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Klein Street
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania


"It is not about you. It is about the team."
Bob Amalia
Head Baseball Coach
Blackhawk High School

"The higher level you go the more
the athletes become similar in
talent.This is when you must out
work and out prepare your opponent!"
-Coach Basile

Together Everyone Achieves More

Saturday, May 14
2011 Varsity Schedule

* See "Locations" for directions!
4/1 VS New Brighton Area (W15-0)
4/7 VS Ambridge @ Park Field (W 10-0) 
4/9  AT New Castle (L 3-0)
4/11 VS Central Valley 4:00PM (W 7-3)
4/13 AT Hopewell Senior 4:00PM (W 5-3)
4/18 AT Beaver Area 4:00PM (W8-5)
4/20 West Allegheny 4:00PM  (W 6-2)
4/26 VS Moon Area 4:00PM  (L 6-1 in 8 innings) 
4/27 AT Ambridge HS 4:00PM (W 6-2)
4/29 VS New Castle Senior 4:00PM (W 15-9)
5/2  AT West Allegheny 4:15PM  (W3-0)
5/5 VS Hopewell Senior 4:30PM (W 13-5)
5/9 AT Moon Area 4:00PM (W 7-1)
5/11 VS Beaver Area 4:00PM (W 5-4)
5/12 AT Central Valley 4:00PM (W 7-0)
5/17 AT Pullman Park (Butler) vs. Indiana 7:00PM W.P.I.A.L PLAYOFFS round 1.

Thursday, April 19
2012 Schedule

Thursday, April 12
Post Gazette Article on WA Win

Blackhawk pitcher still tough to beat

April 12, 2012 12:00 am

Blackhawk's Brendan McKay was outstanding as a freshman and might be even better as a sophomore.

McKay pitched a three-hitter and drove in a run to lead Class AAA No. 1 Blackhawk to a 7-0 home win Wednesday against No. 4 West Allegheny (6-2, 2-1) in a Section 1 game.

Matt Emge went 4 for 4 with two RBIs for Blackhawk (8-0, 3-0), which snapped West Allegheny's six-game winning streak.

"This was a huge game, and our kids were fired up," said Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia.

McKay, who improved to 3-0, has not given up a run in 19 innings this season. He's also hitting .535 with 13 RBIs.

"He's just got God-given talent," Amalia said. "He just kind of took off from what he did last season."

As a freshman, McKay went 6-0 with an 0.80 ERA, while batting .480 with 20 RBIs. recently named McKay one of the top 50 sophomores in the country.

Friday, April 1

Adam Rousseau threw 4 innings of shutout baseball as the Blackhawk Cougars won their exhibition opener against New Brighton 15-0. Nick Martin& Brett Alberti had three RBI and Brendan McKay added two hits. Rousseau, Matt Emge, Tyler Damazo, Brandon Mansell, Tyler Craig, and Joey Lopez, added RBI hits. Brad Szopo made a game changing web gem at third base! Steve O'Hara, Brandon Kearney, had their first varsity hit. Vince Duffy made his first varsity appearance and Jordan Belcastro scored his first varsity run.

Beaver County Times Summary

Blackhawk 15, New Brighton 0 Nick Martin and Brett Alberti each had three runs batted in as Blackhawk (1-0) rolled in four innings. Brendan McKay added two hits and Adam Rousseau allowed two hits in four innings for the Cougars.

Thursday, April 7

Brendon McKaye pitched 5 shutout inning. striking out seven  Bridgers in a 10-2 victory over Ambridge. McKay also added two RBI. He is the first freshmen to win a varsity game in Blackhawks history! Tyler Damazo had two hits and two RBI. Brandon Kearney added two hits as did senior Captain Brett Alberti. Matt Emge doubled home two runs in the explosive fifth inning. Tyler Thellman reached base twice and stole a base as did Brandon Mansell.  Steve Ohara also reached base twice.Vince Duffy singled in the winning run.

Thursday, September 29
Blackhawk is World serious from the Beaver County Times

?Blackhawk will be one of 64 teams competing for the eight spots in the American Legion World Series when regional play begins Thursday.

