Change has been good for a few local athletes who have found new homes this spring sports season.
Tommy Pellis transferred from Penn to Seton Hill, seeking a better on-field opportunity and a chance to play baseball in the area where he grew up.
Pellis, a junior infielder out of Greensburg Central Catholic, is hitting .372 with three home runs through 10 games for the Griffins (4-6). He homered twice in a loss to Winona State.
Before he left the Ivy League for the PSAC, Pellis started seven games last season in the outfield and had four RBIs. He had started 27 games as a freshman and hit .250 with four homers and 12 RBIs.
Collin Liberatore, another Greensburg Central Catholic alum, also changed places. He left Pitt baseball for Indiana State. He is 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA, surrendering seven runs in 22 innings for the Sycamores (12-1).
The redshirt junior sat out last year because of NCAA transfer rules. At Pitt, he had 10 mound appearances and has a 3-1 record with a 6.00 ERA.
Sophomore Zach Kokoska, a baseball standout at Latrobe, went from Virginia Tech to Kansas State, where he is making an impact. He is one of those rare players who doubles as a position player and a pitcher. He has a home run, seven RBIs and five runs in 12 games for K-State. He is 0-1 with two strikeouts as a relief pitcher.
At Virginia Tech, Kokoska played in 14 games but made just one start, as a designated hitter. He had five total bases and hit .267.
Pellis, Liberatore and Kokoska were Tribune-Review Players of the Year.
Norwin graduate Johnna Karas, meanwhile, left Le Moyne, in Syracuse, N.Y., after her freshman year to play softball at Saint Vincent. She played in 11 games as Le Moyne reached the NCAA Division II championship last year, but Karas wanted to be closer to home.
The sophomore second baseman is contributing right away for the Bearcats, is hitting .389 with three runs and three RBIs.
Boston College: Freshman Sal Frelick is hitting .417 (.667 slugging) with 20 hits and 16 RBIs in 12 games. Frelick has ties to the area: His grandfather, Henry, a Hempfield resident, is a former Greensburg Salem quarterback (1959-60).
Sal is from Lexington, Mass. He also is a former Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year in football.
Penn State Behrend: Sophomore Ryan Weaver (Norwin) went 3 for 5 with two runs and a RBI for the Lions in a 9-2 victory over Elizabethtowm in Fort Pierce, Fla.
Pitt-Greensburg: Senior outfielder Chris Common (Penn-Trafford) extended his school record for career home runs with his 23rd, a grand slam in a 9-8 loss to Loras in Auburndale, Fla.
Saint Vincent: The Bearcats wrapped up a 6-1 spring break trip to Florida to open the season. Junior Ramon Milke (Norwin) is hitting .529 with nine RBIs and six runs. Milke earned PAC Hitter of the Week honors.
Junior Mike Hildenbrand has a .455 average, senior Bobby Finn has a home run, four doubles and 11 RBIs, and junior Stone Holtzman has 11 runs.
On the mound, junior Jimmy Malone and freshman Casey Jones are 2-0. Malone has a 2.13 ERA in 12 2/3 innings with 11 strikeouts and four walks. Jones has fanned 16 in 12 innings.
Notre Dame: Sophomore Morgan Ryan (Hempfield) is 1-0 with a 1.67 ERA in 10 appearances for the Fighting Irish. She has 10 strikeouts, four walks and two saves.
Penn State Altoona: Sophomore outfielder Olivia Miller (Yough) is hitting .387 through 10 games with five doubles, a home run and eight RBIs.
Penn State: Freshman pitcher Bailey Parshall (Belle Vernon) reached the 100-strikeout mark 25 games into the her debut season. Parshall has five wins for the Nittany Lions (13-12), who have won six straight. Another freshman, third baseman Chelsea Bisi (Derry), is hitting .260 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 20 games.
Over the weekend, Bisi hit .636 with two home runs and seven RBIs as the Nittany Lions went 5-0 at the South Florida Tournament.
Saint Vincent: SVC went 5-3 during a season-opening trip to Clermont, Fla.
Sophomore Alona Sleith (Yough) was named PAC Hitter of the Week. She is 12 for 23 to begin the year (.522) with two home runs and 15 RBIs. Megan Christner (.467), freshman Sydney Gurneal (.400) and sophomores Lauren Miller (.389) and Johnna Karas (Norwin, .400) also have been productive at the plate. Miller has scored nine runs, and Gurneal and freshman Kelsey Tobin (Hempfield) have eight.
Freshman Celia Knappenberger is 3-0 in the circle with a 1.27 ERA and 19 K’s and three complete games. She was tabbed PAC Pitcher of the Week.
Seton Hill: Sophomore Jenna Osikowicz (Hempfield) is leading the Griffins (9-3) with a .476 batting average (20 for 42). She has driven in seven runs and scored four and has a team-best four stolen bases. Junior Christiana Skrabak (Norwin), meanwhile, is hitting .410 with a team-high 14 runs, two home runs and nine RBIs. Junior Alexis Vargas has 11 RBIs, and senior Abbie Thrower and junior Chelsea Rohan have driven in nine apiece.
Saint Vincent: Senior forward Tom Kromka was named to the Great Lakes Region Second Team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The PAC Player of the Year who also made the D3Hoops.com Great Lakes All-Region Third Team, led the Bearcats with 17.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
La Roche: Junior forward Jenna Cole (Norwin) was selected to the D3Hoops.com’s Great Lakes All-Region Second Team. The AMCC Player of the Year and a 1,000-point scorer for her career, Cole led the conference in scoring at 20.1 points, which ranked 18th in Division III. She also led the AMCC in field goals and free throws.