EXTRA INNINGS: Locke is key to Pirates success this season
Rounding the bases:
First Base: Last October this column opined that if lefthander Jeff Locke were in the starting rotation for the 2013 Pirates, you could kiss an above-.500 season goodbye.
Locke’s claim to shame is in defying a nearly 50-year-old club record for the most starts without a win at the beginning of a career.
THE CHECKERED FLAG: Mercer, Sharon hope to open
MOTHER NATURE hasn’t been kind throughout the month of March and has played havoc with regional racing.
As I type this on Monday afternoon, snow continues to come down with the openers at Sharon Speedway and Mercer Raceway Park looming this weekend.
Historic season ends
While fiction and history have given us many a love affair, perhaps, there has been no great love affair than the one between the Lakeview boys basketball team and its community that has developed over the past four months.
The Lakeview community provided its teenage ‘heroes’ a champion’s return by giving them a firetruck and police escort despite having its storybook season come to a gut-wrenching end with a 56-44 loss to WPIAL champion and No. 1 ranked Beaver Falls (26-3) in the PIAA Western Region Semifinals Saturday afternoon at Edinboro University’s McComb Fieldhouse.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: March Madness is best time of year for sports fanatics
SO IS THERE any better sporting weekend than the one we’re facing this week?
Yeah, Super Bowl weekend is awesome and Daytona 500 is cool for the NASCAR fans out there, but the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament tops any and all comers.
I know many a sports fan that uses sick and/or vacation days on the first Thursday and Friday of the tourney, so they can watch college hoops all day.
EXTRA INNINGS: Battle over 'objectionable' sports-team names is overblown
EVERY ONCE in a while, someone files suit somewhere in this country complaining that they are offended by the use of “disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous, or disreputable” nicknames for sports teams. The complainers cite a law that prohibits registered names that embody the above adjectives.
Lakeview's Breese wins state mat crown
HERSHEY — Lakeview heavyweight Sam Breese certainly knows how to provide a fantastic finish.
The Sailors junior scored a takedown with 2 seconds left in the match to edge Nicholas Budd of Port Allegany, 3-1, and win the state 285-pound title in the PIAA State AA Championships Saturday at Hershey Giant Center.
“It feels amazing,” said Breese. “I’ve worked so hard to get here. I’m not thinking about next year yet. I’m just going to be happy with this for a while. Then I’ll try to come back and repeat.”
Lakeview makes history with PIAA playoff win
SLIPPERY ROCK – If there was ever a thought Casey Greggs wasn’t the emotional center of the Lakeview Sailors boys’ basketball team, all doubt was erased Saturday evening.
Despite missing his first nine field goal attempts, Greggs nailed a pair of pivotal three-pointers to get the Sailors rolling in their thrilling come-from-behind 44-40 victory over WPIAL fourth seed Quaker Valley (20-6) in front a standing room only crowd at Slippery Rock University’s Morrow Field House.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Releasing Harrison could come back to haunt Steelers
I DON’T KNOW if I would’ve had the guts to release James Harrison if I were Kevin Colbert.
The reasons are many and have been well documented by my colleagues in the regional and national media -- namely who’s going to replace him?
But that’s not why I wouldn’t have released him.
EXTRA INNINGS: Cole will start in the minors for Pirates
GERRIT COLE’S fifth appearance of the spring will probably come this weekend, following his performance Sunday when he allowed two runs on two hits in four innings, walking one and striking out two in the 5-2 Pirates win over Baltimore.
Against a lineup of players from the Orioles’ projected major-league roster, Cole’s allowed runs came on a Ryan Flaherty homer (on a 2-0 count) following Cole’s only free pass.
Lakeview's Breese wins region mat crown
Lakeview heavyweight Sam Breese is making his second straight trip to the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships Thursday, but this time there’s a big difference.
Breese is the Northwest Region champion.
Breese had the crowd at Sharon High School cheering loudly as he decked Union City’s Jeff Burger in 1:49 to clinch the 285-pound title. Burger scored a takedown, but Breese reversed and clamped Burger on his back for the win.
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