The Cougars (23-11) will be participating in the Mid-Atlantic Regional in Boyertown, Pa., and will open up against 25-time New Jersey champion Brooklawn at around 12:30 in the second of four games slated for the day at Bear Stadium.

“We’re looking forward to it,” said Cougar manager Bob Amalia. “There’s a lot of really good teams out there.”

Blackhawk has already seen two of them in the Pennsylvania State Tournament that concluded Saturday in West Lawn, about 25 miles west of Boyertown. The Cougars lost to runner-up Boyertown 4-3 in 10 innings in the second round and were eliminated from championship contention by champion Bristol 10-5 in the fourth round. They won a playoff for third place over West Lawn 9-6 Saturday morning to earn the state’s second regional berth since Boyertown was already in as the Mid-Atlantic’s host.

“We’ve got to continue to get a lot of good starting pitching,” said Amalia, who had his first three starting pitchers at West Lawn - Brendan McKay, Adam Rousseau, and Brad Verlihay - each pitch into the ninth inning or beyond.

Brooklawn (39-4), last year’s regional runner-up to Chesapeake, Va., and Boyertown (42-11) have been two of the premier teams in regional play over the years, winning 12 and nine championships, respectively. Both have also won the World Series twice. Bristol (31-9) will be making its first national appearance after winning the state tournament in its first try with an 11-3 win over Boyertown.

Other teams include:

l Bordentown (31-10), the New Jersey runner-up, which went 1-2 in its only other regional appearance in 2007 in a tournament won by Boyertown and lost to Brooklawn 19-7 in Saturday’s state final;

l Middletown (26-6-1), the Delaware champion, which won its first state title in only its fourth year as a team;

l Chaney Enterprises (27-3), the Maryland champion from Waldorf, is making its fourth regional appearance and won the championship in 1995;

l South Charleston (41-5), which won its third straight West Virginia championship after going 0-2 in regional play in 2009 and 1-2 last season.

Amalia also hopes to get continued good hitting from McKay (.480, 12 RBI in state play), Nick Martin (.500), Colin Loughner (.476), and others.

“You’ve got to combine all of the aspects of the game,” said the Cougar manager.

Blackhawk has made four previous national appearances — all in the Great Lakes Regional in 1993, 2000, 2001, and 2003 - with an all-time record of 5-9, including a 2-2 record in 1993 and a semifinal appearance.

This is the first year that both Pennsylvania and both New Jersey teams have gone to the Mid-Atlantic Tournament. The winner of the double-elimination affair will advance to the World Series in Shelby, N.C.

