Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mikes Eager to Rebound in State Playoffs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mikes Eager to Rebound in State Playoffs

Article excerpt

The Carmichaels Area High School baseball team isn't going to let one game stand in the way of a good season.

The Mighty Mikes (15-3) outscored opponents, 144-40, during the regular season and won 13 games in a row before falling to Neshannock, 15-0, in the WPIAL Class A championship game last weekend.

With the Mikes opening PIAA tournament play tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. against Saegertown at Slippery Rock University, they have moved past the drubbing at the hands of the Lancers, a game that featured a 12- run Neshannock fourth inning that ended the game via the "mercy rule."

"A lot of things went wrong for us," junior pitcher Jared Lapkowicz said. "It just got out of reach so fast and we just started hanging our heads, and it got worse form there. But our confidence is still going to be there. One game doesn't ruin our season."

Carmichaels had a 13-game winning streak snapped in that game, a number that just so happens to represent the amount of consecutive contests the Mikes won last season.

"Thirteen is our unlucky number," said catcher Jeff Lapkowicz, Jared's twin brother.

Last year's streak culminated with a WPIAL championship; Carmichaels lost in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. With their one allotted loss behind them, the Mikes are determined not to let that happen again.

"I think we are just as good as any team out there," Jared Lapkowicz said. "This is our third time in [the PIAA playoffs], so we are more confident and there is not as much pressure. We know how things go as far as the atmosphere and stuff."

The Lapkowicz brothers and the other 10 juniors and seniors on the squad are hoping the third time is the charm in terms of state playoff appearances. The Mikes advanced to the quarterfinals in 2002. Before that, Carmichaels had qualified for the PIAA playoffs only twice, said Jeff Lapkowicz.

Mikes coach Dave Bates has engineered the program's resurgence. He came to Carmichaels in 2000 after stints at Lakeview and Linesville high schools, both District 10 schools.

Coincidentally, Saegertown, tomorrow's opponent, won the District 10 championship this season. With Bates still having plenty of contacts in that area, however, the Mikes might be at an advantage. …

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