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Guido: Mother Nature gets another laugh in wild '14 season

Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Deer Lakes' Tiffany Edwards (left) shakes hands with Sierra Sarver during the WPIAL Class AA softball championship Thursday, May 29, 2014, at Cal (Pa.)'s Lilley Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Deer Lakes' Tiffany Edwards (left) shakes hands with Sierra Sarver during the WPIAL Class AA softball championship Thursday, May 29, 2014, at Cal (Pa.)'s Lilley Field.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch - Deer Lakes' Siera Sarver swings at a pitch against Freeport during their game at the No Offseason Sports complex in Culmerville on Tuesday, April 8, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Jason Bridge  |  Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Deer Lakes' Siera Sarver swings at a pitch against Freeport during their game at the No Offseason Sports complex in Culmerville on Tuesday, April 8, 2014.

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'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.

By George Guido
Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 11:33 p.m.

Only in 2014 can you have a high school baseball game called off because of flooded dugouts.

After a spring filled with rain-outs, snow-outs, mini-blizzards, saturated fields and postponements due to impending storms, Monday's situation was emblematic of this season.

A PIAA opening-round doubleheader at Jerry Uht Park in Erie was called off because the dugouts were flooded. Several sudden storms in the area accounted for the conditions at the home of the minor league Erie SeaWolves.

Things weren't much better several miles away at a PIAA softball tripleheader at Penn State Behrend, where rain and lightning delays totaling two hours took place.

Deer Lakes was supposed to play Wilmington in a Class AA game originally slated for 4:30 p.m. But the Lancers game didn't start until 6:28 p.m.

The grounds crew at Penn State Behrend deserves plenty of credit for getting the field in shape after the rain.

Problem was, the grounds crew was only on duty until 5:50. The Greensburg Salem-Warren game didn't end until 5:52, and no one was present to authorize extra innings, so District 10 officials got the field ready.

Even sportswriter Tom Reisenweber of the Erie Morning News was recruited for field duty.

Seeing that, yours truly staged a rapid disappearing act.

Fox Chapel crew medals

Members of the Fox Chapel crew club recently won gold, silver and bronze medals at the 2014 Midwest Rowing Association Regatta in Zanesville, Ohio.

Juniors Victoria Covelli, Alexandra Drzewinski and Natalie Walsh and sophomore Katelyn Essey won gold medals in the women's junior quad event.

Juniors Gabrielle Kyle, Cleary Johnston and Madeline Volosky and sophomore Emily Klein, with junior coxswain Elizabeth Constantino brought home the silver in the women's junior four.

Seniors Grant Gaydosh, Axel Hamel and Robert Heister and sophomore Noah Kasian took the bronze in the men's varsity quad.

Gaydosh also won the bronze in the men's varsity single event.

Fox Chapel's crew club competed against students from 48 high schools in eight states.

New look hoops awaits

Local schools are gearing up for the summer basketball season, including some already underway.

As for the new WPIAL basketball realignment that takes effect next season, the biggest story will be the swan song for Kittanning and Ford City high schools.

Kittanning will be in Class AAA boys basketball, but will be shifted away from the local Section 1 to Section 3 with the likes of Indiana, Derry and Greensburg Salem.

Ford City will be in a revamped Section 1-AA with Burrell and Deer Lakes moving up to Class AAA and Greensburg Central Catholic and East Allegheny, with former Valley coach Vern Benson, moving in.

Class A should be interesting with four local teams fighting for playoff spots.

Riverview and Springdale are moving down from Class AA. Riverview expects to have a new coach, and Springdale reportedly has a number of quality rising freshmen and sophomores ready to try to turn around the program's mark of one winning season in the last 19 years.

The Raiders and the Dynamos will join St. Joseph and Leechburg to represent the area.

In girls basketball, Ford City will try to make the playoffs for the 20th straight season, but will be doing it as a Class AAA school against section foes such as Kittanning, Hampton and Mars.

In another major girls change, Class AA runner-up Burrell will be in the same section as Greensburg Central Catholic.

After next year, a mini-realignment will take place to accommodate the new Armstrong High School in Class AAAA.

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

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