Thursday, September 29
Blackhawk wins Legion Title from the Beaver County Times

Blackhawk wins Legion title Posted: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 10:15 pm | Updated: 10:00 am, Thu Jul 14, 2011. Blackhawk wins Legion title By Bill Allmann Times Sports Correspondent | 1 comment ?NEW BRIGHTON -- The Blackhawk American Legion baseball team’s season is beginning to sound like a broken record. Again, the team was behind late in a game when a loss would cost them a chance at the Beaver County championship. Again, the team rallied late, scoring six runs in its last two at bats to defeat New Brighton, 12-7, and win the Beaver County Championship for the seventh time since 2001. “We’ve been in that position before,” said shortstop Tyler Thellman, who hit a two-run single in the sixth. “We knew we just had to battle back.” New Brighton had forced Blackhawk to battle back by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kyle Bonner’s two-run single with two outs had put the home team ahead 7-6 but Blackhawk, which had battled back from the brink of elimination in the semifinals against Hopewell and had trailed in Game Two of the best-of-three series, still had one comeback left. Two walks and a single loaded the bases and set the stage for Tyler Damazo. “I was down in the count because of a first pitch curveball,” said the Blackhawk first baseman. “I was looking for a fastball and I got it. There were no outs so I just wanted to hit it hard.” Damazo stroked it up the middle for the two runs that put Blackhawk ahead. Thellman’s single extended the lead, and Matt Emge had a two-run double in the seventh to add insurance runs. It was a total team effort for Blackhawk as every player in the lineup scored and five different players had two runs batted in. Tyler Craig had a two-run home run in the second inning, the same inning Colin Loughner had a two-run single. “A lot of different players stepped up and it’s a tribute to them that they came back in two series,” said Blackhawk manager Bob Amalia. “I know I was nervous but they came through. “Brad Verlihay did a tremendous job for us in relief. He really came up big and we found a pitching staff in these series.” Verlihay came on in the third inning with Blackhawk leading and two runners on. He struck out the first batter he faced and, except for the fifth when two of the three runs New Brighton scored were unearned, he kept New Brighton in check until the bats came alive. “Adam Rousseau started and got us ahead,” Verlihay said. “I felt I could finish the game and I expected to.” Verlihay finished the game with a flourish as well, striking out the last two batters he faced. The celebration started for the young Blackhawk team that will lose only three players to the age limit for next year. “When you put on the Blackhawk jersey, you expect to win,” Damazo said. “Losing just isn’t an option.” “It’s not really pressure,” Thellman said. “We’re used to it. Those have been the expectations since tee-ball.” Blackhawk and New Brighton, which benefitted from a four-hit night from Brian Circle Wednesday, have both advanced to the Region 6 Tournament that will start Saturday afternoon with games at both Shaler’s Jerry Matulevic Field and North Allegheny High School. The opponents aren’t known yet. Blackhawk 12, New Brighton 7 R H E Blackhawk 1 5 0 0 0 4 2 _ 12 9 3 New Brighton 2 2 0 0 3 0 0 _ 7 12 3 Winner: Verlihay (4 1/3 inns.) 1 walk, 3 strikeouts. Loser: Emes (4 inns.), 4 walks, 3 strikeouts. 2B: McKsay (B), Circle (NB), Emge (B). HR: Craig (B). 2 or more hits: Circle (NB) 4, McKay (B), Loughner (B), Brelloch (NB), Bonner (NB), Reina (NB).

Monday, April 11
Adam Rousseau and Tyler Latsko pitched well in Section Loss

G.J. Senchak limited Blackhawk to three hits, and struck out two as Blackhawk dropped to 1-1 in Section 1-AAA. Adam Rousseau and Tyler Latsko pitched well in the loss. Brendan McKaye reached base three times for the Cougars.

From the New Castle News:“It was a good statement to make and I’m proud of the guys. This was probably the best game we’ve played in my three years here.” - New Castle coach Paul Malley Jr

Tuesday, April 12
Coach Amalia on MSN

MSA Sports Don Rebel, Sam Hall and Mike Azadian co-host a weekly recap of the WPIAL high school baseball scene with coaching guests Bob Amalia of Blackhawk and Brian Dzurenda of Serra Catholic.

Friday, May 6
Colella, Amalia managing their legacies

Mike Bires Times Sports Staff 

CHIPPEWA TWP. -- Sunday when Bob Amalia was inducted into the Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame, he expressed his gratitude for the many people who've influenced his outstanding run as a baseball coach. Among those he thanked was one of his fiercest rivals.

That would be Hopewell's Joe Colella.

Since 1988 when he became manager at Blackhawk's American Legion team, Amalia has matched wits against the wily Colella so many times. In legion, Blackhawk and Hopewell have been the most dominant teams in the Beaver County league for years.

In high school, Blackhawk hasn't always played in the same section as Hopewell. But they are this year. And including Thursday's 13-5 Blackhawk win over Hopewell, Amalia is 2-0 this season against Colella.

"We're such good friends," Amalia said after a win that moved Blackhawk (9-2) closer to the WPIAL Section 1-AAA title. "He's always there for me. We talk all the time. He's been a mentor for me. That's why I mentioned Joe at the Hall of Fame dinner.

"He's a great coach. His teams are always prepared and they always play hard."

Obviously, Amalia and Colella come from different generations and different backgrounds.

