Photo by Julio Torres

Pitt Panthers Fall Football Preview:The Defense

The Pitt defense will has sustained some losses during the off season, especially in the defensive backfield.   Starters Titus Howard was suspended for the year and Trenton Coles transferred.    With similar moves throughout the Defense, the Panthers will have freshman littered all over the two deep chart.

The Panthers do have some senior leadership on this this squad as they will be led by linebackers Todd Thomas and Anthony Gonzalez. Thomas has an NFL skill set and speed.   He has the ability to play at the next level per NFL scouts. Also, Mike Tomlin has mentioned that “Number 8″ is a football player.    As long as he continues to work hard, he could be special this season.    The Panthers will also have Matt Galambos as the third Linebacker in their 4-3 defense.

The Panthers have an experienced defensive line, even though they lost All Everything Aaron Donald from the draft last season.   They have sophomore Shakir Soto, and senior David Durham at ends, and Junior tackle, Darryl Render.   At nose tackle, they have Junior K Mosley Smith coming back.   The squad is solid, though they lack experienced depth.  On the two deep,  they back ups are all Freshman or Sophomore.   That could at times make things rough for the Panthers secondary when rotating these guys in and out.  That will also put more pressure on the Pitt Offense to hold onto the ball longer and give their defense some breaks.

The secondary, as we mentioned earlier, has sustained some losses. Though they are anchored by Junior Lafayette Pitts at Corner and Ray Senior Vinopal at safety.  Their other options are all Freshman or Sophomore options.   They have size throughout the group though none of them posses blazing speed.

This team has some senior leadership and talent, but they lack experienced depth.   This group is going to grow throughout the season and will benefit from a softer schedule.

As far as the Special teams goes.  They will be anchored by kicker Chris Blewitt, who is in the second season with Pitt.   Chris was effective last season regardless how bad that name sounds.   The Punter will be Freshman Ryan Winslow.  If for some reason he struggles, they will defer to Blewitt.   Standout Tyler Boyd will be running back punts and kicks and is a threat to break it at any point.

I will be doing a breakdown of this years schedule and an overall prediction later this week.

Gregory Polanco, 
Sportstalkflorida.com

Polanco Back To The Minors, Snyder Solidifies Spot

The Struggling Gregory Polanco was sent back to Indy today and will likely remain their for the remainder of the Indianapolis Season.   While the Pirates are expected to recall Jose Tabata.   We all know what he brings to the table so there will be no surprises when he gets up here.

I am speculating at this point, but I think that  Travis Snyder will be starting in right field and Tabata will come off the bench.   Snyder has played well since June first and has earned a spot at this point.  Polanco on the other hand started like a house of fire, but has since slowed and the Pirates felt like he could grow some more from Indy.  I absolutely agree.  They brought him up and he helped jumpstart this team.   With that said, he is their right fielder of the future and will likely be the starter next season.

Barmes will be recalled once he comes off the DL.   Look for both of those moves to bolster the lineup.

perfect game photo

Perfection In Washington

Washington Wild Things right-hander Matt Sergey (2-0) accomplished what no other pitcher in the Frontier League has done in its 22-year-history on Sunday as he tossed a perfect game in the Wild Things 6-0 shutout victory over the Gateway Grizzlies at CONSOL Energy Park.

Sergey threw his arms in the air after Gateway’s Jimmy Obermark grounded out to shortstop for the final out. The closet the Grizzlies got to a hit was in the ninth as two long fly outs to the outfield wall gave way for Washington players to mob Sergey. Thousands of fans along with four important people on hand, Sergey’s two aunts, his uncle and his 92-year-old grandmother witnessed the Florida native toss perfection and add another highlight to what has been a magical season for Washington.

It was the league’s first perfect game and the first perfect game in Washington history. The accomplishment was also the first no-hitter performance to be on CONSOL Energy Park soil. The 25-year-old pitcher who was released by Gateway in spring training threw 100 pitches and collected nine strikeouts battling pitch-for-pitch and retiring 27 straight Grizzlies.

The offense was quick to back up their star as a 3-3 performance by shortstop Ryan Kresky and two homeruns by pinch-hitter Maxx Garrett, his seventh and outfielder Andrew Heck, his first, kept them at the top of the Frontier League East Division in a crucial playoff race.

For the official box score visit: http://frontier.bbstats.pointstreak.com/boxscoretext.html?gameid=177364

The Things travel to River City for three games against the Rascals beginning on Tuesday, August 26th-Thursday, August 28th. To listen to all the games, tune in on WJPA 95.3 FM. Also, follow live in-game updates on Twitter @washwildthings.

By: Deb Hilton

Photo by Julio Torres

Pirates Take Two Of Three Against Brewers

The Pirates made up some ground, but most importantly, they exorcised some demons.   After winning last night by the final of 10-2, they were looking for a series sweep today in Milwaukee for the first time since 2004.   The Pirates would give a good effort, but in the end, they would fall by the final score of 4-3.

The Pirates got a decent outing today from Vance Worley as he gave up 4 earned runs, though it was a mistake by Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the second inning that was the difference in the game today.   After the Pirates had tied the game up at 2 in the top of the inning, McCutchen was fielding a fly by to center field that bounced to him for  a single.   He misplayed the bounce and it went under his glove which allowed the batter to go to second.    It was ruled a double, but it may have not been with the misplay.   A series of singles would score a couple of runs, which in the end was the difference.   If the double did not happen, the number of runs may have not been 2.

Though, the run that Andrew was responsible for, he would get back in the top of the ninth during what was one of the most compelling at bats of the season.   He fouled off pitch after pitch, not giving an inch.   He would finally get the pitch he wanted and drive it into the seats.   Unfortunately for the Bucs, he would  have no one on base so the run would cut the lead to 4-3.   The Pirates would put the next runner on and Pedro would come to the plate.    Pedro drew a walk earlier in the game, not to mention, he hit two home runs last night, a two run shot, followed by a solo home run to the opposite field.   He would come up in the ninth with two outs and a runner on first down a run and strike out.

The Pirates today scored all their runs on home runs as Starling Marte would hit a two run shot in the second inning to briefly tie the game at 2.

The Pirates took 2 of 3 from the Brewers and now look to come back home with a little momentum to face the St Louis Cardinals and John Lackey.  Lackey is 12-8 this season with and ERA near 4.   He was one of the Cardinals trade deadline deals.  The Pirates will counter with Francisco Liriano.   Liriano is coming off of a bad outing his last time out.  He will be looking for a bounce back performance.   On the other hand, Lackey has not pitched well the entire month of August.  he has pitched four games giving up 17 runs in 25 innings for an ERA of 5.40.

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