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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Winter Warm-up – Saegertown

Saegertown Panthers
Baseball
Coach (season, record): Tim Crum (6th season, 84-18)
2012 overall record: 23-2
2012 region record (place): 8-0 (champion)
2012 playoff results: Defeated Northwestern (5-4), Sharon (2-1) and Titusville (8-4) to win the District 10 Class AA championship. Saegertown then defeated Shady Side Academy 4-1 in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before losing to North Star 2-0 in the quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Ryan Paden, Hunter Johnston, Duncan Brode
Top returning players: Stephen Sada, Jacob DiGiacomo, Luke Carter, Austin Scere, Tyler Walters, Kyle Wise, Luke Basko, Drew Durasa, Mitchell Wood, Scott Sada
Assistant coaches: Dean Wood, Roy Campbell, Ray Duvall, Ryan Paden
Outlook: Saegertown is a team to keep an eye on not only in District 10 but on the state level as well. The Panthers have an experienced group back with only a few holes to fill. Ryan Paden, an all-region first-team pitcher, graduated and is back as a volunteer coach. Hunter Johnston did not come out this season to focus on his training as a cross country runner after receiving a Division I offer. He will be tough to replace along with Duncan Brode, who transferred back to Meadville. Saegertown’s returning group includes Stephen Sada, Jacob DiGiacomo, Luke Carter, Austin Scere, Tyler Walters, Kyle Wise, Luke Basko, Drew Durasa, Mitchell Wood and Scott Sada. Stephen Sada is the District 10 Player of the Year and will play at Miami (Ohio) next season. He is an all-district selection and first-team shortstop. Walters is another important returning player and one of the top hitters in the state. He is an all-state catcher and a Division I prospect. Wood (second base), Carter (third base), Scere (outfield), Wise (outfield) and DiGiacomo (pitcher) are returning first-team selections, while Durasa is a returning second-team utility player. Scott Sada could be a four-year standout for Saegertown after earning a spot in the outfield as a freshman last year. The Panthers could also receive contributions from Matt Thompson, a transfer from Meadville, and catcher Tyler McCray. Saegertown has depth, speed, experience, some power and a strong defense this season. It’s hard to find many weaknesses with the Panthers this spring especially after they gained valuable playoff experience in 2012. With two straight D-10 titles and two appearances in the PIAA quarterfinals, Saegertown is looking to make a run at a chance to play in State College this year.

Schedule
March
23 South Park L, 0-8
23 Allderdice L, 7-11
25 Hickory W, 19-1
April
3 at Slippery Rock W, 13-1 5 innings
5 McDowell W, 10-4
9 at Maplewood* W, 16-0 3 innings
11 Cambridge Springs* PPD
15 at Union City* 4
16 Meadville 4
22 Cochranton* 4
24 Maplewood* 4
27 at McDowell noon
29 at Cambridge Springs* 4
May
2 at Cathedral Prep 4
3 at Meadville 3:30
7 Union City* 4
10 Conneaut 4
14 at Cochranton* 4
*Region 3 games

Softball
Coach (season, record): Mark McKissock (3rd season, 37-7)
2012 overall record: 20-3
2012 region record (place): 14-2 (co-champion)
2012 playoff results: Defeated West Middlesex 1-0 and Sharpsville 11-2 to win the District 10 Class A championship. Saegertown then defeated Bellwood-Antis 4-1 in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before losing to Chartiers-Houston 4-3 in the quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Marissa Parker, Belle Mazurik, Hallie Kirdahy
Top returning players: Rachel DiBartolomeo, Arianna Hanley, Elizabeth Lilly, Courtney Lilly, Mackenzie Garris, Tori Eckart, Jess Tomiczek
Assistant coaches: John Kutz, Tom Brunot, Joy Jordan
Outlook: Saegertown’s softball team is in line for a big season much like the baseball team. The Panthers took Class A by storm last year and look like a strong favorite this spring. Saegertown lost Marissa Parker, Belle Mazurik and Hallie Kirdahy to graduation. Kirdahy was a second-team third baseman last year and Mazurik drove in plenty of runs for the Panthers. Saegertown returns Rachel DiBartolomeo, Arianna Hanley, Elizabeth Lilly, Courtney Lilly, Mackenzie Garris, Tori Eckart and Jess Tomiczek this season. DiBartolomeo was a first-team catcher and region player of the year, while Hanley is a first-team pitcher and region pitcher of the year. Elizabeth Lilly (second base) was a first-team selection along with Courtney Lilly (outfield). Saegertown has plenty of starters back with experience and a strong freshman class to support them. The Panthers have five seniors for leadership to go with four juniors, six sophomores and five freshmen. Saegertown has experience, leadership and talent this season and it will take a huge effort by a Class A team to stop the Panthers from repeating as District 10 champions.

Schedule
March
Spring trip 3-2
April
4 Sharpsville W, 16-4 5 innings
8 General McLane W, 8-4
9 at Maplewood* W, 2-1
11 Cambridge Springs* 4
15 at Union City* 4
22 Cochranton* 4
24 Maplewood* 4
29 at Cambridge Springs* 4
May
1 at Conneaut 4
3 at McDowell 4
7 Union City* 4
10 Conneaut 4
14 at Cochranton* 4
*Region 3 games

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Baseball, Softball, Winter Warm-up

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