Monday's Westmoreland Sports Notebook

Hempfield baseball remains perfect; Slagus resigns from BVA; Lebe, Hackman enshrined

Mon Apr 01, 2024 - 6:40PM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Mon Apr 01, 2024 - 6:41PM

Hempfield baseball remains perfect

More than two weeks into the WPIAL baseball season, Hempfield Area is the lone Westmoreland County team that has yet to taste defeat. Last week, the Spartans notched victories against Blackhawk and Greater Latrobe on consecutive days. At home against the Cougars on Wednesday, the Spartans dominated 15-4, as Carson Shuglie, Max Short, Adam Hess, and Chase Sikorski each contributed a pair of RBIs, while Dylan Firmstone earned the victory on the mound. On Thursday, the Spartans prevailed 9-6 on the road against the Wildcats. In that triumph, Caden Biondi and Parker Donsen each doubled and produced RBIs, while Short, Ethan Minerva, and Colin Polechko also drove in runs. Hempfield Area (4-0) commences Class 6A Section 2 play this week with a three-game set against Pittsburgh Central Catholic, weather permitting.

Rams win pair of Westmoreland softball battles

Ligonier Valley softball remained perfect last week, notching a pair of wins against Westmoreland County foes. Last Monday, the Rams blasted homestanding Valley 16-0. Adelynn Witcoski, Marlee Miller, and Sydnee Foust all tripled, while Bella Dolton posted a pair of RBIs. Two days later, the host Rams edged Burrell 3-1. LV pitcher Cheyenne Piper was magnificent, as she racked up 16 strikeouts in the win. Additionally, Natalie Bizup went 3-for-3, while Foust added another triple. Ligonier Valley is 3-0 on the season, but has stiff tests upcoming this week against Westmoreland County powerhouses Southmoreland and Belle Vernon Area.

BVA’s Slagus resigns

Kaitlyn Slagus, the head coach of Belle Vernon Area girls basketball, stepped down last week. Slagus guided the Leopards for four seasons, compiling a record of 49-39. A grad of BVA, Slagus scored 1,360 points and grabbed 1,020 rebounds during her playing career with the Leopards. She then starred at Bucknell University, garnering All-Conference honors three times and winning two Patriot League titles. After a professional career in Ireland, Slagus returned to coach Belle Vernon beginning in the 2020-21 campaign. Last season, BVA went 10-13, including a playoff loss to Knoch in the WPIAL Class 4A first round. Slagus, who lives in Canonsburg, is engaged to Avonworth girls basketball coach Nick Dizon, who previously guided Kiski Area.

Winebrenner out at Panthers hockey coach

Franklin Regional has opened its hockey coaching position, likely ending the tenure of head coach John Winebrenner. Winebrenner served as the Panthers’ bench boss the past five seasons, leading FR to a regular-season record of 10-7-3 this past campaign. Franklin Regional upset third-seeded Greater Latrobe in the PIHL Class AA quarterfinals, but lost to eventual champion Thomas Jefferson 9-3 in the semifinals. The Panthers also reached back-to-back Penguins Cup championship games in 2021 and 2022. Winebrenner previously served as the head coach for Greater Latrobe, winning Penguins Cup and Pennsylvania Cup championships with the Wildcats.

Lebe, Hackman enshrined in wrestling HOF

Four members were added to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame over the weekend, including a pair from Westmoreland County. Matt Lebe and Ken Hackman were each enshrined with the Class of 2024 on Saturday at the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic at Peters Township. Lebe, who currently serves as the head coach at Franklin Regional, was a standout wrestler at Jeannette. During his high school wrestling career, Lebe posted a record of 132-10, winning three WPIAL titles. He also enjoyed a stellar career on the mat at West Virginia University. Hackman, who graduated from Derry Area in 1984, compiled a record of 95-23-2 with the Trojans, capturing a WPIAL crown. He also claimed two national championships on the mat at California University of Pennsylvania, and then guided the Trojans wrestling program from 1994-2000. Trib wrestling writer Paul Schofield and Quest School of Wrestling founder Jim Akerly were also inducted.

Bearcats football adds two to staff

Saint Vincent College football added two assistants last week, as Chace Johnston and Kenne Johnson joined the staff. Johnston, who will guide the defensive line, previously served as an assistant at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School. His other high school coaching stints include Carmichaels and Washington. As a player, Johnston suited up at Waynesburg University and Mapletown High School. Johnson, who will coach wide receivers, most recently was on staff at Shepherd University, and also had a stint at Seton Hill University.