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Former California teammates may soon be college rivals

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, July 19, 2014, 6:15 p.m.

Two of perennial power California High School baseball team's most recent standout pitchers could be going against each other in 2015.

Josh Luko, the 2014 WPIAL Baseball Coaches' Association's Class A Pitcher of the Year, will continue his academic and athletic careers at nearby California University of Pennsylvania.

One of Cal U's divisional rivals is Gannon University in Erie, where Luko's former teammate, Brian Fisher, finished his freshman season this past spring.

A 6-foot-1-inch, 195-pound left-handed pitcher, Fisher saw limited but successful action for the Golden Knights in 2014.

He appeared in four games with three starts and compiled a 2-1 overall record with a 3.54 ERA.

In his first collegiate start, Fischer pitched a complete game, seven inning, four-hit shutout with five strikeouts in a 13-0 victory over Salem (W.Va.) International.

His other victory was a complete game 6-3 victory over divisional rival Seton Hill University. Fisher also picked up a save by working the final 1.1 innings with allowing just one walk in a 12-9 home win over Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Fisher struck out nine batters in 20.1 innings pitched and opposing teams batted just .239 against him.

In 2013 Fisher received several Player of the Year honors and finished with a 10-4 overall record and 2.17 ERA. He helped the Trojans compile a 20-6 overall record and advance to the semifinals of both the Class A PIAA and WPIAL tournaments.

Luko, a 6-foot, 180-pound right-handed pitcher, led the 2014 Trojans to the program's fourth WPIAL Class A championship and first since 2006.

He went 10-0 overall with two no-hitters and allowed just two walks in 2014. Luko concluded his scholastic career by pitching a complete game 6-1 victory over section rival Carmichaels in the WPIAL Class A championship game.

Despite rain making the game a two-day affair over a three-day period, Luko finished with nine strikeouts, allowed seven hits and one unearned run.

California was a perfect 20-0 overall until losing, 2-1, to Cranberry in the opening round of the PIAA Class A state tournament.

The Trojans became only the sixth team to win a WPIAL baseball title with an undefeated record since the league went to more than one classification in 1979. California joined Freeport (1979), Canevin (1993), West Allegheny (2007), Elizabeth Forward (2011) and South Park (2013).

Luko will now join a Cal U baseball team that missed the conference playoffs for only the second time in the past 14 years and finished 25-22 overall and 12-16 in the PSAC-West in 2014.

Fisher is expected to see considerably more action in 2015 as the Golden Knights are coming off a 15-29 overall record and 10-18 divisional mark.

Prep football on TV

California University Television will offer eight high school football games on tape-delay during the 2014 season.

The CUTV football broadcasts will be on at 8:30 p.m. Sundays and at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays on the Armstrong (Channel 61) and Atlantic Broadband (Channel 17) cable systems and also available on YouTube cutvsports1. The eight-game slate opens with Clairton at California on Aug. 29, followed by Greensburg Central Catholic at Bethlehem Center on Sept. 5. After an idle week, the remaining games include Hollidaysburg at Belle Vernon Area (Sept. 19), Uniontown at Elizabeth Forward (Sept. 26), Bethlehem Center at Frazier (Oct. 3), Derry at Brownsville (Oct. 10), Kiski at Connellsville (Oct. 17) and Jefferson Morgan at Carmichaels (Oct. 24).

This will be CUTV's 29th autumn of broadcasting high school football games.

Bruce Wald is a contributing writer.

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