Softball: Power surge lifts Gators past Ramettes in D-9 opener

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 26, 2011

Kyley Mickle settled underneath the towering pop fly, a smile spreading across the Gator shortstop’s face as she waved her teammates back. As the ball landed safely in her glove for the final out of Port Allegany’s 9-4 win over Johnsonburg in Monday’s District 9 softball playoff opener, the on-field celebration began, but Mickle already had Port’s next opponent on her mind.

“I was just like, ‘We’re going to Coudy!’” she said with a grin, looking ahead to Wednesday afternoon’s quarterfinal game against the third-seeded Falcons (12-2) in Coudersport.

First, though, the sixth-seeded Gators (12-6) had to get past visiting No. 11 Johnsonburg. The Ramettes weren’t going back to Elk County without a fight, taking a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning of a back-and-forth game.

That’s when, following a season-long trend of late-game power surges, the Port High bats came alive. Catcher Cora Bova started the rally with a one-out single, then raced all the way home to score the tying run on Mickle’s double to right field. First baseman Rachel Taylor left no doubt on her next swing of the bat, launching a rocket over the centerfield fence to put Port in front for good.

“I knew it was gone when she hit it, because she hit it solid,” coach Dave Morey said of Taylor’s two-run homer, which gave his squad a 5-3 lead.

Johnsonburg would get one back in the top of the sixth, but the Gators answered with a four-spot in the bottom of the inning – highlighted by Mickle’s two-run blast to left, followed by doubles from Taylor and Kris-Ann Raymo – and the Ramettes went down in order in the seventh to end the game.

“They were just so far out in front of that pitcher,” Morey explained. “They finally figured her out and started hitting the ball. Our defense has been good, but we just didn’t hit. Once we started hitting, it was all over.”

Mickle (2-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBI) and Taylor (2-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI) led the way at the plate, with Bova (2-3, RBI), Becky Andrus, and Sarah Brodhun (2-3) also doubling and Becca Lathrop sacrificing in a run. Andrus and Jenny Shelley shared pitching duties for the Gators, while Kiana Myers took the loss for Johnsonburg.

“I thought it was going to hit the fence,” Mickle said of her first career homer, finally reaching a goal she’d set for herself as a freshman. “That’s how it’s been all year – I almost had two of them, but one hit the fence and a girl caught the other one over the fence. This one just kept carrying, and it was out.”

And the timing couldn’t have been any better for Mickle and her fellow seniors.

“This is our first playoff game. We haven’t been here in five or six years,” she said. “To finally get a win … I can’t explain it. It’s just awesome.”

Now, it’s off to Coudy, which swept the season series by scores of 8-3 and 10-0. But the playoffs are a brand-new season, and Mickle believes.

“I think we can do it,” she said. “If we keep playing like we have been, I think we really can do it. They’ve been our rivals in every sport, they always beat us, so it’s nice to get one last shot at them.”

At Port Allegany, May 23:

R H E
Johnsonburg 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 4 2 3
Port Allegany 1 1 0 0 3 4 X 9 11 0

Kiana Myers (1 SO, 2 BB) and Dani Dwyer
Becky Andrus (6 SO, 5 BB), Jenny Shelley (6) (1 BB) and Cora Bova

HR: Taylor (PA), Mickle (PA). 2B: Bova (PA), Mickle (PA), Taylor (PA), Andrus (PA), Brodhun (PA), Raymo (PA), K. Myers (J).

Gator softball on a roll

Lori Chase
May 19, 2011

Early in Port Allegany’s softball game against visiting Sheffield on Monday afternoon, it looked like it was going to be a quiet day for the hometown bats.

Not for long. On the second trip through the lineup, the Gators started figuring out the Wolverines pitching. And once they started hitting they didn’t stop, bashing eight extra-base hits – highlighted by Kris-Ann Raymo’s inside-the-park home run – to rally from a 2-0 deficit for a wild 11-8 win.

“We just moved them up in the box and slowed their bat speed down. They were way out in front of it,” Port coach Dave Morey explained after watching his team win its sixth game in a row to improve to 9-6 on the season. “They’re starting to gel, and playing better. Feels good.”

Raymo (2-4, triple, HR, 3 RBI) and Kyley Mickle (3-4, triple, 3 RBI) powered the Gator attack, with Rachel Taylor (3-4, 1 RBI) adding two triples and Cora Bova drilling a double off the right-field fence on the fly. Becky Andrus and Jenny Shelley shared pitching duties for Port, with Andrus picking up the win.

