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Loss won't define Trojans' amazing season

| Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Here's a little food for thought to help get you over the hump:

• Although the California Trojans didn't survive Black Monday in the first round of the PIAA playoffs, that certainly doesn't take away from the season the team and first-year coach Nick Damico enjoyed.

California saw its perfect season end, along with the seasons of two other WPIAL champions (Steel Valley and West Allegheny) in first-round action. Still, the Trojans provided plenty of thrills for their fans through a magical campaign that saw them win 20 games, including the WPIAL Class A title.

It is disappointing when the last game you have to look back on is a defeat. However, in each class, only one team looks back on its last game in the playoffs as a victory.

The Trojans didn't miss a beat after long-time coach Don Hartman turned the reins over to Damico as they rolled through the season in impressive fashion.

The team won games with talent, heart, discipline and skill.

Like any other Cal baseball team, the Trojans were fun to watch. They played the game the way it is supposed to be played.

When I remember this particular crew and season, I won't think about how they lost to Cranberry, 2-1. I will remember how they dominated throughout the first 20 games.

Damico has to bid farewell to a bevy of talented seniors, but this program never rebuilds.

It simply reloads.

• Gotta love this Pirates management team.

The front office went through the first few months of the season telling us that Gregory Polanco was not ready for the majors and that him being kept in Class AAA despite amazing numbers was not because of control over his future. Now the club has said his ascension to the big leagues is imminent — just when calling him up won't affect future control over his rights.

Yeah, right.

• Do you get the impression that Josh Harrison is about one month of continued inspired, productive play away from becoming a Pittsburgh folk hero?

•The more I think of it, the more I really hope the Penguins hire Pierre McGuire as general manager.

I don't know if he would be the best choice, but I really want to hear what the fans would have to say.

That alone would make his hiring worth it to me.

That said, it isn't going to happen.

•Whatever happened to Kevin Parker?

•So many Steelers fans are wondering how the outcome some of the battles in camp will turn out, especially at linebacker, receiver and in the secondary.

I can't wait to see who does the punting and how well he does. I thought the Steelers had one of the worst punting games in the league a year ago, and dictating field position when your defense takes the field is huge.

Matt McBriar ranked 33rd in the league in gross punting yards a year ago.

And there are only 32 teams.

Honest. Look it up.

•You can bet this guy will be watching the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. I'm not much of a horse racing fan, but I have always enjoyed watching the three major races.

It's not often you get the chance to see a horse go for the Triple Crown.

Come on, California Chrome!

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

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