Whether it's hitting, or keeping opponents from hitting, Anthony Malky is near the top of the WPIAL.
Malky, a senior pitcher-shortstop for Riverview High School, has a chance to produce a rare double. He could lead the WPIAL in batting average and strikeouts by a pitcher.
With two non-section games left, Malky is batting .600 (24 for 40) and has 86 strikeouts. In the most recent WPIAL statistics (two weeks ago), he was fourth in average (.615) and first in strikeouts (47). The WPIAL regular season finishes Thursday, and a few of the hitters ahead of Malky in average have dropped below him.
"I would say a lot of times in high school baseball, the top pitchers are some of the best players on the team overall," said Riverview coach Rich Griser. "But I think it still is rare to lead the WPIAL in both hitting and strikeouts. It makes you wonder how many times it ever has been done."
Malky is 5 feet 8, but he is gigantic for Riverview. He has a 5-2 pitching record with a 1.40 ERA and regularly throws 86-87 mph. He has been on Riverview's varsity since his freshman year and will play next season at the University of Akron.
"It's tough to maintain a .600 batting average," Griser said. "He has been a dominant pitcher ever since he has been with us. The thing about him is he will even shout instructions to the team from the bench. He knows all the time what's going on around him on the field. He's like having another coach on the team."
It has been quite the turnaround season for the Woodland Hills softball team.
The Wolverines have qualified for the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2002. They are 7-5, which is pretty significant when you consider they were 23-112 from 2004 through 2012.
The Keystone Oaks baseball team also has written an impressive turnaround story. The Eagles (7-5) qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and finished the regular season above .500 for only the second time in the past nine seasons.
• Aliquippa is looking for a new boys basketball coach after the school did not renew Bobby Williams' contract. Aliquippa had a rich basketball tradition, making it to a WPIAL championship seven times from 1998-2007. But the Quips were 31-41 under Williams and lost in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs three times.
• Jim Nesser was 58-32 in four seasons as the Hempfield boys coach and won or tied for the section championship three times. But the school board recently opened his position.
• West Mifflin hired Dan Thayer as its new girls basketball coach. Thayer coached the past two seasons at Brentwood. Before that, he coached Baldwin for six seasons and turned around the Highlanders, winning 79 games and making it to the 2010 WPIAL AAAA championship game.
• Spencer Stefko resigned as Chartiers Valley's girls coach a few weeks ago. He is now a candidate for the vacant Seton-LaSalle girls job.
Coaches to politicians?
This must be the year for WPIAL basketball coaches to turn politicians.
First, John Lee decides to run for Pittsburgh City Council. Lee coached in the WPIAL for 16 seasons and won a WPIAL championship at Seton-LaSalle. He retired as a coach 11 years ago.
Now current Seneca Valley boys coach Victor Giannotta is on the ballot for mayor of Seven Fields, a 3,500-resident borough in Butler County.
LeBron James is giving back.
James is donating $1 million to his old high school for the renovation of its gym. James played at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron.
According to Forbes magazine last year, James made $53 million on endorsements and his contract with the Miami Heat. Critics might scoff at James' donation considering his wealth. Still, $1 million is a lot of money to give away.
"I'm not doing it for applause or a roar from anyone," James told the Akron Beacon-Journal. "I'm doing it because it's going to benefit the kids that are there now and in the future. It holds a special meaning for me being from Akron, Ohio, and being at that school for four years."hsbaseball