Colella, who's now in his 48th season as Hopewell's coach, has always been a baseball guy. He starred at Rochester High School (he hit .410 as a senior in 1949) and once batted .615 as a senior at Geneva College.

Amalia, who was hired as Blackhawk's baseball coach in 1999, has a basketball background. A 1974 Blackhawk grad, he started three years on the Cougars' hoops teams and played basketball for two years at Penn State Beaver. After college, he spent 16 years as the top assistant for John Miller's dynasties.

But now, he's a Hall of Fame baseball coach.

When asked what he likes about Amalia, Colella basically said the thing Amalia said about him. Blackhawk's teams are always well-prepared. They play hard.

And ....

"You pretty much know what he's going to do because he does what I do," said Colella, a 1987 inductee into the Beaver County Sports Hal of Fame and a 2011 inductee into the WPIAL Hall of Fame.

In other words, these teams are almost always fundamentally sound.

"If you watch, we do a lot of things they do," Amalia said. "We bunted around six times today."

Blackhawk borrowed a page out of Colella's book Thursday. Hopewell teams have always been known to master the little things that means so much like using the sacrifice bunt.

On Thursday, however, Hopewell didn't have one of its better days. The Vikings are very young with several sophomores playing key roles. In the showdown against Blackhawk, Hopewell looked like a young team by committing four errors, failing to execute a few bunts and having two runners picked off.

Still, Hopewell is still in second place in the section at 7-3. Colella can only hope his young team handles a challenging last week of the season when it plays four games in five days.

"Hopewell is good," Amalia said. "They just didn't play their best game today."

Regardless of what happens the rest of the way in the high school season, Amalia and Colella will see each other again this summer in legion ball.

Thursday, May 5
'Super' showdown / Beaver County Times

Mike Bires Times Sports Staff

With eight days remaining in the regular season, Blackhawk and Hopewell are running 1-2 in the "super section." Those two front-runners have gotten to that enviable position on the strength of young arms.

The ace for Blackhawk (8-2) is Brendan McKay, a mere freshman who just might be the best pitcher in WPIAL Section 1-AAA.

"I would say he is," said Joe Collella, who, considering his 48-year run as coach at Hopewell, knows a thing or two about high school baseball.

McKay, who's only 15 years old, sports a 4-0 record. He's a 6-foot-1, 165-pound left-hander who's struck out 40 batters and only walked eight in 34 innings. His earned run average is a miniscule 1.03.

Luckily for Hopewell (7-2), McKay is scheduled to pitch today when the Vikings and Cougars meet at Park Field in a crucial section showdown. Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia is expected to start either Adam Rousseau, a junior right-hander, or Steve O'Hara, a junior lefty. Rousseau is 2-1, O'Hara 2-0.

"I'm very pleased to be where we are at this point," Amalia said. "But to tell you truth, when the WPIAL put all of us in this section, we had a lot of question marks. We have a few seniors. But we have so many juniors. So we're really a young team."

Colella has to be pleased so far from what he's gotten out of his young pitching staff. His top three throwers are all sophomore lefties - Stefan Mrkonja, Tim Hughes and Joe Kunzmann. Those three are 3-0, 4-1 and 3-2, respectively.

"It's going to come down to pitching," Colella said of the homestretch. "Everyone is capable of beating anyone. Beaver (2-7) beat Moon (6-4), Ambridge (2-6) beat New Castle (5-6). It goes right down the line. It comes down to who's the best pitcher on any given day."

With the rain wreaking havoc on baseball season so far, pitching depth will be so important the rest of the way.

Hopewell, for example, plays Blackhawk today and Ambridge on Saturday. It then has games next week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday against West Allegheny (4-6), Moon Area (6-4) and Central Valley (4-5).

After playing Hopewell today, Blackhawk has three games left. The Cougars played Moon on Monday, Beaver on Wednesday and Central Valley on Thursday.

"The thing about this league is that every team has at least one good pitcher and some have two," Amalia. "So if we go 2-2 the rest of the way, I'd be happy. That's how good this section is."

The "super section" is so good that the last four WPIAL champions came out of 1-AAA - West Allegheny (2007 and '08), Moon ('09) and Hopewell last year.

