Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Baseball a Rare Struggle for Quips

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Baseball a Rare Struggle for Quips

Article excerpt

Past the outfield fence at Aliquippa's baseball field and a short walk through some woods sits Carl A. Aschman Stadium, home to one of the most glorious high school football programs in the history of Pennsylvania. Situated only three blocks from the baseball field, up Main Street, is Aliquippa High School's gymnasium, home to an extremely successful boys basketball program.

In proximity terms, the home of the Aliquippa baseball team is so close to the football stadium and basketball court that, if greatness was tangible, you could almost touch it sitting in the stands at Morrell Field.

But in terms of greatness, Aliquippa baseball is miles away. In fact, it might as well be in another world.

This is the sobering fact of Aliquippa baseball: The Quips' losing streak turned 90 this past Wednesday.

It is one of the great paradoxes of WPIAL sports. Aliquippa has won more WPIAL football titles (15) than any other school, and more WPIAL basketball titles (11) than than any other active school in the league. But heading into Friday's game against Sewickley Academy, the Aliquippa baseball team was riding one of the longest losing streaks of any sport in the 100-plus years of the WPIAL. Aliquippa hasn't won a baseball game since 2008.

Wednesday's loss marked 2,565 days without a win.

"It's real frustrating," said Darrien Fields, a senior center fielder who has never tasted victory in four varsity seasons. He played on Aliquppa's 12-1 football team this past season and on the Quips' 29-1 basketball team.

"You know how we are just expected to win all the time in football? It's kind of like everybody just expects us to lose all the time in baseball. Winning would shock a lot of people."

But Aliquippa doesn't just lose baseball games. The Quips often lose badly; 73 of the 90 losses have been by 10 runs or more. They have been outscored during the streak by an average of 13.8-2.3. But the losing isn't just recent. The Quips went from 2001-05 without a win. The last winning record came in 1993 when Aliquippa was 12-4 and made the WPIAL playoffs. From 1994 through Wednesday's loss, the Quips were 16-292.

It is so hard to explain. Aliquippa has produced four first- round NFL draft picks in the past 25 years and countless Division I college players. Over the past three decades, Aliquippa has also produced some Division I college basketball players.

But the baseball team hasn't produced a win in seven-plus years. For Mike Ditka's sake, why?

"That's a good question. I wish I could give you the answer." coach Dan Bible said. "I know we can't go much more downhill. About the only thing we can do is go up."

Everyone from Bible to athletic director/football coach Mike Zmijanac, from baseball players to athletes who don't play, say there are a few reasons Aliquippa baseball has deteriorated from a once-respectable program. …

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