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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
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Winter Warm-up – McDowell

McDowell Trojans
Baseball
Coach (season, record): Mike Hayes (17th season, 248-89)
2012 overall record: 19-4
2012 region record (place): 8-0 (champion)
2012 playoff results: Defeated Strong Vincent 9-2 to win the District 10 Class AAAA championship. McDowell then defeated Allderdice 9-2 in a PIAA subregional before losing to Mount Lebanon 7-4 in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
Top players lost: Ryan Kaverman, Ryan Platz, Luke Nientimp, Alex Margraf, Matt Sardini
Top returning players: Jake Wolfe, Mark Fuchs, Riley Warren, Jake Suppa, Tyler Mello, Brian Bohman, Zack Borsa, Matt Hansen, Cody Ballay, Mark Kightlinger, James Achille
Assistant coaches: Joe Daoust, Tom Hansen, Mike Lombardi, Joe Frey, Tom Mello
Outlook: McDowell continues to dominate the highest class in District 10 and is looking for another D-10 championship this season. The Trojans will have some big holes to fill, including Ryan Kaverman, Ryan Platz, Luke Nientimp, Alex Margraf, Matt Sardini. Kaverman hit .328 with 20 RBIs and was voted to the all-region first team at first base. He also went 5-1 with a 1.22 ERA on the mound. Platz hit .311 with 18 RBIs, while Nientimp is competing for Tennessee Tech. Nientimp went 5-3 with a 3.25 ERA and was voted to the all-region first team at third base and at pitcher. Margraf hit .444 with 24 RBIs and 25 runs scored to be voted to the first team at shortstop and Sardini hit .310 with 18 runs scored. He was voted to the all-region second team at outfield. McDowell has some experience to lean on this spring. Seniors Jake Wolf, Mark Fuchs, Riley Warren, Jake Suppa, Tyler Mello, Brian Bohman and Zack Borsa are back along with juniors Matt Hansen, Cody Ballay, Mark Kightlinger and James Achille. Suppa is a returning all-region first-team designated hitter, while Warren is a second-team outfielder and Borsa is a second-team utility player. McDowell will look to execute on offense and applying to defense will be key. The pitching staff and defense are strong this season and if the Trojans’ offense can step up, McDowell could be a dangerous team in the state playoffs. Borsa, Ballay, Fuchs and Nick Christensen are in line to pitch, while Bohman, Wolf, Mello, Suppa, Hansen, Warren and Kightlinger look like starters in the lineup along with Borsa and Ballay when they aren’t pitching. McDowell started the season with some impressive wins against out of town teams and the Trojans have loaded their schedule up, once again.

Schedule
March
26 Bay Port (Wisc.) W, 7-2
27 Clarkstown (N.Y.) W, 13-11
April
3 at Butler W, 7-2
5 at Saegertown L, 4-10
6 at Upper St. Clair W, 9-3
6 at North Allegheny L, 1-4
10 at Central Tech* PPD
12 Strong Vincent* 4
15 at Warren 4
17 East* 4
20 St. Edward (Ohio) 10 a.m.
20 St. Joseph’s (N.Y.) 7
22 at Grove City 4
25 Cathedral Prep* 7
26 Central Tech* 4
27 Saegertown noon
May
1 at Strong Vincent* 4
7 at East* 4
13 at Cathedral Prep* 6:30
17 General McLane 4
*Region 8 games

Softball
Coach (season, record): Maureen Bailey (4th season, 37-30)
2012 overall record: 12-10
2012 region record (place): 9-7 (fifth)
2012 playoff results: Defeated Strong Vincent 12-2 to win the District 10 Class AAAA championship. McDowell then defeated Brashear 7-1 in a PIAA play-in game before losing to Canon-McMillan 4-0 in the first round.
Top players lost: Ashley Samluk, Chrissy Loader, Sydne Pollifrone, Steph Baltes
Top returning players: Tara Carone, Mackenzie Hewett, Crystal Flagg, Lexi Fuller, Jenna Pecar, Emily Lojewski, Cailin Kolb, Courtney Krahe
Assistant coaches: Joanna Keller, Casee Piquet, Jolene Gerlach
Outlook: McDowell rolled to another District 10 Class AAAA championship last season. The Trojans have been a tough out in the PIAA playoffs and will look to make a deep run this season. McDowell will have to replace Ashley Samluk, Chrissy Loader, Sydne Pollifrone and Steph Baltes, who are gone to graduation. Samluk is playing for Slippery Rock this season and hit .299 as a senior. She was voted to the all-region second team at shortstop, while Loader is a second-team outfielder. Loader hit .418 as a senior, while Pollifrone and Baltes were big contributors as well. The Trojans have a young but experienced team back this year. Pitcher Mackenzie Hewett has been a standout pitcher for the past few years and will be a big key this season. Hewett had a 1.85 ERA and 182 strikeouts as a junior and held opponents to a .187 batting average. Tara Carone, Crystal Flagg, Lexi Fuller, Jenna Pecar, Emily Lojewski, Cailin Kolb and Courtney Krahe are all back as well. Carone hit .408 last year and had a .986 fielding percentage and Flagg hit .406 without committing an error. Hewett and Carone are back as a solid battery and Flagg and Carone make up one of the top hitting duos in the area. McDowell has a tough non-region schedule and plays in one of the toughest, if not the toughest, regions in District 10. The Trojans look like a heavy favorite to win the District 10 championship but how they progress this season will determine how far they can go in the PIAA playoffs.

Schedule
March
26 McMinn (Tenn.) W, 12-3
27 Morgantown (W.Va.) W, 7-2
April
4 at East* W, 22-0 3 innings
9 Mercyhurst Prep* W, 10-0 5 innings
11 Central Tech* 4
16 Strong Vincent* 4
18 at Warren* 4
20 at North Allegheny 1
23 Fort LeBoeuf* 4
24 Butler 4
26 Corry 4
27 Shaler 1
30 East* 4
May
2 at Mercyhurst Prep* 4
3 Saegertown 4
7 at Central Tech* 4
9 at Strong Vincent* 4
13 at Fairview 4
14 Warren* 4
16 at Fort LeBoeuf* 4
*Region 7 games

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Baseball, Softball, Winter Warm-up

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