a leadoff walk, moved up on a throwing error, and came in to score on Scott Stratton’s grounder to short. The Gators made another bid to win it in the eighth, using four consecutive singles by Chad Barnard, Lowery, Stuckey, and Healy to take a 10-8 lead, but again, the Hubs rallied to tie on Kyle Doutt’s sacrifice fly to right field.

“These kids never quit. They’ve been doing it for me all year,” Smethport coach Rick Austin said afterward.

It was his team’s turn to threaten in the ninth, loading the bases before Gators shortstop Mark Larson recorded the final out of the inning. Smethport finally ended the stalemate in the bottom of the 11th, when Stratton’s bloop single dropped into short right field, sending Al Myers home with the winning run. Doutt recorded the complete-game victory, striking out seven and walking nine, while Stuckey took his first loss of the season despite hurling 14 strikeouts.

“There were definitely some opportunities I’d like to get back,” Port coach Nate Zitnik said, “but that’s kind of the way it works out sometimes.”

The nightcap began with a steady wind continuing to blow in from left field, stirring up the infield dirt and making fly balls an adventure. Sophomore Brock Bricker took the mound for the Gators and Doutt returned for Smethport, although the length of the first game would force the Hubbers ace to leave after facing the first eight batters.

The two teams battled through three scoreless innings before the Gators broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth, sending 10 men to the plate and putting five runs on the board. Larson reached first after being hit by a pitch, moved over on Lucas Kline’s well-executed sacrifice bunt, and scored on Guerrero’s single to center field. Following a walk to Barnard, Bricker helped his own cause by driving a single to left, bringing in pinch-runner Charlie Buchanan. The big inning continued as Garrett Kio’s grounder plated Barnard, and Kio and pinch-runner Ryan Bodamer completed the scoring on Stuckey’s fly ball that dropped in front of the Hubbers center fielder.

The Hubs countered with four of their own in the top of the fifth, but Barnard’s two-run single to left in the bottom of the inning gave the Gators a 7-4 cushion. With daylight fading, Smethport made one last stand in the sixth, loading the bases with no outs and pushing across another run. But with two down, J.D. Haskins on in relief, and the potential go-ahead run at first, Larson corralled Doutt’s grounder to short and fired a strike to Kline at first for the final out.

As darkness fell, both coaches were happy to come away with a win.

“Any time you go into a doubleheader situation, you try to get the split,” Zitnick said.

“I’m not disappointed. A couple of things didn’t go our way, but it was two great games, and the crowd didn’t have to pay to get in. Best money they ever spent,” Austin said before concluding, “Port Allegany’s a nice ball team. We measure ourselves against teams like this.”

Locked into the No. 4 seed, the Gators (12-4) picked up a win without throwing a single pitch on Friday, as Johnsonburg opted to forfeit their game. The two teams may end up playing after all, though, as the Rams (13-5) and their star player, Ohio University-bound Seth Streich, were scheduled to host DuBois Central Catholic (6-11) in an opening-round playoff game on Tuesday, May 19, with the winner advancing to visit Port Allegany at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. Several other local teams are also participating in the playoffs, with Oswayo Valley at Smethport on Tuesday for their third meeting of the season, and third-seeded Coudersport awaiting the winner of the Curwensville-Brockway matchup for a Thursday-afternoon game.

At Port Allegany, 5/13:

R H E
PA 2 0 0 1 2 1 2 2 0 0 0 10 13 4
S 1 1 2 0 1 2 1 2 0 0 1 11 9 4

Stuckey (14 SO, 6 BB) and Guerrero
Doutt (7 SO, 9 BB) and Derek Kreitzer
HR: Larson (P), Preston Birtcil (S), Kreitzer (S)

R H E
S 0 0 0 0 4 1 5 5 2
PA 0 0 0 5 2 x 7 5 3

Doutt (4 SO), Jory Okerlund (3)(5 SO, 3 BB) and Kreitzer
Bricker (3 SO, 2 BB), Haskins (6)(1 SO, 1 BB), and Guerrero
(game called after six innings on account of darkness)

PAHS baseball: Gators “make a statement” against OV, fall at Coudy

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 14, 2009

The first time Port Allegany and Oswayo Valley met on the baseball field this season, the Green Wave turned a comfortable seventh-inning 13-2 Gators lead into a 13-11 nailbiter, sending the tying run to the plate before Port escaped with the win. Last week, coach Nate Zitnik expressed his displeasure with his team’s letdown in that game and talked about wanting to “make a statement” in last Thursday’s rematch at Moose Park.

