The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 18, 2013

Seven Conemaugh Township athletes make commitments

Mike Mastovich

DAVIDSVILLE — Dillon Boyer entered Thursday’s scholastic baseball action ranked fourth in the state with a .688 batting average.

Boyer will take those impressive numbers a few miles North on Route 219 when he continues his career at the next level. The Conemaugh Township senior will attend Pitt-Johnstown and play NCAA Division II baseball for coach Todd Williams.

A few hours before Conemaugh Township’s game at Portage, Boyer was among a group of seven Indians student-athletes who officially announced their college intentions at the Davidsville high school.

“It was a big decision for me because it was close to home. I could save some money,” said Boyer, a middle infielder who unofficially has a .394 career batting average (89-for-226) as a four-year starter with the Indians. “They have a great engineering program and that’s what I’m looking to do. They’ve got a good baseball program in Division II and that’s another factor.

“They’re in a good conference,” he said, referring to UPJ’s joining the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference in 2013-14. “The state schools, it’s probably a better conference.”

Boyer batted .405 with 34 hits and 31 runs as a junior last season. He hit .348 as a sophomore, and .350 as a freshman. The Indians are the defending District 5-A champions. Township won a WestPAC crown during Boyer’s freshman year.

“Dillon is very talented, but he’s a very knowledgeable player, too,” Township baseball coach Sam Zambanini said. “Very few times you’ll see Dillon make mental mistakes.

“He knows what to do with the baseball when he gets it. He knows the situation of the game. He knows how to get on base at the right time. He has a very good approach at the plate. His overall knowledge of the game makes him special.”

Boyer also starred on a very successful Conemaugh Township basketball team that won 5-AA gold this year. He chose the baseball diamond over the hardwood court.

“I fell in love with baseball when I was a little kid,” Boyer said.

Boyer is the son of Jack and Gwen Boyer.

Also announcing their college intentions on Thursday are:

n Twin sisters Lyndy and Carly Baer, who each will play basketball at Pitt-Greensburg.

The Baers were part of a 22-5 district champion Township team.

“It’s really nice for us to go together because we’ve been playing together all of our lives and we work really well together,” Lyndy Baer said. “I know that I’ll always have someone on the team that is going to be there for me. It’s going to be nice to be there with her for four years.”

Lyndy Baer averaged 11.8 points a game as a senior and chipped in with 4.7 assists a game and 2.3 steals per contest. Carly Baer averaged 7.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

“It means a lot to me,” Carly Baer said of moving on to college with her twin sister. “We’ve played together our whole lives, and we get to end our careers together at the college level. We get another whole four years to play together.

“We’re twins. We read each other’s minds,” Carly Baer added. “We seem to know what each other is going to do.”

They are the daughters of Paul and Patty Baer.

n Deanna Binnie, rifle, Ohio State University.

Binnie made it official after previously announcing her plans to attend the Big Ten program. A state champion shooter, Binnie made the USA Shooting National Junior Team with her performance at the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo., last weekend.

“Ohio State was a good fit for me,” Binnie said. “They have a good rifle program, a brand new coach and I really like him. They have a great academic program too.”

Binnie appreciated the opportunities she’s had because of her rifle career.

“It just shows that this sport is growing and is getting more popular and that you can be successful,” Binnie said. “I would never be able to afford Ohio State without getting this athletic scholarship. I would have never even dreamed that I could have gone to Ohio State. I looked at Ole Miss and Texas Christian as well. I don’t think I would have ever even gone to Mississippi or Texas. It’s crazy.”

She is the daughter of John and Lorrie Binnie.

n Josh Burns, basketball, Penn Highlands Community College.

Burns averaged 11.4 points on Township’s 25-4 team that won the District 5 Class AA title. The Indians also won three state playoff games.

“It means a lot to me (to play at college) because I never really thought that I would make it this far,” said Burns, who also averaged 2.3 assists and 2.7 steals a game. “I’m happy I made it this far, and I’m ready to play at the next level.”

Burns was a key part of coach Chuck Lesko’s squad that featured four double-digit scorers.

“I just kept working and working,” said Burns, who will play for coach Landon Loya’s Black Bears. “When I was younger I never was a shooter and I mainly focused on defense. It was a great experience. It helped me out a lot for later in life.”

He is the son of John and Jen Goldberg.

n Allyson Lonas, soccer, Penn State-Behrend.

Lonas netted 39 goals as a senior on Township’s 19-3 District 5 championship squad.

“I chose Penn State-Behrend because they have my major, bio engineering, and it’s a really nice campus and they have a really good soccer team too,” Lonas said.

“Coach Patrick (O’Driscoll) is really nice. They play possessions and I’d rather play that than kick-and-run soccer.”

Lonas was a four-year letterwinner and part of three District 5 championship teams at Township.

She is the daughter of Tim and Lisa Lonas.

n Kelsey Smith, volleyball, Penn State-Altoona.

Smith said Penn State-Altoona appealed to her for a number of reasons.

“It’s small. It’s close to home and it’s a nice campus,” Smith said. “I like the volleyball coach (Phil Peterman). He said he will work with me and teach me some things. I hope to get better and improve.”

Smith enjoyed sharing the afternoon with so many of her classmates who are headed to the next level.

“It’s great that there were a bunch of us going on to the college level and playing,” Smith said. “We really worked for it. I’m really glad they’re all playing.”

She is the daughter of Joseph and Gretchen Smith.