ShareThis Page
Other High School Sports

Guido: A-K Valley owns history against MLB 1st-round picks

| Tuesday, June 7, 2016, 11:12 p.m.
Plum's Alex Kirilloff is expected to be taken in the first round of the MLB Draft on Thursday.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Plum's Alex Kirilloff is expected to be taken in the first round of the MLB Draft on Thursday.

Thursday looks to be the big day for Plum's Alex Kirilloff.

The recent graduate is expected to go in the first round of Thursday's Major League Baseball Draft. Internet sites have him going anywhere from 12th to 19th overall.

If that's the case, he will become the sixth player from a WPIAL school to go in the first round since the draft was instituted in 1965.

Before that, a young player could sign with any team, much like a player outside the United States can do now.

If Kirilloff, who attended Cheswick Christian Academy as a youngster, is picked in the first round, he will join an exclusive club that includes Knoch's Scot Thompson, New Brighton's Terry Francona, Elizabeth Forward's Brian Holton, Gateway's Tim Conroy and, of course, Pine-Richland's Neil Walker.

What is interesting about Thompson's selection is that Knoch did not sponsor a baseball team at the time. Thompson, who later coached his alma mater when baseball came along in the 1990s, made his mark with the Saxonburg American Legion program and other, non-scholastic outfits.

Thompson later played for the Cubs and the Expos.

To illustrate how strong Springdale's baseball team was in 1976, the Dynamos faced future first-round picks in consecutive games.

In the WPIAL semifinals, Springdale handed Francona the only pitching loss of his high school career. In the finals, the Dynamos came within an out of defeating Holton.

Conroy and Walker played against Alle-Kiski Valley team's in high school. Walker, as a freshman in 2001, hit what is likely one of the longest home runs at Laura Doerr Park against Knoch. His towering drive landed near a picnic pavilion beyond the left-field fence.

We probably won't hear much about Kirilloff over the next several years as he works his way through the minor leagues.

That's how the baseball draft works, unlike the NFL and NBA drafts where a player picked is ready to go.

Scoring on a walk

One of the age-old questions in baseball and softball is how many different ways a runner can score from third base with less than two outs.

Among them — a base hit, an error, a balk, a wild pitch, sacrifice fly, etc.

But how about a walk?

In Friday's WPIAL Class A final between West Greene and Chartiers-Houston, Bailey Bennington was on at third with one out and no other West Greene runners on base.

When Lexie Mooney walked, she rounded first base and headed quickly to second. The Chartiers-Houston pitcher threw her out at second while Bennington waltzed home with a run.

It is a wonder more teams don't do that.

West Greene practices it.

“We work on that play all the time, both offensively, and defending it,” West Greene coach Bill Simms said. “When we went to three balls, we put the signal over there that if there was a ball four, we would try it.”

The Prince effect

Some might recall the effect Prince, who died in April, had early in his career on a local basketball playoff team.

When Prince made his second appearance at Civic Arena on March 1, 1983, three Valley starters skipped practice and went to the Prince concert.

Then-Vikings coach Dan O'Connor had no choice but to suspend the players for the next night's WPIAL playoff game against McKeesport. O'Connor was particularly incensed the players could have practiced in the afternoon, then gone to the concert.

Without the players, Valley led 16-15 at the end of the first quarter. But the eventual WPIAL champion Tigers outscored Valley, 29-10, in the second quarter and rolled to an 87-73 win.

Billy Leonard set a McKeesport scoring record with 41 points, and Prince was on his way to superstardom.

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

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me