Want to know more about the Pittsburgh Pirates of 2007?

Want to know more about the Pittsburgh Pirates of 2007?
Will they be a more productive ball club this season?
Will the appearance of several new players help the Bucs out of the doldrums they have been experiencing for quite a few years now?
Jim Tracy, the Pirates' fairly new baseball manager, will attempt to answer a number of these questions when the Mercer County Sports Hall of Fame stages its 60th banquet and induction ceremonies Saturday night at The Radisson in West Middlesex.
Last season was Tracy's first as skipper of the Pirates as he replaced Lloyd McClendon who was given his walking papers after failing to turn the Bucs' fortunes around.
Tracy's first season as the Bucs skipper was not much different than McClendon's efforts had shown.
However, this is another year and the Bucs have some veteran talent around which to build this year's team -- guys like hard-hitting Jason Bay, infield utility man Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson should provide a strong foundation.
In addition, the Pirates have picked up several new pitchers so the season should show improvement.
We'll have to wait and see.
Tracy will be the featured speaker at the event which will draw a sell-out crowd of close to 500.
Lanny Frattare, Pirates radio and television broadcaster, once again will serve as toastmaster.
Others who will join Tracy at the podium include: Doug Dieken, radio analyst for the Cleveland Browns, who earlier had appeared at one of the Hall's banquets; Matt Underwood, play-by-play man announcer the Cleveland Indians; and Max Starks, offensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Several of the pros also will sign autographs and mingle with the audience.
Scheduled for induction are Margaret Schneider Bougher, William H. Capitol Jr., Dennis Driscoll, Marion Doutt, Daniel A. Dunn, Leonard R. Krichko, William Lenzi, Newton Reash, Jerry Wise, William Hoyle and yours truly.
Players of the week
It was double trouble for Westminster College basketball opposition recently as two of the school's players walked away with Presidents' Athletic Conference Player of the Week Awards.
Freshman forward Ryne Murray (Pittsburgh/Upper St. Clair) was named Men's Basketball Player of the Week while junior guard/forward Emilee Ackerman (Greensburg, Pa./ Hempfield ) was named PAC Women's Basketball Player of the Week.
Murray was MVP of the Marietta Shrine Tournament held Dec. 29-30.
He averaged 20 points and 10.5 rebounds to lead the Titans to the tournament championship with wins over Olivet (80-67) and host Marietta (98-73).
A 6-4 transfer from St. Francis (Pa.), Murray registered career highs in each of the Titans last four games with 14, 15. 17 and 23 points.
At that point, the Titans won six of their last seven games, including a 3-1 mark during Murray's four straight career-high scoring games.
Ackerman also has the women's team on a hot streak, winning seven of its last eight games including wins over Concordia (Wis.) 67-64 and Ursuline 59-49 at the Bahamas Sunshine Shootout held Dec. 18-19.
Ackerman scored a team high 19 points against Ursuline and a season-high 26 points against Concordia and earned a spot on the all-tourney team.
She also shot an impressive 69.2 percent from 3-point range making 18 of 26 attempts in the two games.
Falconi banquet
The Farrell Football Testimonial Banquet, honoring former Farrell High head coach Lou Falconi, will be on Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Radisson in West Middlesex.
Falconi stepped down following the most recent football season and former players, coaches and friends picked up the ball and are going all out to honor their gridiron skipper.
Tickets are 25 each and can be purchased from any committee member.
The committee includes Chuck Branca, Tony Retone, Al Szakach, Brian Sanders, Sam Rado, Jr., Frank Antuono, Walt Brodie, Ron Cromartie, Dante Newell and Tom Falconi.
As an added attraction at the banquet, Pittsburgh vocalist Bo Wagner, a personal friend of Brian Sanders, will give a special performance for Coach Falconi from his musical production "Let's Be Frank ... A Tribute to Frank Sinatra."
A souvenir program is being published and anyone wishing to contribute may consider an advertisement or a personal message to Coach Falconi. Sizes and prices are: full page: 100; half-page, 50; quarter page 25; and message, 10.

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