Wednesday, April 13

Freshmen Brandon McKay (2-0) struck out 9 Hopewell batters and added two hits as the Blackhawk Cougars (4-1/3-1) beat the Vikings by the score of 5-3. After a Matt Emge web gem on a bunt, McKay put down 10 Hopewell batters in a row! McKay did not walk a batter. Brandon credited the pitch calling of Coach Boyer and the team defense for much of his success. McKay singled home Brandon Kearney in the first. Tyler Damazo singled home Brett Alberti in the fourth. In the fifth Steve O’Hara and Tyler Damazo added an RBI each, aided by another sacrifice by Brandon Kearny. Tyler Thellman doubled in the seventh; Joey Lopez sacrificed Tyler to third and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Kearny. Tyler Craig also added a web gem and a single. Nick Martin also singled to lead off the game. Thellman also added a web gem in the sixth inning. Blackhawk batted out of order for the first time in Coach Amalia’s twelve years; although it wasn’t caught by Hopewell or Coach Basile.

Beaver County Times Report:Staff reports

In 12 years of coaching baseball at Blackhawk High School, coach Bob Amalia has won 170 games, six section titles, appeared in the WPIAL finals four times and won one WPIAL championship. Over the years, Amalia has coached many great players.

Brandon McKay is likely to be one of them.

The freshman left-hander allowed just six hits, struck out nine and did not walk a batter as Blackhawk defeated Hopewell, 5-3, Wednesday in a early-season Section 1-AAA showdown.

"For a freshman, he was outstanding," Amalia said. "He threw strikes, has a good fastball, curve and changeup, and never gets rattled. If he keeps progressing, he can be one of the best we've had here."

McKay, 2-0, also had two hits.

Tim Hughes hit a two-run homer in the fourth to tie the game, but Blackhawk went ahead to stay in the fifth, scoring on two bases-loaded walks.

Blackhawk is 3-1 in the section, 4-1 overall. Hopewell is 4-1 in the section, 7-2 overall.

Tuesday, April 19

The Blackhawk baseball team did its best work with two outs Monday, and the result was a come-from-behind victory over Beaver in Section 1-AAA.

The Cougars scored five runs over the final two innings - all with two outs - to rally past Beaver, 8-5, and move to 4-1 in Section 1-AAA. Beaver dropped to 1-4.

In the top of the sixth, with Blackhawk down 5-3 thanks in part to a two-run homer by Beaver's Austin Logan, Matt Emge and Brett Alberti drove in runs with two outs. An inning later, Brendan Kearney had a two-run double, and Emge finished his three-RBI day with a run-scoring double.

Tyler Latsko pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for the Cougars. When Beaver loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Latsko got out of the jam with a strikeout and a popup.

NOTES:Tyler Latsko struck out two batters and didn't allow a walk.Tyler Thellman had three hits as did Brendan Kearney. Kearney, Thellman, and Matt Emge made webgems!

Friday, April 22
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Friday, April 22
Beaver County Times Report of Win Over WA

Blackhawk 6, West Allegheny 2 Brendan Kearney hit a two-run home run, and Brendan McKay pitched a complete game to run his record to 3-0 as Blackhawk (6-2, 5-1) won in Section 1-AAA. McKay added two hits, including a solo homer.

Notes: Shortstop Tyler Thellmen (T-N-T ) had two hits, a baserunning gem and web gem! Zack Hilldebrand had a baserunning gem to score his first varsity run. Juniors Tyler Craig and Matt Emge each smacked doubles. McKay struck out eight WA batters. The Pittsburgh Post Gazzette has the Cougars ranked # 2 in the WPIAL with Elizabeth Forward as #1 and Hopewell at #3. MSA has Blackhawk at #3, behind Mars (#2), and Elizabeth Forward.(#1).

Tuesday, May 3
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW Headlines of McKay's Near Perfection

Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia planned to bring his talented freshman along slowly, giving Brendan McKay a cautious introduction to varsity baseball. Maybe he'd be the team's third pitcher? Maybe bat eighth or ninth?

