Eight District 9 baseball and softball teams start their quest for PIAA titles in three classifications Monday.
In baseball, District 9 champion DuBois Central Catholic and runner-up Oswayo Valley will compete in the PIAA Class A bracket, while in Class AA – Moniteau – and Class AAA – Punxsutawney – only the District 9 champions are in the field of 16.
Softball is the same way with a pair of teams representing District 9 in Class A including champion DuBois Central Catholic and runner-up Clarion. In Class AA champion Moniteau is the lone representative and in Class AAA champion Punxsutawney is the only District 9 team in the field of 16.
Here is a brief look at each of the games.
(9-1) DuBois Central Catholic vs. (7-3) Vincentian Academy
When: 3 p.m. Monday, June 6, at Showers Field in DuBois
How they got here: DCC beat Redbank Valley (15-3, 5 innings), Elk County Catholic (4-2) and Oswayo Valley (2-1) to win the District 9 title for the first time since 2001. Vincentian Academy beat Bentworth (2-1, 9 innings) and Brentwood (6-0) to advance to the WPIAL semifinals before losing to eventual champion Serra Catholic (4-1). Vincentian then came back and beat Union-New Castle (11-1) in the consolation game.
Players to Watch: DCC: Jake Miknis hit .490 in the regular season with 3 home runs and 15 RBIs while compiling a 4-0 record with a 0.78 ERA 36 innings of work, while Thomas Grecco hit .476 with 21 RBIs and Justin Miknis .357. Justin Miknis had the game-winning double in the top of the seventh in the District 9 title game. Vincentian Academy: Kyler Fedko was batting .611 heading into the WPIAL playoffs, while Christian Fedko was hitting .414 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs heading into the WPIAL’s.
(9-2) Oswayo Valley vs. (10-1) Rocky Grove
When: 3 p.m. Monday, June 6, at Jack Critchfield Park in Slippery Rock
How they got here: Oswayo Valley beat North Clarion 7-3 and Coudersport 10-0 (5 innings) to reach the District 9 title game for the second straight season before the defending champs suffered their first loss of the season, 2-1, to DuBois Central Catholic. Rocky Grove beat Iroquois 7-0 then topped defending District 10 champion and PIAA runner-up Eisenhower 5-2 before scoring six times in the bottom of the seventh to top West Middlesex 8-7 in the championship game Friday.
Players to Watch: Oswayo Valley: Garrett Babcock is hitting just shy of .400 while Gage Babcock and Dylan Buchholz, the son of manager Brad Buchholz and the catcher, is also hitting over .300 and will play college ball at Erie Community College next season. Garren Black is likely to get the start and is 8-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 45 innings of work. For Rocky Grove, Travis Perry was hitting .413 with a 1.103 OPS with 16 RBIs, seven doubles, a triple and a home run heading into the District 10 title game. He was the starter in that game after sporting a 5-2 record with a 1.53 ERA but got chased in the second inning of the title game after giving up four runs in 1 ⅓ innings. The flip side of the bad outing is that Perry could start Monday. If he doesn’t look for Connor Curran, who is 2-0 on the season with an ERA around 3.10 after pitching two scoreless inning to get the win Friday, to go. Curran was hitting .375 with two home runs going into the title game, while Scott Perry was hitting .407 with 21 RBIs, four doubles and a home run.
Winner: Rocky Grove
(9-1) Moniteau vs. (10-2) Girard
When: 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 6, at Clarion-Limestone
How they got here: Moniteau beat Brookville 6-3 in the District 9 semifinals then won its first District 9 title with a 6-2 win over Karns City in the title game. Girard beat Saegertown (5-0), Hickory (3-2) and Lakeview (14-5) to advance to the District 10 title game before losing to Fairview (14-8) in the title game.
Players to Watch: Moniteau: Derek Boben is 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA and also is hitting .327, while Jake Jewart is hitting .360 and Zach Adamson is hitting .366. Girard: Nate McKenrick should get the start after going 8-2 with a 0.85 ERA. Brenden Kohan leads the YellowJackets with a .447 batting average, while Vinny Monico is hitting .418.
(9-1) Punxsutawney vs. (7-2) Blackhawk
When: 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 6, at Showers Field in DuBois.
How they got here: Punxsutawney had to win one game, the District 9 title game, to reach this game beating Clearfield 8-1 way back on May 26. The Chucks were supposed to play Obama Academy in a sub-regional game last week, but Obama Academy forfeited the game. Blackhawk beat South Fayette (5-0), West Allegheny (7-0) and Knock (7-2) to reach the WPIAL title game before losing in the title game, 4-3, to Chartiers Valley
Players to Watch: John Matthews, a Kent State recruit, has been nearly unhittable this year and recently set the school record with 189 career strikeouts. He has pitched just once since May 18, the District 9 title game, so he should be plenty rested. Offensively, Braxton Giavedoni, Lance Pennington and Brandon Matthews lead a formidable lineup that has helped the Chucks to a 16-1 mark since coming back from a spring trip to Virginia. Blackhawk: The Cougars are led by a couple of terrific pitchers in Mark Engel and Andy McClymonds. Engel went into the WPIAL title game with a 7-2 record and a 1.25 ERA, while McClymonds was 6-0 with 0.51 ERA, while Michael Turconi is hitting .448, Adam Robinson .369 with 19 RBIs and Jimmy Nixon .359 with 21 RBIs (all stats were heading into the WPIAL title game).