Statement delivered, loud and clear. Shortly after jogging around the bases as part of Senior Day ceremonies, starter Mark Larson took the mound and dominated the OV hitters, striking out 10 and allowing just two hits, and the Gators pounded out 12 hits of their own in a 13-3, five-inning game.

“All but one guy in the lineup scored, and a lot of guys multiple times. When you’re doing that through the order, you can’t ask for much more than that,” Zitnik said afterward.

Camrin Stuckey boosted his team-leading .429 batting average by going 3-for-3 with two doubles and added two stolen bases, and Stuckey, Charlie Buchanan, and Lucas Kline each drove in three runs in the win. Kline hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot down the third-base line in the fourth inning, to pull within one of Larson in that category.

The big hits help – but sometimes, small, seemingly unnoticed plays can also make a difference, as the other two senior captains, Bryce Healy and Josh Guerrero, proved against OV. With the score 12-3 and the bases loaded, Guerrero took a pitch to the ribcage to bring in Healy – on third base after also “taking one for the team” earlier in the inning – with the game-ending run.

“We talk about selfless baseball, and the guys have bought into it,” Zitnik said.

That should bode well for their postseason chances, something he and assistant coach Justin Bienkowski are beginning to focus on with the playoffs right around the corner.

“We’d like to get a home game. I can’t remember the last time we had a home game here,” Zitnik said before adding with a grin, “Or a bye. I’d take a bye.”

Coudersport is one of the teams vying with the Gators for a good seed, and the Falcons (13-4) staked their claim on Monday afternoon with a 10-7 win at CARP Field to sweep the season series and earn that tiebreaker against Port (10-3). Coudy pulled ahead 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning and added a five-run sixth to secure the win, despite homers from Stuckey, Healy, and Seth Lowery.

The Gators have two more chances to better their winning percentage before the district seeding meeting, with Smethport visiting Moose Park Wednesday afternoon to complete last month’s rain-delayed game and play the rematch. The regular season concludes with a home game against Johnsonburg on Friday.

At Port Allegany, 5/7:

R H E
OV 0 0 1 0 2 3 2 1
PA 3 3 2 1 4 13 12 1

Austin (1 SO, 5 BB), Miller (4)(2 SO, 1 BB) and Jandrew
Larson (10 SO, 7 BB) and Guerrero
HR: Kline (2)

At Coudersport, 5/11:

R H E
PA 0 0 3 0 1 0 3 4 7 3
C 0 0 1 2 2 5 x 10 5 2

Larson (3 SO, 10 BB), Stuckey (6)(1 SO) and Guerrero
Mickle (2 SO, 1 BB), Wolfinger (7)(1 BB), Mickle (7) and Buckler
HR: Stuckey (2), Healy (1), Lowery (1)

PAHS track: Gators finish second at league meet

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 14, 2009

All season long, Gators track coach George Riley has counted on his teams’ depth to help score points and win meets. That strength in numbers served Port Allegany well once again last Friday in Smethport. Despite winning only one event, both squads finished a strong second at the North Tier League meet, the last competition on the schedule before Friday’s District IX Class AA Championships in Kane.

Nikki Drabert, Emily Schena, Breanna Foster, and Bryanna Evens scorched the field in the girls’ 400-meter relay, crossing the finish line in :55.67 to barely miss earning a trip to districts. Evens, scheduled to compete in the 100, 200, and 400-meter dashes in Kane, also placed second to Northern Potter speedster Rebecca Warriner in all three events. Schena (300 hurdles), Jessica French (800, 1600, 3200), and Kelsey Payne (high jump) each medaled while tuning up for districts in their specialties, and Carli Johnston (pole vault) and the 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams also added to Port’s 106-point total, 22 behind meet host Smethport.

Northern Potter won the boys’ meet with 118 points, with the Gators finishing close behind with 99.

Chris Fabish (discus), Tyler Payne (3200), and the 400-meter relay team will all seek to repeat their medal-winning performances at districts, and Denzel Middleton (100 hurdles), Paul Woods (shot put), and the other relay teams also placed. James Nellis (high jump) and Ben Osani (javelin) have also posted district-qualifying marks, and will make the trip south on Friday. The meet is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

PAHS softball season winding down

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 14, 2009

As the name of the sport suggests, pitching is a critical part of the game in high school fast-pitch softball, and Port Allegany coach Dave Roae thought sophomore Sarah Brodhun could fill that role for his team this season. So, when Brodhun was lost for the year with a shoulder injury, it dealt a huge blow to the Gators’ goal of finishing .500.

