The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Breaking News

High School Sports

June 4, 2014

Bishop McCort hoping to use experience to its advantage

JOHNSTOWN — Bishop McCort will make its fourth consecutive trip to the PIAA Class A baseball quarterfinals today against Cranberry at the Burkett Complex in Robinson Township.

“The experience definitely helps,” McCort coach Chris Pfeil said. “I think our guys are focused and they know what is at stake. With 11 seniors, they know this is their last chance. We’ve been fortunate to be on this big stage before.

“Our guys have to go out and play their game.”

The District 6-A champion Crushers defeated District 10 champ Eisenhower 5-0 on Monday. McCort brings a 17-7 record into today’s 3 p.m. game against District 9 runner-up Cranberry, a 14-2 squad.

“We were able to get a good scouting report,” Pfeil said. “They have some good athletes and some guys with some good offensive approaches at the plate. We’re going to have to get another solid pitching performance and play solid defense.”

McCort reached the state quarterfinal round each year since 2011, including a gold-medal run in 2012. Last season, the Crushers were upset by eventual state champion Johnsonburg 7-6 in 11 innings in the quarters.

Cranberry is expected to start sophomore right-hander Brendan Zerbe today. Zerbe is 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA, 35 strikeouts and 18 walks in 24 innings pitched.

Staff ace Dylan Syphert tossed a three-hitter in Monday’s 2-1 win over District 7 champion California.

Syphert, who is a Penn State recruit, is expected to play center field today. He bats .438 with five homers and 18 RBI.

Other standout hitters are first baseman Kyle Hanna, who has a .375 average and 16 RBI, and outfielder Austin Rex, who bats .400 with 22 hits and 10 RBI.

“Their No. 1 guy threw a complete game on Monday,” Pfeil said. “They’re 14-2. They didn’t get that record by only having one kid who can throw. They’ve got other capable guys. They have some guys that can come in and get people out.”

McCort’s pitching staff received a boost with the return of senior left-hander Nathan Neiderhiser on Monday.

Neiderhiser missed much of the season due to injury and illness. He threw two scoreless innings against Eisenhower.

Senior starter Brad Coleman has won every playoff game this spring. He threw five innings on Monday.

“We were happy that we were able to get Brad out after the fifth, and Nathan came in and did a great job,” Pfeil said. “They’re both eligible to throw. We’re going to see how everybody feels and make a determination in the morning.”

Pfeil praised Coleman for carrying much of the pitching load in the absence of Neiderhiser and Penn State recruit Justin Vardian due to injuries/illness.

Vardian was the No. 2 pitcher on the state championship team as a sophomore and has veteran experience.

“Obviously with Nathan and Justin both being out, we had to rely on Brad to really come through for us, and he’s done that,” Pfeil said. “Getting Nathan back, he’s a Division I caliber pitcher, and it’s going to be a big boost for us. He hasn’t thrown much this year but we have a lot of confidence in him. He’s worked so hard to get back for us.”

The Crushers offense also is solid with Alex Sobecky (.397), Nick Gjurich (.367), Cameron Rock (.358), Ethan Neiderhiser (.343), Nemo Trexler (.328) and Dan Formica (.308) each hitting over .300 with 50 or more at-bats.

Today’s winner advances to Monday’s PIAA Class A semifinal round against the winner of District 7 runner-up Carmichaels and District 9 champion Elk County Catholic.

 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