Guido: Deer Lakes readies for Pa. softball power

| Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 12:41 a.m.

The PIAA playoffs is about opportunity. And Deer Lakes (19-1) has the opportunity at 2 p.m. Thursday at Bedford to battle one of the true stalwarts of Pennsylvania scholastic softball.

Philipsburg-Osceola (22-1) has won 620 games since inaugurating the program in 1975. The school hasn't had a losing season since 1979 and has won two state titles —with two PIAA runners-up — and nine District 6 championships. Much of the success has come under 30th-year coach Jim Gonder, who has won 556 games, an average of 18.5 victories per season.

Philipsburg-Osceola School District is a primarily rural area with seven municipalities straddling Centre and Clearfield counties. P-O, as locals refer to it, covers 222 square miles. Contrast that with Deer Lakes, which covers 41.8 square miles.

Grand day for Grandizio

May 28 is a day Shady Side Academy baseball coach Bob Grandizio Jr. won't soon forget.

He and his wife adopted a baby boy, Deacon.

At about the same time, the Indians secured a berth in the PIAA playoffs with a WPIAL Class AA consolation game victory over Deer Lakes.

The win was the 200th of Grandizio's career, and it came when he turned over the coaching reins to Riverview High School graduate John Cappa for the day.

Shady Side won the game on Brian Hannon's walk-off sacrifice fly, scoring Jake Kleindl in the bottom of the seventh.

The Indians aren't finished yet. They defeated District 6 champion Blairsville, 3-1, in eight innings to open the PIAA playoffs Monday.

Lower Burrell resident Paul McCullough, who is 3-1 in this year's postseason, led the Indians. He is headed for Northwestern University and will major in chemical engineering and said he'll try out for the baseball team as a walk-on.

It was Shady Side's first win in the state playoffs since the Indians defeated Derry in the 2003 opening round. In the last seven seasons combined, Shady Side is 108-56 overall.

The Indians will battle WPIAL runner-up Quaker Valley in the quarterfinals Thursday.

Successful crew

Members of Fox Chapel's crew club placed at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America's national championships meet at Cooper River in Camden, N.J.

Placing fifth was the men's junior varsity 2x with junior Grant Gaydosh and freshman Jonah Plock.

Also finishing fifth was the women's lightweight varsity 4+ rowed by seniors Colleen Hamilton, Jessica Kaplan and Kelly Power (coxswain) and sophomores Allison Redfern and Stephanie Roe.

Finishing sixth was the women's junior varsity 4+ rowed by Sarah Burns (coxswain), junior Kimberly Totten and sophomores Katherine Johnson, Gabrielle Kyle and Madison Volosky.

The SRAA regatta consisted of 569 entries from 174 schools across the U.S. and Canada.

Fox Chapel's crew qualified for the meet by placing at the Midwest Scholastic Rowing championships May 11-12 at Dillon Lake in Nashport, Ohio.

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

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