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East sports notebook

| Thursday, May 23, 2002

Plum baseball coach Tom McCarthy put senior Steve Snyder in the eighth spot in the lineup so he had someone at the bottom of the order to start rallies.

Snyder did his job Tuesday, helping Plum (12-6) to a 10-5 victory over Seneca Valley and a spot in the quarterfinals today against Blackhawk (15-2).

With the Mustangs trailing by a run, Snyder beat out an infield single to second base and moved to second on a pickoff attempt. Snyder raced home to tie the game on Matt Fiori's single to right, narrowly beating a strong throw with a good slide.

"Steve Snyder had a great slide at home to beat a play when a good arm almost threw him out," McCarthy said. "You can't coach speed. I'll run Snyder and (leadoff batter Matt) Cassidy on anyone."

Plum went on to add five more runs, three coming in on shortstop Chris Kobielus' double, to advance after trailing by two runs only three batters into the game.

Sophomore Eric McGough recovered from a slow start to keep Plum in the game. One of two other sophomores, A.J. Bonetto or Jason Schmiedel, will start against Blackhawk. Schmiedel blanked Blackhawk on four hits May 8 in a 1-0 Plum victory.

"It relieves you getting one (playoff victory) under your belt," Snyder said. Now you are ready for anything. We know they (Blackhawk) will be gunning for us, but we know we can beat them."

Kiski Area (13-2) will also play in the quarterfinals today, taking on top seed Mt. Lebanon (19-2).

The Cavaliers beat North Hills, 2-0, behind a one-hit shutout by Ben Stoltzfus, who had pitched only four innings since he hurt his shoulder April 11. Bob Hartle, who is 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA, will most likely get the start against Mt. Lebanon, but the Blue Devils will have ace Chris Koutsavlis available.

Burrell faces tough playoff opener

WPIAL Class AA No. 2 seed Burrell (13-2) will open the playoffs 5 p.m. today at home against Mars (14-4), which has had its share of success against top teams.

Mars is the only WPIAL team to defeat No. 1 Riverside this year, a 3-2 victory April 29. Mars also beat then highly-ranked North Catholic, 3-1, May 6.

WPIAL volleyball

Deer Lakes (12-3) upset Latrobe, 3-1, on the road Tuesday to advance to the semifinals today against Section 2 rival and second seed North Allegheny (15-0). The Tigers swept two regular-season meetings between the teams.

No. 5 seed Norwin (13-1) will also play in the quarterfinals today against Montour (9-3). The Knights swept Penn Hills, 3-0, Monday as Montour knocked off fourth seeded Elderton, 3-1.

All three Section 3 teams lost in the first round. Plum lost, 3-1, at Upper St. Clair.

The quarterfinal winners clinch a berth in the PIAA playoffs and advance to the semifinals Saturday at LaRoche College, which will be followed by the championship match. The top five teams in the WPIAL advance to states.

PIAA girls track

McKeesport freshman Cassie McReynolds won the WPIAL 100-meter dash, but she is more likely to make an impact at states in the 400 relay. McReynolds, LaRay Bridges, Heather Paul and Truly Gaston combined to win the 400 at WPIALs in a meet-record 49.12 seconds, the third best time in the state in Class AAA this season.

Penn Hills and Gateway also have 400 relay teams that could medal in the state meet.

WPIAL Class AAA champion Kerri Durica of West Mifflin is the top contender to UCLA recruit Sheena McDowell in the triple jump. Durica recently signed a letter of intent with Duquesne.

Schenley senior Carmen Bruce is second among the qualifiers in both the shot put and the discus. She won the PIAA Class AAA championship in the shot put as a sophomore, then finished second in that event and eighth in the discus last season.

Valley junior Mycah Clemons won two Class AA state medals a year ago, including gold in the 100 hurdles. She has the fourth-best qualifying time in the 100 hurdles this year, right behind younger sister and WPIAL champion Micaiah Clemons, a freshman.

Mycah Clemons' qualifying long jump of 16-8.75 is only ninth in the state. She was third in the PIAA finals a year ago with a distance of 17-3.75.

Freeport has two runners who have a good shot to medal in WPIAL champions Lacey Cochran and Joelle Ambrose. Ambrose, a senior, has the third-best time in the 300 hurdles. Freshman Cochran's qualifying time is fourth in the 400.

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