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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.

Maxpreps.com recently named McKay one of the top 50 sophomores in the country.



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 Timesonline.com | 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).

Friday, May 6
Colella, Amalia managing their legacies
Mike Bires Times Sports Staff Timesonline.com 

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 Timesonline.com

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.



Friday, April 22
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