Not so.

"He's my No. 1 pitcher," Amalia said, "and he bats fifth in the order."

That's because McKay hasn't played like a freshman. The hard-throwing left-hander pitched a one-hit shutout Monday against West Allegheny, earning his fourth win and lowering his ERA to 1.03. In 34 innings, McKay has struck out 40 and walked eight.

In his first outing this spring -- a one-inning stint -- he needed just nine pitches to strike out the side.

"I knew he was going to be good," Amalia said, "but I'd be lying if I told you I thought he was going to this good this early."

The 6-foot-1, 165-pounder has a mid-80s fastball and an exceptional curveball, Amalia said. Only twice in 12 seasons has the coach promoted a ninth-grader to the varsity (the other was junior catcher Matt Emge). Blackhawk already was a good team without McKay, but his emergence has helped make the No. 2-ranked Cougars a contender for the WPIAL title.

"This kid has the potential to be the best kid I've ever had," Amalia said. "If he keeps his head on and continues working, he has that potential."

Against West Allegheny, McKay faced only 22 batters -- one above the minimum -- striking out five and walking none. A third-inning infield single prevented the no-hitter.

A two-run homer by McKay in the top of the seventh inning broke a scoreless tie, helping Blackhawk win, 3-0. McKay leads Blackhawk in batting average (.471), home runs (three) and RBI (12).

 Notes:Tyler Thellman, Matt Emge,Tyler Craig, and Tyler Damazo had webgems. Joey Lopez had three and an RBI!Zach Hildebrand scored another run.

Our deepest condolences to the Family of Brandon Mansell on the passing of their / Brandon’s Grandmother.

 Beaver CountyTimes Sports Staff  Report:

Brendan McKay's hot start to his high school baseball career nearly had a perfect addition. The Blackhawk freshman flirted with a perfect game against West Allegheny, striking out five and allowing just a slow roller to go for an infield hit in Blackhawk's 3-0 win.

McKay had to be at his best, as multiple West Allegheny pitchers held Blackhawk scoreless until the seventh. That's when McKay followed up a Brett Alberti one-out single with a home run.

McKay improved to 4-0 and lowered his ERA to 1.03 for Blackhawk (9-2, 8-2 Section 1-AAA). West Allegheny fell to 5-6, 3-6.

Tuesday, April 26
Beaver County Times Report of Moon Extra Inning Loss

Moon Area 6, Blackhawk 1 Daniel Jeffreys and David Knight each plated runs with singles in a five-run ninth inning as Moon (6-4, 5-3) moved to within a game of Section 1-AAA leaders Hopewell and Blackhawk (7-2, 6-2) with a win in a game suspended from Tuesday.

Saturday, April 30
Beaver County Times Report of Win Over New Castle

Blackhawk 15, New Castle 9 Steve O'Hara pitched five solid innings in relief as Blackhawk overcame an early 6-1 deficit to stay tied atop Section 1-AAA. Tyler Craig drove in three runs, and Tyler Thellman homered for the Cougars (8-2, 7-2).

Tuesday, May 3
Beaver County Times Report of Win Over Ambridge

Blackhawk 6, Ambridge 2 Brendan McKay broke open a close game with a two-run single in the fifth as Blackhawk (7-1, 6-1) forged a tie with Hopewell atop Section 1-AAA. Jamie Deane and Joe Savage drove in runs for Ambridge (3-7, 2-6).

Wednesday, May 11

Cox ensured Hopewell remained within striking distance to try and tie Blackhawk at the top of the standings.

Cox singled in Kevin Kahn with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to give Hopewell a 12-11 win over West Allegheny.

Matt Critchlow drove in six runs, four coming on a second-inning grand slam that tied the game at 7-7. Arion Sepp had three hits and Stefan Mrkonja struck out five in six innings to get the win for the Vikings (12-6, 8-4).

Tommy Forse had three hits for West Allegheny (6-8, 4-8).


