| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Belle Vernon Area baseball playoff may end before it starts

Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - Belle Vernon's assistant coach Ryan Shetterly. On Friday. May,3, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Jim Ference |  The Valley Independent</em></div>Belle Vernon's assistant coach Ryan Shetterly.  On Friday. May,3, 2013.
- Rostraver Twp. Pa Belle Vernon baseball coach Dan Palm file photo. MV| Jim Ference
Rostraver Twp. Pa Belle Vernon baseball coach Dan Palm file photo. MV| Jim Ference

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Top high school sports

'American Coyotes' Series

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.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 12:36 a.m.

During the last two weeks, due to the tightness of the race in Section 4 AAA, Belle Vernon Area baseball coach Dan Palm said every game was a playoff game for his team.

At the time, he didn't realize that he very well may have been a prophet because those games just might have been the Leps' playoff season.

Even though the Leps (11-8) have qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs and hope to get back to the championship game for the second consecutive year, their playoff picture - and season - is in peril.

During Monday's 10-8 loss to Elizabeth Forward, assistant coach Ryan Shetterly, who was running the team while Palm was serving a district-imposed three-game suspension, was ejected for questioning a controversial call in the third inning.

While that may seem to be a minor issue in most cases, for BVA it could signal a death penalty to their season due to PIAA sanctions imposed on the team last year.

During a PIAA playoff game against Punxsutawney June 5 at St. Mary's, a melee between the two teams took place that saw Palm, two assistant coaches and one BVA player get ejected, along with a coach from Punxsutawney.

As a result of that incident, the PIAA brought down sanctions on the BVA program for two years.

One stipulation in those sanctions, according to BVA Principal Greg Zborovancik and Athletic Director Jesse Cramer, is that no member of the team - coach or player - can be ejected or subject to unsportsmanlike mention in an umpire's game report that is filed to the PIAA.

If that sanction is violated, the PIAA said in its ruling, BVA's baseball team will not be permitted to participate in any postseason play.

Zborovancik and Cramer said that BVA conducted its own investigation into Monday's incident at EF and filed a report with the PIAA. They are awaiting a decision on BVA's playoff participation fate shortly.

“(WPIAL Executive Director) Tim O'Malley is aware of the situation and said he needs to know by Thursday if we are in the playoffs because that's when the WPIAL makes it playoff pairings,” Zborovancik said. “We are hoping that the PIAA will allow our players to play in the playoffs.”

PIAA spokesperson Melissa Mertz said Tuesday afternoon that the PIAA had all of the information it needed and, “has been discussing the case as a staff.” She said she had hoped a decision would be handed down by the end of the day.

However, as of Tuesday night, no decision had been announced.

Cramer said that the district has already decided that if BVA is permitted to play in the WPIAL playoffs, Palm will coach the team as his suspension will end by then. However, Shetterly will be suspended the rest of the season.

Both Zborovancik and Cramer said that Shetterly denied saying anything derogatory to the game umpire and claimed that when he came out of the dugout and approached the umpire he was immediately ejected.

“You never know, considering our situation with the PIAA, if an umpire may have a quick hook or not,” said Cramer. “It's an unfortunate thing. But we want to do what is right and that's why we had our own investigation.”

Cramer said either he, Zborovancik, or both will be in the Leps' dugout throughout the playoffs if BVA is permitted to participate in the postseason.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
  2. Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
  3. Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
  4. Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
  5. Dollars and sense: High cost of child care keeps many out of work force
  6. Former Cal U football player cleared of assault charges sues university, police, prosecutor
  7. Penguins to appear on national TV 18 times in 2015-16
  8. Ambridge’s PittMoss takes off with help from TV show, Mt. Lebanon native Cuban
  9. Gameday: Pirates at Twins, July 28, 2015
  10. Rising East Liberty out of reach for Pittsburgh’s poor
  11. ‘Real’ people, solutions at heart of GOP ad blitz in Pa.