By Mike White | Saturday, Aug. 22, 10:40 a.m.
I always find myself rooting for athletes from Western Pennsylvania to do well on the college or professional level. That's why Thursday was interesting as two former WPIAL stars made impacts that were seen on national television.
Former Mt. Lebanon baseball star Josh Wilson has apparently found baseball life with the Seattle Mariners. Thursday night, Wilson, a shortstop, had two defensive plays that were ESPN's Web Gems of the night - 1 and 1A. Wilson made the plays against the Detroit Tigers.
Wilson is playing for injured Jack Wilson (remember him?) and Josh Wilson is excelling. Since Aug. 13, he is hitting .345 with three home runs. To put that in perspective, consider Wilson had two home runs - IN HIS CAREER before this latest outburst. Makes you think the Mariners might not rush Jack Wilson back into the lineup.
The Mariners claimed Josh Wilson off waivers in June. Wilson had played for Arizona and San Diego this season. Let's see if the hot streak lasts. Wilson hit his third home run last night against Cleveland.
Now on to another WPIAL alum who showed on ESPN Thursday night. Former Sto-Rox star Adam DiMichele played much of the second half as quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. DiMichele was fairly impressive. He made a few errant throws, but also some good ones as he completed 14 of 22 passes for 130 yards against the Indianapolis Colts. He also threw a 21-yard touchdown pass late in the game. DiMichele, a former Post-Gazette Athlete of the Year who played at Temple, was signed by the Eagles in the spring, cut in the summer, but signed again a few weeks ago. Against the Colts, he wasn't going against first-team players. But then again, he didn't have a first-team offensive line or first-team receivers on his side. Also, no one is expecting the rookie DiMichele to challenge for the first-team job.
With Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and A.J. Feeley all on the Eagles' roster, DiMichele is probably playing for a practice squad spot. But the way he looked against the Colts, he might deserve it. He showed a good arm and some ability to move. At the very least, he might have showed enough to get some other teams interested.
And think about this for DiMichele. Let's say he makes the Eagles. How many athletes in WPIAL history can say they went on to make an NFL roster and also were taken in the Major League Baseball draft at some point in their careers. DiMichele can make that statement. On top of that, I always thought he was a good enough athlete in basketball to play at the low Division I college level or maybe Division II.