By Matt Popchock

Another week of action on the high school diamond is underway, but before Mr. High School Sports rushes off to cover a couple of big upcoming contests, he’d be remiss if he didn’t honor some of the great individual efforts in WPIAL baseball and softball from the past week, because there were plenty.

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The temperatures might not have climbed quite as high as we’d all like, but the rain stayed away just long enough for a few noteworthy upsets to take place, not to mention some extra-inning heroics.  It was a particularly big week in Class A baseball, where one pitcher continued to show his dominance, while another tossed his way into the Washington County record books.

Here are some of last week’s scholastic stars:

Jack Graham, Seneca Valley – game-winning two-run double in 6th inning in 8-6 win over North Allegheny in Class AAAA Section 1 play Friday

T.D. Conway, California – 12 strikeouts, five hits allowed, one walk; two hits, one run in 6-3 win over Carmichaels in Class A Section 1 play Monday

Alain Girman, Serra Catholic – 12 strikeouts, two hits allowed in 2-1 complete-game win over Chartiers-Houston in Class A Section 2 play Thursday

Brendan McKay, Blackhawk – two hits, RBI; nine strikeouts, no walks in 5-3 win over Hopewell in Class AAA Section 1 play Wednesday

Tanner Garry, Fort Cherry – 17 strikeouts (unofficial school record), eight innings pitched in complete-game 3-2 win over Southmoreland in Class A Section 2 play Friday

Justin Smith, Burrell – 2-for-3 with two doubles, two runs in 7-4 win over Ford City in Class AA Section 3 play Thursday

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Alexa Larkin, Latrobe – 14 strikeouts, one hit allowed in 3-0 win over Penn-Trafford in Class AAAA Section 1 play Thursday

Candace Scanga, Deer Lakes – game-winning two-run double in top of 7th inning in 2-1 upset of Burrell in Class AA Section 3 play Friday

Trish Lamont, South Side Beaver – game-winning two-run triple in 10th inning in 8-6 win over Rochester in Class A Section 5 play Thursday (South Side Beaver trailed 6-0)

Emily Sorton, Elizabeth Forward – 3-for-4, 2 RBI in 6-4 upset of South Park in Class AAA Section 5 play Friday

Julianne Hirsch, Avonworth – 8 IP, 6 K, 3 BB, 5 H; three hits, two RBI, including game-winning RBI double, in 8-4 win over Brentwood in Class AA Section 1 play Friday

Kayla Briggs, Chartiers-Houston – 3-for-4, stolen base, two runs, including game-winner, in 3-1 win (eight innings) over Frazier in Class A Section 1 play Thursday


ON DECK: On Tuesday Mr. High School Sports will travel to Yough as the Cougars host Greensburg-Salem in Class AAA Section 4 action.  The Cougars, led by Nicole Sleith, one of the top pitchers in the state, have shut out their last three opponents, and the Golden Lions will try to pull half a game ahead of Yough for the section lead.

IN THE HOLE: On Thursday Mr. High School Sports will travel to Thomas Jefferson as the Jaguars host Montour in a Class AAA Section 3 contest.  The Jaguars have methodically climbed to the top of the Section 3 standings, but the Spartans may have a chance to shake up those standings with a win in Jefferson Hills.  Keep your eye on Montour pitcher/infielder Sam Mersing, who is enjoying a spectacular start to his sophomore campaign.

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For continuing coverage of WPIAL baseball and softball, be sure to check back with Mr. High School Sports throughout the 2011 season!