By Mike White | Monday, May 31, 2010, 10 p.m.
Blog note: We'll have a live blog from WPIAL baseball championships the next two nights.
The WPIAL baseball championships are tommorow and Wednesday, and while researching some WPIAL baseball championship scores the past few days, I came upon some stories that were definitely on the interesting - and strange - side. Tell me if they don't bring a chuckle orhave you shaking your head a little.
The pitcher who pitched 12 innings
Obviously, there were no pitching rules in 1972. At the WPIAL championship that year, Montour beat Penn Hills, 3-1, in 12 innings at Three Rivers Stadium. Montour's Jeff Panizzi pitched all 12 innings. ALL OF THEM!!!! I wonder how many pitches he threw? Had to be 150. Maybe 200? Panizzi allowed only four hits, but walked eight. So that had to put his pitch count high.
"We had an understanding," Montour coach Tom Birko was quoted as saying. "If he was tired, he was going to be truthful and tell me."
But would he tell the coach if his arm felt like it was going to fall off? Montour scored two runs in the top of the 12th to get the win.
Now get this: Panizzi pitched three-plus innings two days earlier in the semifinals. That means 15 innings in three days!!!!
And one other name stuck out in this story. Scott Edgar pitched the first 6 2/3 innings for Penn Hills. It has to be the same Scott Edgar who went on to become Duquesne University's mens basketball coach for a few years.
WPIAL champs in American Legion uniforms
Here is definitely one from the strange but true category. Burrell defeated North Hills, 6-4, in the 1974 WPIAL championship at Three Rivers Stadium. Burrell wore its American Legion uniforms. Seriously.
Phil Axelrod's story in the Post-Gazette from that day quoted Burrell coach Jim Bosin as saying, "They are good doubleknit uniforms and you feel more like a good ball player in good uniforms. We expect to go all the way to the state playoffs in Legion ball," Bosin added, noting that all but two of Burrell's starters play for that team. "We start today."
In that 1974 championship, North Hills' pitcher was Thom Dornbook, who went on to play offensive line for the Steelers.
Art Howe the winning pitcher
This one isn't strange. Just interesting. On June 11, 1964, Shaler won the WPIAL title with a 2-1 victory against Monongahela at Forbes Field. The Post-Gazette had a picture of the winning pitcher accepting the championship trophy. The pitcher had thick glasses. It was Art Howe, who went on to play in the major leagues and also was a manager for three major-league teams.
Here is an excerpt from paul Kurtz's story (I love some of the lingo in sports writing back then):
"A four-hitter was turned in by the bespectabled Howe, who fanned five and walked three, one intentional in the seventh. It was Howe's sixth consecutive victory of the season. Monongahela also had a sharp chucker in Dennis Vugrinovich, who was banged for six safeties, including two doubles fy left fielder Eddie Lutz, struck out five and passed only two. A chucker who was banged for six safeties. Gotta love it.
"A four-hitter was turned in by the bespectabled Howe, who fanned five and walked three, one intentional in the seventh. It was Howe's sixth consecutive victory of the season. Monongahela also had a sharp chucker in Dennis Vugrinovich, who was banged for six safeties, including two doubles fy left fielder Eddie Lutz, struck out five and passed only two.
A chucker who was banged for six safeties. Gotta love it.