Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Year off Has No Ill Effect on South Park

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Year off Has No Ill Effect on South Park

Article excerpt

South Park has had an incredible turnaround this season.

Not only did the American Legion baseball program come back from the dead after a one-year hiatus, the team finished the regular season in first place in the Allegheny South division and clinched a place in the District 6 tournament.

"They had a good high school season and had a better Legion season," South Park coach Jeff Bywalski said. "Every team is different and we're missing some kids heading into the playoffs, but we have a good enough team that we should be OK in the first round."

South Park opened the playoffs Thursday, but prior to its first game, the team did its best to stay focused on the task at hand.

"We have a lot of kids playing travel baseball, so they're still getting in a lot of reps right now," Bywalski said. "It's good for us because we have some guys going out on their own and going to the cages and stuff."

Still, the one challenge for any coach is making sure that their players are motivated heading into the playoffs. With South Park already locked into the top spot and with a berth in the next round clinched, keeping the team focused for the next week will be an arduous task.

"It's a little difficult, no doubt about it, because we're setting ourselves up to start the regionals [July 16]," Bywalski said. "I always tell the kids that it's good to keep things going in the right direction and possibly winning the divisional playoff championship is something that the kids seem motivated for."


Throughout the regular season, Latrobe and Kiski Area battled for the top spot in District 31.

All it took was a midseason tie - one of four in the district this season - that dropped Kiski Area out of first place and a half-game behind Latrobe when the regular season ended.

Now, Kiski Area has had to refocus on the playoffs, where it will enter as the No. 2 seed behind the Jethawks in the double-elimination tournament.

"We've been pretty consistent and we've been relying on our pitching and defense," Kiski Area coach Dennis Montgomery said. …

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