Some items that fell off my laptop ...
The Pitt basketball team needs an assistant coach now that Barry Rohrssen has left for the University of Kentucky. May we here at Varsity Blog serve as "headhunter" for Jamie Dixon?
How about Dante Calabria?
I was just going over names this morning for the WPIAL Hall of Fame banquet next month when Calabria's name hit me. He will be one of the inductees into the WPIAL HOF next month.
In an interview with Calabria a month ago for a Hall of Fame story, Calabria mentioned how he would like to get into college coaching at the Division I level and would love to get into an ACC school. Calabria, if you don't know, was a tremendous player at Blackhawk High School in the WPIAL and played guard for the North Carolina Tar Heels. He was a reserve on a national championship team as a freshman and a starter on a Final Four team as a junior.
After North Carolina Calabria had a long, successful professional career in Italy (he is pictured during his days at Italy, when the hair was wild). He also came close to making the Chicago Bulls once when they had Michael Jordan. Calabria now lives in North Carolina but spent this past season as an assistant at Northwood University, an NAIA school in West Palm Beach, Fla. Northwood's coach was Rollie Massimino, who won an NCAA championship at Villanova in 1985.
Wouldn't Calabria seem like a natural fit at Pitt. Calabria wants to coach and he said a month ago that he wouldn't mind coaching closer to home. And I would be willing to bet he might be able to help Pitt in one key area - shooting. If anything, Calabria knows shooting. For his career at North Carolina, he shot 41 percent from 3-point range and made 184 3-pointers his final three seasons. On the Final Four team in 1994-95, he shot .496 percent from 3-point range.
Can Calabria recruit? Who knows. But he always had a great reputation as a person and he still has a name in ACC territory.
OK, that's enough of the Calabria resume. The bottom line is Pitt could do much, much worse than Dante.
Now about that headhunter's fee.
About McKay's hitting
Blackhawk is a popular subject on today's blog. First, Calabria. Now onto current Blackhawk baseball phenom Brendan McKay
McKay is on a pitching streak never seen before in Pennsylvania and seldom seen in the country. With a 3-0 victory against Montour Tuesday, McKay stretched his scoreless innings streak to 58, fourth-longest in the history of high school baseball in the U.S., according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. It truly is an amazing streak. But Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia said pitching isn't McKay's entire story.
"He's special, I think one of the best players to ever come around here, definitely since I've been around," said Amalia. "The thing about him is he's also a darn good hitter."
McKay had a two-run double in the first inning against Montour.
The thing that people also might not realize about McKay is he is a good athlete. He used to be a starter on the Blackhawk basketball team until giving up the sport after his sophomore year.
"He has great hand-eye coordination, he's smart and he's just a good athlete," said Amalia. "If you ever see him field his position, it's unreal."
There is a lot of question as to how high McKay will go in the Major League Baseball draft. Unless a kid is a definite first-rounder, it is hard to predict how high a high school pitcher will go. Like Amalia has said and also what I have heard talking to a few people, it could be top 10 rounds or it could be top five for McKay. Scouts from teams never like to tip their hands. We might know more in the next three weeks.
For the record
Incidentally, McKay does have a shot at reaching the national record for the longest scoreless streak. It is 80 innings, set by Joey Porter of South Natchez High in Mississippi in 1973. Blackhawk is in the WPIAL playoffs. If the Cougars could reach the WPIAL final, McKay would probably pitch three games. Then there are the PIAA playoffs.
So, he has a chance.
McCarthy's fab five
Freeport softball catcher Morgan McCarthy had a Tuesday performance that will be hard to duplicate by any softball or baseball player. Get this: McCarthy hit five home runs in one day.
Freeport beat Shady Side Academy in a doubleheader by scores of 7-5 ad 20-4. McCarthy hit two homers in the first game for three RBIs and added three homers in the second game for five more RBIs. And they were all over the fence. Not one was an inside-the-park type.
In the second game, she hit two homers and Shady Side Academy intentionally walked her twice after that. In McCarthy's fifth plate appearance, Shady Side Academy pitched to her - and she hit another homer.
And she's only a freshman.
Now check this out: McCarthy came into the game with only two home runs for the season.
McCarthy is obviously talented beyond her years. She is hitting .545 with 21 RBIs and a 1.250 slugging percentage.
Party of five
If they threw a party for the playoff teams in WPIAL Class AAA Section 1 softball, almost everyone would be invited.
There are six teams in the section and five of them will be in the playoffs. The WPIAL takes three teams from every section to the playoffs. Blackhawk finished first in AAA Section 1 and New Castle second. Ellwood City, Ambridge and Central Valley all tied for third with 5-5 section records. The tiebreaker for a playoff spot is head-to-head competition. If head-to-head doesn't break the tie, all tied teams qualify.
Well, Ellwood City, Ambridge and Central Valley were all 2-2 against each other, so they all qualified.