The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

High School Sports

May 13, 2014

Meyersdale claims WestPAC

Somerset — Meyersdale standout Riley Christner wasn’t in the dugout for a few heart-breaking Red Raiders setbacks in title games over the past two seasons.

Even without the painful memories, the Red Raiders’ freshman played with enough determination and motivation to help his team snap a string of bad luck in medal games.

Christner smacked a momentum-swaying, two-run homer to right field in the fifth inning, the biggest of his three hits. The first baseman had three RBI and two runs scored against Portage in Tuesday’s WestPAC baseball championship at Somerset field. He punctuated his day by recording the final three outs of an 8-4 victory in relief of his older brother Connor, who tossed a gem for six-plus innings.

“We just played together like we said we would do at the beginning of the game,” Riley Christner said after the South Division winners beat the North’s Mustangs for Meyersdale’s first conference crown since 2009.

The Raiders had lost each of the past two WestPAC title games as well as a pair of District 5 Class A championship contests in 2012 and 2013. Overall, Meyersdale now has five WestPAC titles and 10 section crowns.

“I really couldn’t take one more silver medal,” Meyersdale coach Wayne Miller said. “We had four (runner-up finishes) in a row between two District 5-A games and two WestPAC games. Some of those were real heart-breakers – one with North Star and one with Township. This feels really good. It’s a monkey off our back.

“We’ve won our share of championships in the past. The last two years were just really rough to get so close and not get it.”

Meyersdale (18-2) never trailed on Tuesday as Portage (16-2) allowed a pair of unearned runs in the first inning, which was extended by a wild pitch on a third strike. Connor Christner singled in a run and scored on Trent Schrock’s single.

The Mustangs tied it in the top of the third. Loading the bases with no outs for the middle of the order. Brad Rosemas’ two-out single plated Luke Dividock and C.W. Miller.

“Portage is really scrappy and they’re really well coached,” Miller said. “They’ll compete with anybody because of the way they play the game.”

Riley and Connor Christner hit consecutive doubles to give the Raiders a 3-2 lead through three innings.

In the Meyersdale fifth, Lance Leydig had an infield single and moved up on Brady McKenzie’s sacrifice bunt. Riley Christner had an 11-pitch at-bat, launching a couple solid shots in foul territory in right before finally connecting for a two-run shot that gave the Raiders a 5-2 advantage.

“I got a little scared because they kept throwing me offspeed pitches,” Riley Christner said. “He gave me one to hit, and I hit it. I just ran around the bases as fast as I could. When I got home, we got everybody else pumped up and got on a roll.”

McCabe agreed that the home run lifted the Raiders.

“I thought the key part of the game was the at-bat when the kid got the home run,” McCabe said. “He must have had four or five foul balls. He hit a good pitch.”

The Mustangs closed within 5-4 in the sixth after Rosemas and Michael Bryja each singled. Brandon Madigan’s grounder to third plated Rosemas. Madigan was called out on a close play at first, which led to McCabe having a lengthy discussion with the umpires.

Bryja eventually scored on back-to-back wild pitches. Zach Coukart singled, but Meyersdale executed an unusual 1-4-3 doubleplay as Jake Swank’s hard hit up the middle caromed off Connor Christner’s glove and bounced to second baseman Ryan Brown, who recorded the out and threw from an almost sitting position to get the out at first on another close call.

“I told the guys before the game we’ve lost the last couple of these because very good players on the other teams stepped up on that day and just won the game,” Miller said. “They either pitched lights out or had the key hit. I told them today it has to be a Red Raider that does it.”

Connor Christner pitched into the seventh, allowing seven hits while striking out eight and walking three, including the first two hitters in the top of the seventh.

“Connor, in this heat that nobody’s seen this year, with him being a big kid, I think the last two or three innings he pitched on guts and heart and adrenaline,” Miller said. “He doesn’t walk anybody. So, when I saw two walks in a row in the seventh. ... I know he wanted to finish it because that’s the kind of competitor he is. But having little brother as an option in the pocket always is a luxury.”

The Raiders’ most recent WestPAC title prior to Tuesday also was against Portage in 2009, when current assistant coach Matt Donaldson had 14 strikeouts and a three-hitter.

