On a night their manager was the featured speaker, a pair of Berkley Hills Renegades players took the top honors during the annual Point Stadium Award banquet.
Renegades left-handed pitcher Nate Spohn earned the Point Stadium Award and $1,000 scholarship based on his marathon outing in a AAABA League championship series opener on July 27.
“I was a little bit shocked,” Spohn said. “It’s a great accomplishment just to get nominated. To win, just tops it off.”
Berkley Hills shortstop Matt Kastelic took Point Stadium Play of the Year honors for his role in a double play against Philadelphia in the AAABA Tournament on Aug. 6.
Berkley Hills Renegades first-year manager Larry McCabe was the featured speaker at the event. McCabe previously won the 1973 Point Stadium Award for baseball.
Spohn pitched all 10 innings and struck out 13 batters in the Renegades 5-4 extra-inning victory over Martella’s Pharmacy in Game 1 of a best-of-5 series.
The lefty retired Martella’s in order eight times in 10 innings. At one point, Spohn retired 11 consecutive batters and faced only one man over the minimum through six innings.
He scattered eight hits and allowed two walks.
“I hadn’t thrown that many pitches during the game and (McCabe) knows I’m going to give it 100 percent all the time,” Spohn said. “Getting the win makes it 100 times better.”
Kastelic made a lunging, highlight-reel catch by fielding a line drive to his right. The shortstop’s body was completely extended and parallel to the Point turf. After catching the ball, Kastelic had the presence of mind to get up and fire to first baseman Ryan Uhl to complete the double play.
There were 11 winners of the monthly nominations who were in the running for the annual Point Stadium Award.
In addition to Spohn, those included: Pitt-Johnstown outfielder Drew Westover (February); Pitt-Johnstown designated hitter-outfielder Drew Ebersole (March); Bishop McCort pitcher Jesse Cooper (April); Bishop McCort pitcher Justin Vardian (May); Laurel Auto Group pitcher Mike Nowicki (June); Martella’s Pharmacy pick-up player Josh Staniscia (August); Bishop McCort two-way lineman Gap Barbin (September); co-nominees Richland junior high football player Colby Warshel and McCort receiver-kicker Jordan Spangler (October); and McCort receiver-defensive back Luke DiFrancesco (November).
McCabe knows the history and prestige of the award, which first was presented in its current form in 1938.
He won the award for his seven-inning outing against perennial Johnstown Junior League power Monte Carlo on July 27, 1973. He scattered six hits while striking out eight and walking two in a 9-0 victory that snapped Monte Carlo’s nine-game winning streak and clinched the regular-season title. At that time, it was McCabe’s ninth victory in 10 decisions.
McCabe will enter his 34th season as head coach at Portage High School in the spring. He will begin his second season with the Renegades.
Two of the area’s top high school programs received recognition for their milestone seasons in 2012.
The Bishop McCort baseball team won a PIAA Class A championship in June, the first state title by an area squad in baseball. Coach Chris Pfeil’s District 6-A championship team beat District 4 champ Montgomery 14-2 in a five-inning state title game at Penn State.
The Crushers went 24-2 and won by the 10-run mercy rule in both the state semifinal and championship games by posting a combined 31 runs on 31 hits in an 11-inning span.
McCort had 13 hits and played error-free baseball in the state title game.
The Richland football team was spotlighted for its recent run to the PIAA Class AA semifinal game.
The Rams won their first 14 games to claim the program’s first LHAC crown and first District 6-AA title. Coach Brandon Bailey’s squad defeated District 10 Hickory for the Rams’ first-ever state playoff win in the quarterfinals at Slippery Rock. A week later perennial power and eventual state runner-up Aliquippa ended the dream season in the semifinals.