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Guido: West Deer HS had storied baseball past

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 12:26 a.m.

Deer Lakes was trying to make the WPIAL baseball finals for the first time in school history, but the Lancers were blanked by Quaker Valley, 4-0, on Tuesday.

Had Deer Lakes won, it would have been the first time a team from that territory had made it to the finals since 1949.

That year, West Deer High School lost to Vandergrift in the WPIAL title game.

In those days, there were no enrollment classifications — just one big playoff tournament.

In 1945, West Deer also made the finals in what was the first season of varsity sports at the school. The Braves lost to McKeesport.

The school opened in the 1942-43 year with just sophomores, then added more 10th graders the next two years to attain a full complement of students.

West Deer historian and alumni association head Dan Angeloni said that prior to 1942, most West Deer students quit school after ninth grade. Those who wanted to stay in school had a choice of seven high schools to attend, including Etna, Springdale and Tarentum.

Root football

Root Sports announced it will again carry a scholastic package for the 18th consecutive year.

ROOT will feature Thursday night football and WPIAL playoff games, culminating with the WPIAL finals Nov. 23 at Heinz Field.

The outlet can begin covering Thursday games starting Sept. 5. The season begins Aug. 30, but schools are not allowed to play a Thursday game that week. Allderdice wanted to play Steubenville on Aug. 29, but the PIAA turned down the request.

Coverage will continue with the first night of the playoffs Nov. 1.

WPIAL executive director Tim O' Malley said programming includes WPIAL football championships over the next five years.

Since 1996, ROOT and its predecessor, Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh, has covered 152 high school games.

“It's been an incredible journey covering our region's high school football for nearly two decades,” said Shawn McClintock, senior vice president and general manager of ROOT Sports. “High school football is a tradition deeply embedded in Western Pennsylvania history, and we look forward to honoring that tradition for many years to come.”

The Pirates have only one Thursday night game in September, clearing the way for mostly live telecasts.

Leechburg football reunion slated for June

Leechburg football players who played under coaches Frank and Larry Cignetti, along with Don Olshansky, will have a June 22 reunion. The event will take place at the Leechburg Elks from 6 to 10:30 p.m.

Reunion organizers Mark George and Frank Diani are both former Leechburg football players. Tickets will be $20.

Leechburg players from that era can register for the reunion by accessing the school district's website at www.leechburg.k12.pa.us.

George and Diani said reservations are due by June 8.

All three coaches are members of the Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.

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