Blackhawk 6, Moon 1 Brett Alberti had two hits, and Brendan McKay pitched seven strong innings as Blackhawk clinched a share of the Section 1-AAA championship for the third straight season. It is Blackhawk's 10th straight year in the playoffs. Moon fell to 8-7, 6-6.

Notes: With Moons 5-0 victory over Hopewell The Cougars are sole owners of the section crown!

Zack Hildebrand made another baserunning gem! Matt Emge picked off another runner at secondbase. No one has stolen a base this season with Matt behind the plate. 

Wednesday, May 11
From the Trib: BLACKHAWK NORTH ?

Mercyhurst success has WPIAL roots

Mercyhurst baseball coach Joe Spano said joining the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference has been the best thing to happen to his program.

Because of the Lakers' success, it'd be understandable if the league's other 13 teams weren't as excited.

Mercyhurst (35-10) won the PSAC's West Division this spring for the second time in three years since leaving the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, doing so with a talented crop of WPIAL players.

"It's been a great move to get into this conference," said Spano, whose team moved up one spot to No. 21 in this week's College Baseball Magazine poll. "It's been very competitive, but it's also been a lot more fun."

The divisional top seed opens the PSAC tournament today against East Stroudsburg (25-16). The double-elimination tournament will be at Johnstown's Point Stadium, with the championship set for Saturday.

Slippery Rock, California (Pa.), the defending champion, and IUP round out the West qualifiers. No. 8 Millersville is the top seed from the East Division, followed by Shippensburg, Bloomsburg and East Stroudsburg.

Given the Lakers' local ties, it wouldn't be a bad idea for Spano to organize a bus to transport his players' families from Pittsburgh to Johnstown. Mercyhurst has 10 WPIAL players on their roster, including four from Blackhawk. That point is not lost on Spano, who has had an easier time recruiting since Mercyhurst moved into the PSAC.

"We were never able to recruit the WPIAL as much as we can now," said Spano, whose team is 50-21 against PSAC opponents over the past three years, including a 16-7 mark this season. "We just couldn't convince kids to come up here and play against teams from Michigan and Western Ohio."

Two of those Blackhawk graduates are outfielder Craig Denman and pitcher Ben Rawding. Denman is fourth on the team with a .340 batting average. He also had 22 RBI and has 14 stolen bases in 15 attempts. Rawding, a former WPIAL pitcher of the year, is 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA and 60 strikeouts.

Pitcher Brad Duffy (Vincentian) is also 4-1. Sam O'Neill (North Allegheny) has a 0.49 ERA and leads the team with two saves.

Another part of the Lakers' success is a less-recognizable WPIAL product. Seneca Valley graduate Eric Aschley wasn't a star in high school, stuck behind future Washington Nationals draft pick and N.C. State hurler Cory Mazzoni and Kyle Helisek, now a three-year starter at Villanova.

"I pitched on senior day, that was about it," Aschley said.

This spring, the former backup shortstop and little-used reliever has a 7-1 record with a 1.47 ERA with two shutouts and has allowed just three extra-base hits -- all doubles -- in 55 innings.

"You can tell he's stepped up, and it's been a big thing for us," Rawding said. "He's definitely proven himself."

So has Mercyhurst. In their division-winning seasons, the Lakers swept a doubleheader on the road to clinch the regular-season title, taking down Cal in 2009 and Slippery Rock at the end of April.

"For it being our first three years in the PSAC, I think we've done pretty well," said Denman, whose team was the tournament runner-up in 2009 and is 3-3 in PSAC tournament games. "Hopefully, we're getting a little bit of a reputation."


Thursday, May 12
Beaver County Times Round-up of Beaver Win

Two weeks ago, Central Valley was 3-5 and looking like it was going to miss out on the WPIAL playoffs. Today, the Warriors have secured second place in Section 1-AAA and a postseason berth in their inaugural season.

?Central Valley (8-5) turned its season around with five straight wins. The latest came Wednesday with an 8-5 win over slumping Hopewell (8-6).

Even if they lose today to first-place Blackhawk (11-2), the Warriors are guaranteed second place in the section on the basis of the WPIAL tiebreaker system.

