RAY SWANSON | Keystoner Team rekindles baseball tradition
The definition of "precedent" is, what has come before sets the stage for what comes after.
Take the Sharpsville High baseball program, for instance. A program that was established many years ago, when guys like Jabby Ellison, Burdell Auchter, Byrd Malia and Frank Erme were knocking the cover off the ball, has maintained its successful nature down through the years.
And it's guys like Blue Devils manager Kirk Scurpa, who have maintained those strides made by many of Sharpsville's former standouts. The Blue Devils have become a common element in the postseason and they have always carried their banners high.
Hardly anyone in the Shenango Valley gave the Blue and White much of a chance this past season, having been decimated by graduation; only one of nine starters returned.
Scurpa, however, accepted the challenge and passed the test with flying colors. The Blue Devils made it all the way to the western final, losing to a team that the 2000 Sharpsville club defeated, DuBois Central Christian. DuBois went on to win the state title.
The 2001 Blue Devils carved some rather impressive credentials. They wrapped up the school's fifth straight Mercer County Athletic Conference crown and won their fourth consecutive District 10 championship while completing the season with a 14-8 record.
Scurpa, who led the Blue Devils to a state runner-up finish last year, has been at the school for 11 seasons and each year has produced many precious moments, ones that Scurpa has picked up and locked away in his managerial closet.
In looking back, Scurpa who be the first to say that "it's what came before" that's helped intensely in the winning formula.
Scramble leftovers: Twenty-eight 5-man teams competed in this year's Mercer County Hall of Fame Golf Tournament earlier this month at Tam O'Shanter Golf Course in Hermitage.
The day's event was played under dreary skies, however, the rains held off until the event was completed and the players were dining in Tamie's shelter. The winners were Lou Saloom, Lou Fortuna, Joe Sinkuc, Matt Kemp and Brian Newell.
Saloom took top honors on Tamie's No. 18 (Par 3) when he hit a beautiful shot that landed on the green and wound up about 2 feet from the stick. The shot held up and Saloom took prize honors on the hole. "That's exactly how I played it," said a jubilant Saloom.
Witnessing the shot were a number of the board of directors of the Hall of Fame, including Don Bennett, president; Nick Marnejon; Bob Atterholt; Nick Travaglini and Tom Lewis.
The group on 18 also witnessed a beautiful tee shot by Westminster College football coach Jerry Schmitt, which landed about 25-30 feet from the hole on the upper part of the sloped green. However, the group decided to putt from a closer shot, about 6 feet from the flag. They all missed the birdie putt and had to settle for par. Schmitt, however, was not completely satisfied that the group did not play his shot. He walked over to where his tee shot had landed, lined it up, and you guessed it, he drilled it right in. Too bad, which bears out the old theory, "closest is not the bestest."