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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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Posts tagged "Hickory baseball"
Posted: March 27th, 2013

Hickory Hornets
Coach (season, record): Gary Hinkson (20th season, 270-115)
2012 overall record: 9-8
2012 region record (place): 4-6 (fourth)
2012 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.
Top players lost: Kevin Pugliese, Andrew Smith, Andrew Schafer, Alex Knisley
Top returning players: Mark DiBattiste, Steven Piston, Tony Stigliano, Brooks Pletcher, Matt DelMonaco, Tommy Cannon
Assistant coaches: Dan Leali, Robert States, Mark Thompson, Ed Chess, Gary Hinkson Jr., Sean Oglesby, Kyle Piper
Outlook: Hickory went through some growing pains last season but the Hornets could be a much-improved team this year. Hickory’s first priority will be replacing Kevin Pugliese, Andrew Smith, Andrew Schafer and Alex Knisley. The four have been important to the program but they have graduated. Smith was voted to the all-region first team as an outfielder, while Pugliese was a first-team utility player. Knisley was voted to the all-region second team at third base and Kirsch was a second-team outfielder. With several big holes to fill, the Hornets will look to a strong returning group for leadership. Mark DiBattiste, Steven Piston, Tony Stigliano, Brooks Pletcher, Matt DelMonaco and Tommy Cannon are all back for Hickory. Pletcher is a second-team second baseman and DiBattiste was voted to the second team as a pitcher. DiBattiste along with Piston and Stigliano will be in the rotation, while Pletcher (second base), DelMonaco (shortstop) and Cannon (catcher) will be important returning starters. The Hornets could receive big contributions from the younger players but Hickory’s experience group will be tough to beat in Region 2.

25 Saegertown L, 1-19
25 South Park L, 0-12
1 Rocky Grove 4
2 at Grove City 4
3 Sharon* 4
5 Sharpsville* 4
8 at Mercer* 4
10 at West Middlesex* 4
15 at Wilmington* 4
17 Commodore Perry* 4
19 Union City 4
22 at Reynolds* 4
24 at Sharon* 4
26 at Kennedy Catholic 4
29 at Sharpsville* 4
1 Mercer* 4
2 at Hubbard (Ohio) 4
6 West Middlesex* 4
8 Wilmington* 4
10 at Slippery Rock 4
13 at Commodore Perry* 4
15 Reynolds* 4
*Region 2 games

Coach (season): Tanya McClafferty (1st season)
2012 overall record: 12-6
2012 region record (place): 9-1 (champion)
2012 playoff results: Lost to Warren 6-2 in the District 10 Class AAA semifinals.
Top players lost: Lauren Ferreri, Alexis McBride, Emily Chess
Top returning players: Victoria Tomko, Courtney Maniscalco, Lauren Kizak, Alyssa Kostka, Morgan McBride, Madison Collier, Chelsea Marriott
Assistant coaches: Jason McClafferty, Tony Ferreri, Mike Jones
Outlook: Hickory put together a terrific season in 2012 and will look to repeat that success with a new head coach. Tanya McClafferty takes over this season and has an experienced group back to lead. Hickory returns six starters this season but will have to replace Lauren Ferreri, Alexis McBride and Emily Chess. Ferreri was voted to the all-region first team at second base, while McBride was voted to the second team at shortstop. The Hornets return several standout players, including all-region selections Victoria Tomko (outfield), Madison Collier (outfield), Chelsea Marriott (designated player) and Morgan McBride (catcher). Hickory also returns Courtney Maniscalo, Lauren Kizak and Alyssa Kostka. Hickory has a young team with plenty of depth. The Hornets have experience and a strong group of freshmen on the roster this season. Marriott and Kizak will see time on the mound, while Danielle Collier, Megan States and Hannah Gallagher are new players that could not only see playing time right away, but start. Hickory has a new challenge in the region as well. Corry moved over from the northern Class AAA region to the southern region. The Hornets also scheduled Sharon and Wilmington in the non-region schedule as Hickory should be battle-tested heading toward the postseason. If the Hornets can get back into the playoffs, they could be a surprise team.

