Mike Burke is wrapping up his pitching career for the Lehigh University baseball team.
Burke (Abington Heights) is a 6-foot right-hander and entered this season having pitched in 32 games with 14 starts for the Mountain Hawks. He’s a full-time starter this season and recently recorded the best game of his career in a 3-0 victory over Holy Cross.
Burke was credited the victory after pitching 6 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, walking five and striking out five. Earlier this season, he threw a complete-game in a 14-1 victory over Mount St. Mary’s. In that game, Burke gave up five hits and one earned run with one walk and seven strikeouts in seven innings.
“Mike has commanded his breaking ball and he’s able to throw that in any count,” coach Sean Leary said. “More than anything, the improvement comes from his experience. He has been in tight spots for three years and just seems to find a way to work through the tough situations.”
Burke is one of the team captains.
“He’s the guy that the other pitchers follow,” Leary said. “He’s our go-to guy. He’s taken everything that he’s had the opportunity to learn and utilized it to be the best pitcher he can be.”
MCDERMOTT FINDS NEW HOME – Billy McDermott (Abington Heights) played second base for the Keuka baseball team as a freshman, He started all 31 games and hit .359 from the plate. This season, the coaching staff moved him to left field and after 18 games he was hitting .373.
“Billy has done a great job adjusting to the move to left field,” coach Rick Ferchen said. “He has solidified that position for the next few years. He reads the ball well and has good speed. He still has things to learn but his willingness to improve has been excellent.”
The coach has no worries about McDermott on offense.
“He’s consistent with the bat and has been coming up with big hits at important times throughout the year,” Ferchen said. “He handles the bat well and has a good idea of his strike zone and what he is able to do. Billy is an important part of our program now and in the future both offensively and defensively.”
BOSLOUGH WEATHERS WEATHER – Junior David Boslough (Lackawanna Trail) recently helped the York Spartans finish fourth out of 12 teams in Scranton’s Glenmaura National Collegiate Invitational. He finished third out of 58 players with a two-round score of 77-77—154. On the final day, he had a 37 on the front and a 40 on the back.
“David has been awesome for us this year,” coach Matt Hunter said. “His stroke average is just over 76.5 and considering that we have played in some terrible weather this spring, he has been an absolute bulldog.”
In the McDaniel Invitational, Boslough was third out of 89 golfers with a 75. Last fall, he had his best round of the year when he posted an even-par 71 to earn medalist honors at the Ursinus Invitational.
SAWICKI A GIANT ANCHOR – Junior Kaitlyn Sawicki (Lackawanna Trail) is starting at first base for the Keystone Giants softball team and after the first 22 games, she’s made just five errors in 151 chances (.967). She’s also doing the job at the plate, hitting .304 (21-for-69) with five doubles, a triple, two home runs, seven RBI and five runs scored.
“Kait is an anchor on the infield at first base,” coach Renee Barrows said. “She plays the position well and her teammates trust her.”
Barrows and Sawicki talked about hitting prior to the start of the season and the player made some adjustments at the plate.
“I think we’re going to see a strong and consistent offensive game out of her the end of this year and next year,” Barrows said.
A FIRST FOR VASSIL – Bethany senior Ryan Vassil (Abington Heights) finished in fifth place at the Bethany Invitational in Wheeling, W.VA. It was the program’s first top-five finish since 2011.
Vassil shot a 76 with a 40 on the front and a 36 on the back – the lowest score of any player on the course on the back nine. He finished just three shots behind the medalist.
“Ryan is a great striker of the ball and his accuracy off the tee box is one of his strong points,” coach Sean Regan said. “Over the past year, Ryan really worked on his short game and this has really developed him into a top player in our conference.”
“I see Ryan battling it out as one of the top ten players in the conference with a good shot at earning an individual bid to the NCAA Tournament,” Regan said. “He’s a great lad, he’s president of his fraternity, carries over a 3.0 GPA and is a natural leader.”
DUO WITH COUGARS – Freshman Alissa Steier of Scott Township (Lakeland High) and sophomore Cailey Ware (Abington Heights) are seeing action with the Misericordia softball team.
Steier is playing second base and pitching.
“Alissa has taken on the role of our closer,” coach Jennifer Probst said. “She finishes the majority of our games. Sometimes we are ahead and other times we are behind or in a tight game. Regardless of the situation, I put her in and she rises to the occasion.”
Ware is playing the outfield .
“Cailey is a great outfielder who has shown a lot of improvement this year,” Probst said. “She is also a fantastic base runner with a ton of speed.”