Port’s winning streak began with a sweep against Oswayo Valley, but the real eye-opener came in a 9-4 victory over Otto-Eldred on Friday.

“We’d lost to them twice already, and that really helped turn things around,” Morey said.

The Gators followed that game up with another doubleheader sweep on Saturday, coming back to win both games against Northern Potter, before doing the same to Sheffield.

“The girls have been working really hard and hustling. That’s the key to it, really,” Morey said. “And they’re starting to believe they can win. That’s been our big problem; they’ve never believed in themselves, that they could actually do it. Now, they believe, and it’s happening.”

Gator baseball/softball: still stuck in the swamp

Lori Chase
April 28, 2011

Weather woes continued to plague area high school baseball and softball teams last week, and Port Allegany was no exception. While the Lady Gators managed to get in games against Smethport and Otto-Eldred, their counterparts on the baseball diamond have played just six innings – in a suspended contest against Cameron County – since April 16.

On Wednesday, Smethport piled up seven runs in the top of the first inning, and Logan Akers hurled a eight-strikeout, two-hit gem in the Lady Hubs’ 12-1 softball win.

“It’s hard to come back against a good team like Smethport,” Port coach Dave Morey said. “We didn’t give up, but when you dig a hole like that, and against a dominant pitcher …”

Cora Bova singled in the bottom of the first, then scored the Gators’ only run on a fourth-inning double by Kris-Ann Raymo. Jenny Shelley (2 SO, 6 BB) and Kira Nolder shared pitching duties for Port, which dropped to 1-3 following the next night’s 6-3 loss at Otto-Eldred.

Eleven days after their last game, a 5-4 decision over Johnsonburg, the Gator baseball team’s record remains at 2-1. Both teams are off for the remainder of this week; weather permitting – a common refrain in this washed-out season – they’ll resume playing on May 2, when the Northern Potter baseball and Kane softball teams are slated to visit Port Allegany.

At Port Allegany, Apr. 20:
Smethport 7 1 1 3 0 – 12
Port Allegany 0 0 0 1 0 – 1

Softball: Gators 1-1 after first week

The Port Allegany softball team wasn’t expecting to face defending league champ Coudersport in their first game of the season. But after weather woes washed out the beginning of the schedule, there they were, stepping to the plate against the Falcons just a day after finally getting outside to practice on their home field for the first time.

Coudy plated four runs in the top of the second inning, then held on for an 8-3 victory last Tuesday afternoon. But unlike some previous games against one of District 9’s best teams, the Gator girls were in this one until the end. Rachel Taylor scored the first run of the season on Kris-Ann Raymo’s stand-up double in the sixth, and Port pushed across two more in the bottom of the seventh on Kyley Mickle’s bases-loaded sac fly and a sharp single by Sarah Brodhun off the second-baseman’s glove before the game ended on a play at the plate.

“The second inning was where we lost it .. that basically was the game right there,” new head coach Dave Morey said. “We had that one bad inning, but other than that, the girls played well. They didn’t give up, and I was pleased with their effort.

“We just made some bad mistakes at crucial times, that’s all. But overall, I think the girls played well for their first night out playing a game; it was cold, and this was the first time everybody got a chance to work together. And we’re a young team. We’ve got three seniors and two juniors; everybody else is sophomores and freshmen, so you’re going to expect mistakes until they get better.”

In their only non-postponed game since then, Morey’s squad visited Bradford on Friday afternoon, rebounding to shut out the Lady Owls 5-0. Raymo doubled twice to lead the Gator offense, with Mickle adding two hits and scoring a run, and Becky Andrus pitched a four-hit, three-strikeout complete game to earn the win.

Weather permitting, the Gators (1-1) were scheduled to host Smethport on Wednesday, then make up their postponed game at Otto-Eldred on Thursday before shutting down for the Easter break.

At Port Allegany, Apr. 12:
Coudy 1 4 0 0 0 1 2 – 8
Port A 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 – 3

Whitman (1 SO, 2 BB) and Gerner
Andrus/Shelley (2 SO, 4 BB combined) and Bova

5/13 PAHS roundup

Baseball: Gators edge Kane in extra-inning thriller

As Port Allegany designated hitter Ryan Bodamer strode to the plate to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning, the Gators trailed Kane by a run and were staring squarely at the end of a modest two-game winning streak.