Central Valley didn’t waste any time jumping on Hopewell with a three-run first inning. Its lead increased to 8-1 after Matt Bradford’s three-run home run in the fifth inning.

Hopewell, which has lost six of its last eight games, got homers from Stefan Mrkonja and Joe Kunzmann.


Blackhawk 5, Beaver 4 It appeared that Beaver (3-10) was on the verge of an upset after Austin Logan’s solo homer in the top of the seventh gave the Bobcats a 4-3 lead. But in the bottom of the seventh, Blackhawk rallied on Joe Lopez’s game-winning two-run double.

Saturday, May 14

Rank second by the Tribune Review, Pittsburgh Post Gazette ,and the WPIAL own media outlet, MSA Sports the Blackhawk Cougars got a fourth seed for the WPIAL Tournament. They will play Indiana this Tuesday at Pullman Park 7:00PM.

  WPIAL CLASS AAA - 13 TEAMS: MSA Sports 5/12/2011










10) MOON TIGERS (10-7)





WPIAL baseball playoffs at a glanceBy Chris Harlan, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday May 14, 2011
Class AAA Defending champion: Hopewell The favorite: One year after losses in the WPIAL and PIAA semifinals, Elizabeth Forward is determined to reach the WPIAL championship game behind star pitcher Dan Altavilla. The contenders: The pitcher-catcher combination of freshman Brendan McKay and junior Matt Emge could carry Blackhawk to a second WPIAL title. In Section 4, Mars and Hampton were 13-1, but the rivals must prove their postseason ability. Strikeout pitchers Sam Mersing of Montour and Bryan Leipold of Chartiers Valley could win a game or two for the Section 3 squads. Don't overlook: Moon, which won the 2009 WPIAL title and was runner-up in 2010, has a solid lineup led by shortstop Brett Hoffman, who's headed to Division I Southeastern Louisiana. Prediction: Elizabeth Forward over Mars 


 For the brackets:


Friday, May 13

Adam Rousseau (3-1) threw a no-hitter and struck out 4 batters as Blackhawk rolled over Central Valley 7 to 0. Rousseau allowed three base on ball and the Cougars made two errors as only five Cental Valley players reached base..This was Blackhawk's seventh no-hitter in school history! This was the first time Cental valley was no-hit in their school history.Tyler Craig had a clutch rbi double. Brett Alberti, Brenden Kearney,Nick Martin, and Brenden McKay had  RBI singles. Zach Hildebrant score another run. Vince Duffy was batting and senior Shane Newman was in the on-deck circle when the game was called in the sixth inning due to lightning.

Saturday, May 14
Indiana Stats for 2011

Top of bracket occupies first base bench. Gate sale: $6 Adults ~ $4 students ( finals $8 & $5)
First 10 minutes of infield to the team traveling the LEAST distance Souvenir Shirt orders will be taken
Merchandise order forms are available


#1 Elizabeth Forward Warriors (18-0) - BYE

#8 Greensburg-Salem Golden Lions (12-4) vs #9 Central Valley Warriors (10-7) AT Washington & Jefferson College Sports Complex on Tuesday, May 17th at 4:30pm

#4 Blackhawk Cougars (13-2) vs #13 Indiana Little Indians (8-10) AT Pullman Park in Butler on Tuesday, May 17th at 7:00pm

#5 Chartiers Valley Colts (14-4) vs #12 Belle Vernon Leopards (11-8) AT Boyce-Mayview Complex in Upper St. Clair on Tuesday, May 17th at 2:00pm

#2 Hampton Talbots (14-3) - BYE

#7 Thomas Jefferson Jaguars (10-6) vs #10 Moon Tigers (10-7) AT Boyce-Mayview Complex in Upper St. Clair on Tuesday, May 17th at 5:00pm

#3 Mars Fighting Planets (14-1) - BYE

#6 Montour Spartans (14-4) vs #11 Hopewell Vikings (12-8) AT Washington & Jefferson College Sports Complex on Tuesday, May 17th at 7:30pm

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