“We’ve got to make plays in situations if we’re going to get out of innings, and we didn’t,” said McCabe, whose team is seeded first in 6-A. “Hey, that’s a good ballclub. They’re well-coached. We competed.

“We have our second season and still have to move on. We got here. We didn’t finish. We have a chance to try it again (in the district playoffs).”

Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at


Text Only | Photo Reprints
High School Sports
  • Blairsville pegged as team to beat

    As Heritage Conference football coaches assembled at United High School during Wednesday’s media day event at Thomas J. Madill Field, the near-consensus opinion is that Blairsville – under second-year coach Rick Artley – is going to be the team to beat once the season begins on Aug. 29.
    After the Bobcats, the forecasted picture gets a little foggier.

    July 30, 2014

  • coleman2 McCort pitcher wins May Award

    Bishop McCort High School’s Brad Coleman earned the May Point Stadium Award nomination based on his performance in a District 6 Class A playoff victory on May 22.
    Coleman pitched a seven-inning, complete game in a 7-2 win over Homer-Center in the 6-A semifinal round. With the win, McCort clinched its fourth consecutive state tournament playoff berth.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • maddison 4 Richland pole vaulter decides on Red Flash

    Maddison Feather has sailed to great heights throughout her scholastic career at Richland High School.
    Feather – a pole vaulter – takes away a District 6 title and an appearance in the PIAA championship meet from her senior season with the Rams.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • mccort27 Area players get PHSBCA nods

    Brad Coleman and Alex Sobecky were part of an amazing four-year run by the Bishop McCort High School baseball team.
    Jack Shirk is an underclassman who stood out on a Richland squad that also has been one of the best in the LHAC in recent seasons.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • lantzy22 color Cory Isenberg | Big numbers posted all around in Lantzy game

    The South’s 48-18 victory over the North in Friday night’s Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star game was an entertaining evening of football for the reported crowd of close to 4,500 at Greater Johnstown’s Trojan Stadium.
    The point total for the Rebels equaled the output of the South squad in the 30th edition of the game but is behind the 51 scored by the Yankees in the 1992 contest and the 50 points tallied by the South in the 39th game.

    June 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • lantzy Local stars shine in Ken Lantzy Finest 40 game

    While the Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star Game brings football standouts from across the region to Greater Johnstown’s Trojan Stadium, Friday night’s contest took on a distinct Richland flavor as the South toppled the North 48-18 in the 44th edition of the summer football contest.

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • jerry Former coach honored for long service

    The venerable Jerry Page, former coach of Laurel Valley, always preached that football was so much more than just a game.
    Page, whose son Greg of Homer-Center was the North squad coach Friday at the 44th Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star game, was honored prior to the start of the game.

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • north20 North offense shows big gains during Lantzy practices

    As the North offense prepared for tonight’s Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star game at Trojan Stadium on the campus of Greater Johnstown High School, tightening up issues with timing and terminology was at the top of the unit’s to-do list.
    If the North’s offense takes the field and operates with machine-like precision tonight, it can thank the intersquad scrimmage on Tuesday as the breakthrough point of the group’s progress during the week.

    June 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • soff Three quality quarterbacks bolster South’s chances in Lantzy Game

    The South squad has an impressive arsenal of offensive talent on hand for Friday’s Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star Game, set for 7 p.m. at Trojan Stadium.
    The Rebels have three skilled quarterbacks on the roster who have combined for nearly 5,000 yards passing and another 2,000 yards on the ground.

    June 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • South D.JPG South changes defense after last year’s loss

    After being thrashed 41-7 last year by the North, the South is hoping to rise again as it prepares for Friday’s Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star Game set for 7 p.m. at Greater Johnstown’s Trojan Stadium.
    On defense, those plans will evolve around the change in defensive schemes that has been instituted with teams now required to run a 4-3.

    June 17, 2014 1 Photo


Do you think pet obituaries should be included with death notices?

Yes, my pet is considered a member of the family.
No, pet obituaries are inappropriate.
Pet obituaries should be placed on a different page in the newspaper.
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads