Local players helping Seton Hill in playoff run
The Seton Hill University baseball team will be playing in the NCAA Division II World Series that begins Sunday in Cary, N.C.
Two local players, sophomore Mike Bittel and freshman Don McWreath, are members of the Griffins’ pitching staff.
A Peters Township graduate, Bittel has had an excellent season as a starting pitcher. He has an 8-2 record, 1.82 ERA and one save in 15 games (11 starts). He has allowed only 49 hits in 69 1/3 innings.
Bittel gave up only one hit and one run over six innings in Seton Hill’s 4-1 win over Mercyhurst in the opening round of last weekend’s Atlantic Regional. He also started Seton Hill’s first game in the PSAC tournament, a 2-1 loss to Mercyhurst in 12 innings. In that game, Bittel threw eight shutout innings, allowing just five hits.
Bittel was a first team selection on the All-PSAC West Division and American Baseball Coaches Association All-Atlantic Regional teams. He also was a second team pick on the National College Baseball Writers Association’s All-Atlantic Region squad.
A Trinity graduate, McWreath has pitched in five games during his first season with the Griffins, allowing only one run over 6 2/3 innings.
Seton Hill (40-15) will play Minnesota State-Mankato (45-9) in the first round of the World Series.
Taylor Slaney, a junior from Canonsburg, set the University of Pittsburgh record in the women’s javelin when she threw 165-0 ½ at the Virginia Challenge earlier this month.
Slaney broke the school record by more than five feet. The previous record had stood since 2006.
• Westminster sophomore Marissa Kalsey placed third in the women’s pole vault at the NCAA Division III Championships Thursday at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.
A Waynesburg native, Kalsey cleared 12-7½. She was one of three Westminster athletes to qualify for the national meet in the pole vault. Kalsey entered nationals as the No. 3 seed with a season-best vault of 13-1¾.
• Jessica Zimak, a senior at Wheeling Jesuit, won the women’s 10,000-meter run at the Mountain East Conference Championships held at Glenville State College.
A former standout at Trinity High School, Zimak won the race in 39:18. She also competed in the 5,000 meters, finishing as the MEC runner-up in 19:03.
• Wake Forest sophomore Jessie Merckle won her third javelin title of the season when she finished in first place at the Georgia Tech Invitational. A Fort Cherry graduate, Merckle threw 170-11, which is the second-longest throw of her career.
Former McGuffey standout Connor Semple has had a busy and productive season pitching out of the bullpen for Penn State Behrend.
A junior, Semple had a 5-1 record, two saves and a 1.01 ERA in 19 appearances for Behrend, which was 30-14 and won the ECAC South tournament championship.
• John Hlavinka, a sophomore outfielder for Behrend, was named to the Allegheny Mountain Conference second team for the second consecutive year.
A Venetia native and Peters Township graduate, Hlavinka batted .384 with nine stolen bases. He was second on the team with 51 hits and 36 runs.
• California University sophomore Jack Dennis was the recipient of the Bruce Dal Canton Pitching Award, given annually to the Vulcans pitcher who exemplifies greatness of character. The award is named in honor of Dal Canton, a former Cal standout who pitched in the major leagues. He died in October 2008 from esophageal cancer.
Dennis, a native of Toronto, Ontario, tied for the team lead with five wins and ranked third on the pitching staff with a 2.68 ERA. Dennis also was selected to the All-PSAC West Division second team after setting career highs in wins, ERA, innings pitched, starts and complete games. He also threw the Vulcans’ first no-hitter since 2008.
Ashley Morran, a senior shortstop for Point Park, was named to the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference first team.
A Washington native and Trinity graduate, Morran was in contention for getting the KIAC Player of the Year award for the second season in a row. She had another outstanding season, batting .364 and leading the KIAC with 14 doubles, 11 home runs and 47 RBI in 43 games. She was fourth in the conference in hits (52) and slugging percentage at .706. More than half of Morran’s hits went for extra bases.
A four-year starter, Morran is a two-time NAIA All-American who hit 40 career home runs and drove in 174 runs in 166 games.
• California shortstop Breanna Morris, a junior from Waynesburg, was one of five Vulcans named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association first team all-region squad.
Morris set a career high and ranked third in the PSAC with a .430 batting average and .490 on-base percentage. Morris started every game and produced 12 doubles, five home runs, 32 RBI and 36 runs. She was a second team selection by the NFCA last year.
• Morgan Matetic, a graduate of Peters Township, made a big impact for George Washington. Matetic, a sophomore third baseman, finished the season leading the Colonials in several offensive categories, including slugging percentage (.639), on-base percentage (.472) and walks (18). She also tied for the team lead with six home runs and ended the season with a .313 batting average.
Otterbein’s ulie Stroyne, a senior from Venetia and a Peters Township graduate, was named the Ohio Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the fourth time in her career, becoming the first tennis player, male or female, to achieve that honor.
Stroyne was perfect in conference play, posting 8-0 records at both first singles and with partner Sammi Kruger in first doubles. Over the course of her career, Stroyne had a 33-0 record in conference matches.
Stroyne also received the Clyde Lamb Award at the OAC Awards dinner in Columbus. The award is given to the top male and female student-athletes from each of the 10 OAC schools. The recipient must have participated in at least two years in an OAC-sponsored sport, be a senior, have a minimum grade-point average of 3.00 and display sportsmanlike conduct in a manner that has brought credit to the athlete’s institution.
A nursing major, Stroyne finished her career with a 141-18 overall record, going 73-8 in singles and 68-10 in doubles. She led the Cardinals to their first NCAA Division III tournament appearance this spring.