(9-1) DuBois Central Catholic vs. (5-2) Windber
When: 5 p.m. Monday, June 6, at Brockway High School
How they got here: DCC beat Cameron County (13-0, 5 innings), A-C Valley (4-1) and Clarion (2-1) to win its second title in three years. Windber made a run at the title game out of the seventh seed upsetting second-seeded Conemaugh Township (3-2) in the first round before out slugging third-seeded Shade (14-13) in the semifinals. It then lost to Meyersdale, 4-0, in the title game.
Players to Watch: DCC: Riley Assalone entered the District 9 title game with a 0.53 ERA and had pitched 53 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. That streak ended in the fourth inning against Clarion but she still only allowed the one run. Offensively, Jordy Frank entered the D9 title game hitting .822 with 12 home runs, 11 doubles, eight triples and 41 RBIs with an OPS 2.254. Freshman Ashley Wruble was hitting .594 with a 1.441 OPs and 35 RBIs, and Macey Hanes was hitting .592 with a 22 RBIs and 1.407 OPs going into the title game. Windber: Taylor McKee is hitting .491 with 28 RBIs, while Jackie Toki is hitting .451 with 23 RBIs and Alivia Bassett is hitting .407. The Ramblers struggle in the circle and have a team ERA of 5.47 led by Baylee Roxby leading the way with a 14-8 record and a 5.35 ERA. She has struck out 146 batters in 142 ⅔ innings of work.
(9-2) Clarion vs. (7-1) West Greene
When: 2 p.m. Monday, June 6, at California University of Pennsylvania
How they got here: Clarion beat Curwensville (3-2) and Coudersport (4-2) to reach the title game before falling (2-1) to DCC. West Greene beat Greensburg Central Catholic (15-0, 4 innings), Union-New Castle (8-2), Monessen (10-0, 5 innings) and Chartiers-Houston (12-3) to win its first WPIAL title.
Players to Watch: Clarion: Going into the D9 title game Maya Thornton was hitting .443 with two home runs, 12 RBIs and an OPs of 1.132, while Keanna Over was hitting .408 and Anna Reed .373 with 20 RBIs. Sadie Rudeseyle is 10-5 with an ERA of right around 1.60 while striking out 88. West Greene: Bailey Bennington, who is headed to perennial D2 powerhouse California (Pa.), was hitting .578 with seven home runs and 34 RBIs heading into the WPIAL title game, while McKenna Lamp was hitting .629, Madison Lampe .472 with five home runs and 39 RBIs and Madison Renner .566 with seven homers and 58 RBIs. Renner is also the pitcher.
Winner: West Greene
(9-1) Moniteau vs. (5-1) Everett
When: 3:30 p.m. Monday, June 6, at Clarion-Limestone
How they got here: Moniteau beat Redbank Valley (10-0, 5 innings) and Cranberry (4-0) to win its third straight District 9 title. Everett beat Chestnut Ridge (9-4) to defend its title. The teams met in last year’s opening round with Everett overcoming a 6-0 deficit to win in nine innings, 8-7.
Players to Watch: Moniteau: Kennedy DeMatteis has been nearly unhittable and has thrown six no-hitters this year while compiling a 0.84 ERA and a 20-1 record. She has 205 strikeouts in 117 innings of work while allowing 40 hits and 34 walks. She is also solid at the plate hitting .588 with 42 RBIs and two home runs. Gabby Stewart leads the Lady Warriors hitting .677 with Cortney Claypoole checking in at .592 with six homers, six triples, nine doubles and 48 RBIs. Kristina DeMatteis, Kennedy’s twin sister, adds a .534 average with 21 home runs, while Sara Hull gives Moniteau five starters hitting over .500 coming in at .516 with 32 RBIs. Everett, also nicknamed the Warriors, is led by pitcher Kadie Morrall, an honorable mention All-State performer last year, while offensively Hannah Laidig, Rae Rice and Sydney Reffner lead the way.
(9-1) Punxsutawney vs. (7-2) West Allegheny
When: 3 p.m. Monday, June 6, at Brockway High School
How they got here: Punxsutawney beat Clearfield 1-0 in the District 9 title game. West Allegheny beat Trinity (9-5), Beaver (3-2) and Yough (1-0) to reach the WPIAL title game before losing to Mt. Pleasant (10-0, 5 innings).
Players to Watch: Punxsutawney: Sophomore pitcher Kylee Lingenfelter has been dominant in the circle this year going 8-3 with a 0.46 ERA while striking out 157 in 76 innings of work. Lingenfelter also leads the offense with a .404 average and 14 RBIs, while Morgan Adamson and Braydon Woodrow each hit .33 and Alli Ishman .327 with three home runs and 13 RBIs. West Allegheny: The Indians, who had a 15-game win streak snapped in the title game, have a pretty good sophomore pitcher of their own in Ashley Seamon who lost her first game in the title game and is 14-1 with an ERA of right around 2.00. She is also hitting. 385 with 23 RBIs. Lexi Cogis is hitting .462, while Mackenzie Partyka is batting .393 with 23 RBIs and Brooke Wilson .392 with four home runs.
Winner: West Allegheny