Greensburg Tribune-Review: Blairsville's John Distefano, Greensburg Salem's Kellie Hutchinson

| Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

John Distefano

School: Blairsville

Year: Junior

Sport: Baseball

Claim to fame: Distefano, who was batting .438 with 13 runs scored and 17 RBI before the start of the PIAA playoffs, hit the game-winning single for Blairsville (16-2) in the bottom of the sixth inning of a 3-2 win over Mount Union in the District 6-AA championship game May 29. Distefano, who had 21 hits with seven doubles, a triple and home run in the regular season, also hit the game-tying single in a 7-6 win over Central in the semifinals May 23. Distefano scored the game-winning run on a balk.

“It was a great run for us ,especially the semifinal and championship games in the District 6 playoffs,” Distefano said. “It was the first time for Blairsville to win a District 6 championship, and it feels great to be part of a team to accomplish that.”

The semifinal game ended on a balk. Have you seen a crazier finish?

In the championship game, Cameron Livingston singled before I got up to bat. When I came up, I called time but the ump didn't hear me, but the pitcher did so they called a balk on him moving Cameron over to second base. After that, I was able to drive Cameron in on a single. Balks played key roles in both of our victories. I couldn't think of anything crazier that could have happened to help us win.

What will you be doing during the offseason?

I will be playing for my senior Legion team and for the Blairsville Colts for County Legion. I will be playing short and third in the senior Legion and short in County Legion. I will be training and doing a lot of (batting practice) in the cages during the winter.

What do you need to improve?

In particular, I will be working on being able to drag bunt. If I was able to get some down this year, I would have been able to get some more hits. Also, I want to build more strength in my arm.

What MLB player have you always looked up to?

I'd have to say Jack Wilson. He use to be with the Pirates and he was one of my favorite shortstops. Also, I would say Alex Rodriguez because he can crank it from third base.

Who's been a huge influence in your life and why?

I'd have to say my father. He's a nice guy and kept me in line. I look up to him. Also, Mark Palmer and coach (Mark) Zerfoss. Mr. Palmer taught me about hitting and keeping my head in the game. Coach Zerfoss just taught me to stay back on the ball and keep my head in it. They both taught me a lot about baseball.

Kellie Hutchinson

School: Greensburg Salem

Year: Junior

Sport: Softball

Claim to fame: Hutchinson had three hits and four RBI to lead Greensburg Salem (22-2) to an 8-0 win over Ambridge on May 30 as the Golden Lions captured their first WPIAL Class AAA championship in school history. Second baseman Hutchinson hit a RBI double in the first inning, RBI single in the fifth and plated two on a single the sixth. She is hitting .610 in the playoffs, with eight RBI.

“I simply try to put the ball in play,” Hutchinson said. “The runs that came off the hits were a bonus for the team. With all the run support, Jayne (Oberdorf) was able to pitch her game. We were able to play our type of game rather than play their game.”

What is it like to be part of a team that has been so successful?

I mean we have to keep going and make more history. Everyone is pretty much rooting for us. I don't think anyone can beat us if we are playing our game. If we continue to play solid defense and get the ball in play, everything with fall into place.

Who do you think is the best player on the team?

I would have to say Claire Oberdorf. We have been together as a duo. On the field we are always trying to turn the double play and we are good friends. She's a sophomore and she has so many schools looking at her already, so I would have to say Claire is the most talented.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

To never give up. We have been down in so many games. The Highlands game, we were down in the seventh. You need to remember that one thing can change the outcome. We like to jump on teams early but you can get back up in at any moment.

If you were able to purchase one thing, what would it be and why?

A puppy. I have been bugging my parents to get me one. I have never had a dog. They are looking into getting me one soon. I want to get either a chocolate or black lab.

— Andrew John

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