District notebook: Thiel football hires two local stars

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Thiel football coach Kurt Reiser hired two assistant coaches to fill out his coaching staff, and both are former players from local universities.

Todd Gilchrist played for Duquesne for two seasons and then transferred to Pitt, where he played three seasons, mostly on special teams.

He most recently coached at the Maine Maritime Academy as a defensive backs coach but will coach the receivers for the Tomcats.

Reiser also announced the hiring of Josh Lott, who played for the Dukes in 2012 and was a four-year letter winner as a defensive lineman.

Lott, who is from Warren, Ohio, will coach the defensive line.

"Josh comes to Thiel with a wealth of experience and has been a winner at every level," Reiser said. "He believes fully in our mission of measuring success by your commitment to reaching your full potential.

"Todd is passionate about coaching and I am confident he will develop great rapport with our players and prove to be an asset to our program.

"I am excited to have both of these young men join our staff and look forward to the upcoming season."

Two Chatham players honored

Chatham's top two softball players, Jenn Stefano and Natalie Vazquez, were named second-team All-Presidents' Athletic Conference.

Vazquez started all 36 games, led the Cougars with 39 hits and a .351 batting average. She also scored 23 runs, hit 2 triples, and struck out just 6 times in 111 at-bats.

Stefano, who is from Connellsville, led Chatham in most offensive categories. She scored 25 runs, collected 12 doubles (third most in the PAC), 4 triples, 20 RBIs and stole 5 bases.

She also had a .337 batting average and a .571 slugging percentage, and hit one of Chatham's two home runs this season. Her .571 slugging percentage ranked seventh in the PAC.

Other PAC honorees

A number of former WPIAL players also were named to the All-PAC softball team.

Washington and Jefferson's double-play combination of second baseman Stefanie Zur (Bethel Park) and shortstop Kelsey Cunningham (Peters Township), Waynesburg outfielder Jasmine Blackwell (Moon), Westminster pitcher Chelsea Brown (Mohawk) and Geneva pitcher Samantha Johnson (Franklin Regional) were named to the first team.

Point Park falls

Point Park lost its first game at the NAIA national baseball tournament in Kingsport, Tenn..

No. 3-seeded Missouri Baptist (32-11) pounded 20 hits and defeated the No. 2 Pioneers, 13-6, Thursday in the Kingsport regional. The loss dropped Point Park to 39-15 in the double-elimination event.

One reason the Pioneers finished the year on such a roll and got to the national tournament is their lineup. They feature eight hitters who are batting above .300, including two above .400.

Leading the way is third baseman Jordan Crowell, who leads NAIA with a .467 average, and left fielder Rob Novia, who entered the tournament batting .400.

Crowell went 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs in the loss. Novia was 2 for 3, scored twice and drove in a run.

The Pioneers also feature right fielder Don McDuffee, who is only seven hits away from tying the single-season school record of 84. He had two Thursday.

PSU Greater Allegheny in Series

Another excellent baseball team locally is Penn State Greater Allegheny, with a roster loaded with former WPIAL and City League players. The team finished 35-17 and advanced to the championship round the USCAA Small College World Series at Pullman Park in Butler before finishing second.

The two top hitters are freshman Alente Johnson (55 of 137, .401) and sophomore outfielder/pitcher Oliver Girman (56 of 136, .412). Johnson is from Rochester and Girman is from Serra.

Pitt softball player rookie of year

Freshman left fielder Tori Nirschl of Carlsbad, Calif., was named rookie of the year in the Big East Conference. She led the Panthers in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.333), home runs (11) and slugging percentage (.635).

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Paul Zeise: pzeise@post-gazette.com or Twitter @paulzeise.


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