A-K Valley athletes shine at Keystone State Games
The Alle-Kiski Valley was well represented over the weekend in both the youth ice hockey and baseball tournaments at the annual Keystone State Games amateur sports festival.
The Central Region girls 19U hockey team, with 2017 Freeport graduate Cassie Suran (forward) and sisters Madison (defense) and Miranda (forward) Naylor, both rising juniors at Burrell, captured the gold medal.
It went 3-0 in the four-team round robin tournament, outscoring its three opponents 10-4.
“It was a speechless feeling. This is something we will always remember,” said Suran, a member of the Pens Elite 19U team the past three seasons who will play this fall for the women’s squad at SUNY Morrisville.
It was the first gold medal captured by a Central Region girls hockey team at the Keystone State Games.
“In the first game, we were really moving well together as a unit,” said Suran, who, because of age restrictions, played her last of nine Keystone State Games tournaments.
“We kept playing well the whole tournament.”
It wasn’t the first time Suran and the Naylor sisters were on the same team. They also played together in a tournament last summer.
Two West Region hockey teams won silver medals in their respective tournaments.
Kiski Area’s Aiden Sites and Liam Alexander, both defensemen, helped the West boys Bantam 14U team go 2-1 and place second to the South Region (3-0).
The team scored 11 goals and gave up just five.
The West Pee Wee 12U team, featuring defenseman Anthony Smith from Plum and forward Dom Casile from Fox Chapel, also picked up a pair of wins in three games and placed second to the South Region (3-0).
Forwards Grace and Lillian Johnson, a rising senior and freshman, respectively, in the Highlands School District, took to the ice for the Central 19U girls team. The squad was not able to score a victory in three games, but it did earn a point when their game with the South went to a shootout.
Cale Patten, a rising sophomore goaltender from Knoch, played for the Central Bantam 14U team. The team hoped for better results over its three games but was not able to score a victory.
The West baseball team, featuring Kiski Area’s Billy Perroz, Freeport’s Zach Allen and Jarrett Heilman and Fox Chapel’s Alex McRandal, all rising seniors, earned the silver medal in the scholastic division after a 2-1 loss to Blue Mountain No. 1 in the championship game Sunday at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre.
Blue Mountain No. 1 avenged a 5-3 loss to the West in pool play.
Perroz, a rising senior at Kiski Area, doubled and singled in the title game and scored the lone West run on a Blue Mountain throwing error.
“It was a tough game, but (Blue Mountain) was a pretty good team,” Perroz said. “We knew it was going to be pretty competitive. It was close the first time we played them.”
The teams each finished pool play with 3-1 records.
The West posted a pair of shutouts and finished its four pool games outscoring opponents 17-13.
“It was a lot of fun to meet the guys from different schools,” said Perroz, who took the field with the players from Freeport and Fox Chapel, as well as those from Serra Catholic, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Armstrong, Avonworth and Albert Gallatin.
“We came together and played well without a lot of time to get ready before. We really trusted each other on the field.”
One of the highlights of the three days of games came in the tournament’s opener as Armstrong’s Eli Wiles threw a seven-inning no-hitter with 11 strikeouts to help lift the West to a 6-0 win over Lehigh Valley.
“It was nice to sit back there and watch him pitch well,” said Perroz, who played center field in that game. “I didn’t have to make a play. He was really in control.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-856-7400 x8632, [email protected] or via Twitter .