5 at Fort Mill (S.C.)
6 at Fort Mill (S.C.)
10 Hubbard (Ohio) 4
11 at Meadville* 4
13 Corry* noon
16 at Conneaut* 4
18 Grove City* 4
20 at Corry* noon
23 Slippery Rock* 4
27 Mercer 4
30 Meadville* 4
1 Sharon 4
7 Conneaut* 4
9 at Grove City* 4
14 at Slippery Rock* 4
16 Wilmington 4
17 at Union City 4
*Region 6 games

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: March 23rd, 2012

Hickory Hornets
Coach (season, record): Gary Hinkson (19th season, 261-109)
2011 overall record: 9-6
2011 region record (place): 7-3 (co-champion)
2011 playoff results: Defeated Union City 12-4 and lost to Titusville 11-9 in the District 10 Class AA playoffs.
Top players lost: Nick DiBartolomeo, Tyler Gargano, Reese Swatsworth, Jon Korpon
Top returning players: Andrew Schafer, Kevin Pugliese, Alex Kirsch
Assistant coaches: Dan Leali, Robert States, Mark Thompson, Lukas Gurrera, Gary Hinkson Jr.
Outlook: Hickory has been a perennial contender in recent history but the Hornets may go through a rebuilding year this season. Hickory lost Nick DiBartolomeo, Tyler Gargano, Reese Swatsworth and Jon Korpon to graduation. DiBartolomeo is competing for Youngstown State, while Swatsworth is at Grove City. The Hornets took a huge hit in their lineup and starting rotation and will need several underclassmen to step up. Andrew Schafer, Kevin Pugliese and Alex Kirsch return this spring to lead the way. Schafer, a senior, is moving to catcher, while Pugliese will move around from second base to shortstop and outfield. Kirsch can be a big-time player in the outfield and leader of the offense. The Hornets have the pitching this season behind juniors Steven Piston and Mark DiBattiste, but Hickory is young and inexperienced in most areas. There should be stiff competition in camp for the starting lineup and rotation spots.

23 Saegertown (in S.C.) TBA
24 South Park (in S.C.) TBA
29 Franklin 4
31 North East 11 a.m.
2 Grove City 4
9 at West Middlesex 4
13 Sharpsville* 4
16 at Mercer* 4
17 Kennedy Catholic 4
20 Wilmington* 4
23 at Jamestown 4
25 Sharon* 4
26 at Reynolds* 4
2 at Sharpsville* 4
3 Mercer* 4
7 at General McLane 4
9 at Wilmington* 4
11 at Sharon* 4
14 Rocky Grove 4
16 Reynolds* 4
*Region games

Coach: Tony Rock
2011 overall record: 14-4
2011 region record (place): 10-0 (champion)
2011 playoff results: Lost to Fort LeBoeuf 10-0 in the District 10 playoffs.
Top player lost: Elizabeth Palumbo
Top returning players: Lauren Ferreri, Alexis McBride, Emily Chess, Morgan McBride, Madison Collier
Assistant coaches: John Vellente, Ed Chess, Mark Woods, Taylor McClafferty
Outlook: Hickory could be one of the teams to beat this season with nearly everyone back from last year’s team. The Hornettes are coming off their first region championship since 1999 and have plenty of experience. Hickory lost Elizabeth Palumbo to graduation, but Lauren Ferreri, Alexis McBride, Emily Chess, Morgan McBride and Madison Collier are back. Ferreri was an all-district second baseman that hit .518 last spring, while Chess was the region pitcher of the year and a first-team first baseman. McBride and Collier were both named to the all-region second team. Hickory could receive contributions from pitcher/first baseman Megan Chess and infielder Chelsey Marriott this season as they transition to varsity. Class AAA is always a brutal class to win a District 10 championship in but with the experience the Hornettes gained last spring, they could be in the mix for the D-10 title.

26 Union City 4
27 at Mercer 4
29 Wilmington 4
2 at Fort Mill (S.C.) 5:30
9 at Sharon 4
12 Jamestown* 4
14 at Franklin* 11 a.m.
17 at Titusville 4
19 Meadville* 4
21 at Brookfield (Ohio) 11 a.m.
23 Commodore Perry 4
24 Slippery Rock* 4
26 at Grove City* 4
1 at Jamestown* 4
2 Franklin* 4
8 at Meadville* 4
10 at Slippery Rock* 4
15 Grove City* 4
18 at Wilmington 4
*Region games

– Tom Reisenweber

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