Three swings of the bat – well, two swings and a bunt – changed that in a hurry last Thursday afternoon. Bodamer worked the count full against Wolves reliever Logan Depto, then ripped a double to left field on the payoff pitch. Younger brother Matt followed by driving the next pitch deep to center, taking second as Ryan deftly avoided a desperate tag attempt to plate the tying run. And when the throw to first base on Charlie Buchanan’s bunt missed its mark, Matt came around from second to end the Gators’ wild 10-9 extra-inning victory as his teammates poured out of the dugout to celebrate.

“I was going to give Matt a swing and then get a bunt down,” Port coach Nate Zitnik explained. “Playing for two; I didn’t necessarily want to play for a tie and keep this game going. I wanted to give Matt a chance to swing the bat. After playing through a long varsity season, he knows how to handle pressure, and he came through huge. He traded places with Ryan, and Charlie executed (on the bunt).” Continue reading “5/13 PAHS roundup”

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.

PAHS Softball: Double trouble for Austin

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 7, 2009

At the beginning of last week, Gators softball coach Dave Roae said, “If we keep playing defense like this, and the sticks start working, we’re going to be all right.”

They were all right – and then some – on Thursday night against Austin. Brittany Drabert cracked a triple and Shanel Halle (2), Kris-Ann Raymo, Kaitlyn Kio, and Renee Edgell all added doubles in the opening game of a doubleheader against the Panthers, as the Gators held off a late-inning rally to eke out a 12-11 win.

The number 2 also played a significant role in the second game, with Amarae Reinard taking the mound and allowing just a pair of hits to Austin batters as Port swept the twinbill with a 16-1 victory. The junior pitcher helped her own cause with a double and a triple at the plate, a feat matched by Raymo, the hard-hitting freshman.

Entering the week with a 3-8 record, the Gators faced a busy four-games-in-five-nights schedule as the season entered the home stretch. Home games against Kane and Cameron County were followed by a trip to Oswayo Valley on Thursday afternoon, with the team returning to the field on Edison Bates Drive to face Sheffield at 4:15 p.m. Friday.

PAHS Softball: Signs of progress

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
Apr. 30, 2009

The wins aren’t there yet for the Gators softball team, but coach Dave Roae is beginning to see some encouraging signs of progress from his young squad, which lists four juniors, four sophomores, and a freshman among its starters.

“Defensively, we’ve really improved in the last three or four games. You can tell by the scores; everything is tighter. Obviously, our offense is where we need to improve. I’m pretty happy with the defense right now,” Roae said. “We played Coudersport two weeks ago, and once again we didn’t hit the ball very well, but we played defense, and the girls were into the game … Beginning with Coudy, defensively, we’ve really come a long way.”

On Thursday night, Port ran into Otto-Eldred and pitcher Taylor Thomas again, with the Terrors notching a 10-2 win to sweep the season series. Unlike the first meeting, though, the Gators managed to touch the O-E ace for some hits and a couple of runs.

“We had one bad inning. It was 2-1 heading into the fourth, and we had seven errors, and they scored six runs. We played a good game up until then, and then it went down quick,” Roae said.

The Gators traveled to the Bolivar-Richburg Tournament on Friday afternoon for games against the Wolverines and Oswayo Valley. In the opener against B-R, a perennial New York state playoff participant, the Gators stayed close in a 4-0 loss.

“We had runners on third in three different innings; we just couldn’t score. Amarae Reinard pitched that game, and she kept them off-balance all night. She did a very nice job,” Roae said of his junior hurler, who scattered eight hits and four walks in six innings.

Port led Oswayo Valley 7-4 in the fourth inning of the consolation game, before the Green Wave rallied to win 8-7 on an unearned run in the eighth. Sophomore Sarah Brodhun went the distance in the nightcap, striking out six and walking seven.

Returning home, the Gators faced Northern Potter on Monday night. The Port bats were mostly silent again, with the team managing just two hits in the game, but improved fielding – including several solid plays by freshman third baseman Becky Andrus – kept them in another 4-0 defeat. Another ninth-grader, Kris-Ann Raymo, cracked a triple to the left-field fence.

“She’s really hitting the ball well,” Roae said of Raymo. “For a first-year player, she’s really impressed me both in the outfield and at the plate.

He concluded, “If we keep playing defense like this, and the sticks start working, we’re going to be all right.”

Now 1-8 on the season, the team was scheduled to play Austin on Wednesday, making up an earlier rainout as part of a doubleheader at the Port High field.

PAHS spring sports roundup: 4/23/09

Baseball:
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

Softball:
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.)