University of Pittsburgh junior Matt Wotherspoon went up against one of the best and proved that he belongs on “the best” list as well.
Wotherspoon (Crestwood) and the Panthers faced No. 16-ranked Notre Dame in a key Big East Conference baseball game last Saturday in Pittsburgh. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound right-hander came away with a 4-2 victory. Pitching for the Fighting Irish was Adam Norton who entered the game with a 7-0 record. Wotherspoon pitched eight innings, allowing both runs, giving up just four hits and striking out five.
“Their guy (Norton) threw a heck of a game but we were able to get some timely hits,” Panthers coach Joe Jordano said. “And Matt just pitched an outstanding game.”
Wotherspoon has made nine starts and has a 5-1 record with a 2.98 earned run average. In 66.1 innings, he’s given up 58 hits and 26 runs, 22 earned. He’s walked 17 and struck out 51.
“Matt has a lot more confidence now and can repeat pitches,” pitching coach Jerry Oakes said. “His mental side of the game is getting better every week.”
Oakes enjoys working with Wotherspoon.
“We have a lot of fun together,” the coach said. “He’s such a great kid and fun to be around. I push him big time to be the best possible but it’s all for the right reasons and he knows that. My goal for Matt for him is to be the best ‘pitcher’ he can be and get him to compete every inning of every game – never taking a pitch or an inning off.”
Senior Sam Parente (Pittston Area) is also having a solid season for Pitt, which is 24-9 overall and 6-3 in Big East play. He’s hitting .311 (39-for-124) with six doubles, three triples, two home runs, 23 RBI and 25 runs scored.
SOROKAS FITS RIGHT IN – Sophomore Bobby Sorokas (Coughlin) is doing the job hitting the baseball and pitching it as well for the Pitt-Bradford baseball team.
The 5-foot-10, 160-pounder is hitting .342 (13-for-38) with a home run, three runs scored and eight RBI. He’s a lefty-hitting outfielder. On the mound, he’s 1-0 in two starts with a 2.19 earned run average. In 12.1 innings, he’s given up seven hits and five runs, three earned, with three walks and six strikeouts. The victory came in a seven inning 11-1 victory over Nichols.
“Bobby came in during the fall and slowly but steadily gained our respect,” coach Bret Butler said. “He earned a starting job through the winter. He is one of the hardest outs on the team with two strikes. He just hangs in there and battles and does not get rattled.”
The coach likes what he sees from Sorokas on the mound.
“He’s earned a rotation job,” Butler said. “He pitched a beauty in a losing cause to league leading PSU-Behrend. He tossed a four-hitter (in 5.1 innings) but go a no decision as we lost in extra innings.”
RECORD FOR HAYWARD – Freshman Dannah Hayward (Coughlin) set a St. Joseph’s record in just her second outdoor meet of the season. She finished fourth out of 45 in the 400 meter hurdles in a time of 1:01.41 at the competitive Colonial Relays in Raleigh, NC. She was the top freshman finisher, the time earning her a spot in the ECAC meet and the junior nationals this summer.
Last weekend, she finished fourth in the 100 hurdles (15.04) and seventh in the 800 (2:21.32) at the Delaware Open.
“Dannah had a marvelous indoor season and has started the outdoor season in a similar manner,” coach Kevin Quinn said. “She’s a terrific kid and quite an athlete and has taken very well to the rigors of college training as well as being very successful academically.”
Two other area athletes are competing with the Hawks – junior Mercedes Yanora (Holy Redeemer) and freshman Sara Radzwilka (Wyoming Area). Zanora finished fourth in the 400 meter dash (59.51) and helped the 4x400 finish second and the 4x100 finish third at Delaware.
GRILLINI PITCHING IN – Sophomore Anthony Grillini has a 2-0 record and a save for the Binghamton baseball team, which is 16-12 overall and 7-7 in America East play.
The 6-foot, 175-pound right-hander, has worked in seven games and has a 4.61 earned run average. In 13.2 innings, he’s given up 16 hits and nine runs, seven earned, with six walks and 10 strikeouts.
“Anthony has become one of our main go-to guys out of the bull pen,” coach Tim Sinicki said. “He is pitching important innings in very important games. He continues to work extremely hard to improve his skills.”
The coach sees Grillini in even a bigger role the next couple of seasons.
“Looking ahead to his junior and senior years, Anthony will get strong consideration to join our starting rotation,” Sinicki said.
YURCHAK IMPRESSES – Sophomore Jackie Yurchak (Hazleton Area) is having a solid season with the Hood softball team. She’s hitting .271 (19-for-70) with a double, three home runs, seven RBI and 12 runs scored. Playing first base, the outfield and catcher for the Blazers, she’s made just three errors on 65 chances (.954).
“I’ve been really impressed with Jackie’s play this year,” coach Terry Burdette said. “She struggled with the bat last season but I knew she had a great work ethic and I gave her some additional hitting work to do outside of practice and it’s really paid off. She is much more relaxed and confident at the plate.”
The coach talked about Yurchak’s versatility.
“Last season, we were short on catchers so Jackie volunteered to catch although her primary position was in the outfield,” Burdette said. “This year, her versatility has helped us at first base in addition to the outfield. Bottom line is that she is a real team player and is a big part of our success thus far.”
The Blazers are 17-12 overall and 5-4 in the Commonwealth Conference.
KRACUM WORKING HARD – Sophomore Nicole Kracum (Hazleton Area) is competing with the Lebanon Valley women’s tennis team. Thus far, she’s 1-0 at No. 6 singles and is 5-0 competing at No. 3 doubles.
“Nicole worked diligently on improving her technique and match play over the summer,” coach Joy Graeff said. “She took private lessons (with Wilkes coach Chris Leicht) and played multiple times a week with her friends. She also tested and found a new racket that added to her style of play.”
Kracum’s doubles play has been a key to the Dutchwomen who are 8-6 overall and 2-1 in Commonwealth Conference play.
“Nicole hurt her knee at the end of the fall, but proved her dedication by rehabbing it to where she is strong and playing some of her best tennis, especially in doubles. She is a pleasure to work with because she listens to advice.”
PIPER DASHES TO RECORD – Sophomore Raisha Piper (Hanover Area) set a Keystone record in the 400 meter dash at the recent Muhlenberg Invitational. Her time was 1:02.90 and was good for 12th place in the race. She also ran a leg on the 4x400 relay that also set a school record (4:16.13). Coach Michael Badway feels he knows the secret to her success.
“A major part of Raisha’s successful start to the outdoor season is because for the first year, she decided to give up basketball and focus on track,” he said. “She is a very versatile sprinter and has earned a spot on both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays that will compete in the Penn Relays (April 25-26 in Philadelphia).”
Piper is currently ranked third in the 400 and fourth in the 200 in the Mason Dixon Conference. That championship is May 3-4 in Newport News, Va.
Senior Rebecca Drumheller (Hazleton Area) is also competing with the Giants. She finished 13th in the 800 meter run (2:33.28) at the Muhlenberg meet.
NOVAK ON THE MOVE
David Novak, of Tunkhannock, had another impressive weekend on his bicycle.
Novak, who rides for Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky, won the Midwestern Collegiate Cycling Conference Region Critireum Sunday in South Bend, Ind.
He finished fourth in the Road Race Regional on Saturday at Purdue University.