“That was definitely a big blow to us … that definitely hurt,” Roae said. “Amarae (Reinard) and Becky (Andrus) have come in and done a good job for us, but it’s still a step down from Sarah to anyone else.”

The Gators dropped a trio of games last week, then faced undefeated Coudersport on Monday. The Falcons have overwhelmed teams all season,and did the same at the Port field, chalking up a 16-0, four-inning win to run their record to 18-0. Cora Bova collected the Gators’ only hit, a second-inning single, and also went 2-3 with a triple in last week’s game against Cameron County.

Roae admits it’s difficult to keep his young squad positive at times, but thinks the game time they’re getting this year will eventually pay off.

“It was a very young team, with one senior starting. That lack of experience shows up out there,” he said. “But we’ve got almost a whole year under our belts, so next year, I can basically put the same team out there. And hopefully Sarah’s back and ready to go for next year.”

Seniors Shelby Gleason and Brittany Freer were honored in a ceremony following the Coudersport game. The Gators, now 3-12, finish their season on the road this week, with a doubleheader at Smethport on Wednesday and the season finale at Johnsonburg on Thursday.

Port Alle-Catt team starts season with win

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 14, 2009

Chilly temperatures and gusting winds didn’t suggest prime hitting conditions for Port Allegany’s Alle-Catt baseball season opener in Roulette on Sunday afternoon, but J.R. Page’s two-run home run and a solo shot by Derick Morey powered Port over the visiting Olean Oilers, 6-2.

Zach Hetrick and Rick Veilleux both doubled in the win and also shared pitching duties, combining to scatter five hits in nine innings of work.

Next Sunday, Port, the defending Alle-Catt East Division champion, will travel to Franchot Field to take on the Olean Royals. The 13-team amateur league also includes clubs in Austin, Crosby, Cuba, Emporium, Kane, Ludlow, Mount Jewett, Shinglehouse, and Wellsville, with teams playing each other once before the playoffs begin in late July. Port will once again play its home games at the Buckler Drive field, just off Route 6 in Roulette, with all games slated for a 2 p.m. start.

May:
17 – at Olean Royals
24 – Emporium
31 – Olean A.O.H.

June:
7 – at Kane
13 – at Shinglehouse
14 – Ludlow
21 – at Wellsville

July:
5 – at Crosby
11 – Cuba
12 – at Mount Jewett
19 – Austin

Updates on Kinney, Stavisky

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 7, 2009

With the first month of the 2009 season safely in the scorebook, it’s time to check in on the two Port Allegany-area natives who can claim “baseball player” as their primary job.

Still trying to complete his comeback from the elbow problems which cost him almost two full seasons, and caught up in a series of roster moves caused by injuries in the St. Louis starting rotation, Josh Kinney is currently pitching for the Cardinals’ Triple-A club in Memphis. After a rough outing in his Redbirds debut, Kinney has settled in, striking out seven and allowing only two earned runs in his last five appearances for Memphis, which leads the Pacific Coast League’s American North Division.

Meanwhile, former high school teammate Brian Stavisky is batting cleanup and playing first base for the Philadelphia Philles’ Double-A affiliate in Reading. Through Monday night’s game, Stavisky is hitting .319 with one double, two triples, and eight RBI, and leads the team with a .405 on-base percentage. The R-Phils (14-8) are off to one of the best starts in club history, and are currently tied for second place in the Eastern League’s Southern Division.

“I think it’s a good mix of young guys and some veteran players – the Phillies’ own players and some new guys brought in, like myself, this year. I think we’re mixing very well. Whatever we have to do, we just go out and do it. I think if that’s the attitude you have, everything goes better,” Stavisky recently told R-Phils’ play-by-play man Anthony Oppermann.

Memphis doesn’t play any games within a day’s drive, but Stavisky’s return to the East Coast sets up plenty of opportunities for hometown fans to catch one of his games, including two trips to the western part of the state in May.

On May 11-13, the R-Phils will travel to Erie to play three games against the Seawolves, a Detroit Tigers affiliate. The first two games at Jerry Uht Park are slated for 6:35 p.m. starts, before the teams wrap up the series with a “School Days” special Wednesday morning at 11:05 a.m. Tickets for all three games are available by visiting the team’s Web site, www.seawolves.com, or calling the box office at (800) 456-1304.

Later in the month, Reading visits Altoona for a five-game set against the Curve, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class AA team. That series is scheduled for May 22-25, including a doubleheader on the 23rd. Tickets for the games at Blair County Stadium can be purchased at www.altoonacurve.com, or by calling 877-99-CURVE.