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McKeesport, EA Baseball Teams Savor Success

May 14, 2022 |

By Kristen Keleschenyi | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News, Sports

McKeesport Tigers varsity baseball players include, first row, Brady Boyle, Colin Scharritter, Duston Strom, Brayden Kovach, Jason Peterson and Ryan Tucker, and second row, Jaden Smith, Jake Miller, Logan Shiffler, Noah Marcic, Austin Riggs, Alex Reigh and Ricky Heyz. (Submitted photo)

For fans disappointed in the Pittsburgh Pirates, high school baseball is an exciting alternative in the Mon-Yough area.

For the first time in 23 years, East Allegheny High School’s Wildcats are section champs (WPIAL Division 3A) as they advance to the playoffs and for the first time in 21 years, McKeesport Area High School’s Tigers (WPIAL Division 5A) have earned a playoff spot in their conference.

But why has it been so long since these teams have had something big to celebrate? According to Ron Bishop, head coach of McKeesport’s varsity team for the past nine years, it takes a long time to create a competitive team. Sometimes his players are coming together, for the first time, at the high school level.

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Serra’s Cleary Humbled By Gym Honor

December 23, 2021 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Sports

Bill Cleary, retired athletic director and teacher at Serra Catholic High School, poses with a new sign at the gymnasium. Cleary’s 41-year career at the school in Haler Heights includes coaching the girls’ basketball team to a state championship and 18 section titles. (Photo courtesy Serra Catholic High School via Facebook)

For the first time in the school’s 60-year history, Serra Catholic High School has named an area of its campus after a former teacher.

On Dec. 11, at a ceremony attended by past and current teachers and faculty, the school in McKeesport’s Haler Heights neighborhood dedicated the William J. Cleary Gymnasium.

Cleary not only taught at Serra Catholic for 41 years, but he also held the Athletic Director position for 38 of those years.

“The thought of having the gymnasium named after me is just overwhelming and it’s incredibly humbling,” Cleary said recently. “I find myself paying closer attention to places that are named after people now. Someday someone will ask, ‘Who was that Coach Cleary guy anyway?””

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Cash Named One of League’s 25 All-Time Best

September 07, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Sports

New Orleans Pelicans submitted photo

Swin Cash, McKeesport native, Olympic gold medalist and hall-of-fame basketball player, greets New Orleans Pelicans fans in 2019. Cash, who played 15 seasons in the WNBA, has been named one of the 25 greatest and most influential players in the league’s history. (New Orleans Pelicans photo)

City native and Olympic champion Swin Cash has been named one of the top 25 players in the history of the WNBA — and is eligible to be named the league’s “greatest of all time” during the upcoming finals.

On Sunday, the league commemorated its 25th season by naming “The W25,” a list of the “25 greatest and most influential players” in WNBA history, and announced a contest where fans can “Vote for the GOAT,” the greatest WNBA player of all time.

A McKeesport Area High School and University of Connecticut graduate, Cash, 41, played for the Detroit Shock, Seattle Storm, Chicago Sky, Atlanta Dream and New York Liberty during her 15-year professional basketball career.

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Dek Hockey Leagues Thriving in City

June 22, 2021 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Sports

Additional reporting by Kristen Keleschenyi

When the McKeesport Dek Hockey Association announced in March that they would have adult leagues in the spring, interest was high after a year of COVID-19 restrictions. Although youth leagues were postponed, enrollment in the adult leagues flourished.

The rink offered a dose of normalcy for adults during the pandemic. Not only was the rink a location for adults to gather safely to get some much-needed exercise, but it also gave players an opportunity for fellowship.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Andy Miller, a Glassport resident who plays in the adult leagues. “I started playing here about two years ago. Now, I’m usually here three or four nights per week playing games.”

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EA Senior Swims to New Records

February 20, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News, Sports

When Autumn Christner was trying out different sports growing up, she wasn’t expecting to fall in love with swimming. Thirteen years on, she’s setting new records.

“I did all types of different sports growing up, and I didn’t really like any of it. My sister did swimming — that’s what got me into it,” Christner said.

The East Allegheny senior broke a 39-year-old record for the 100-meter breaststroke in a swim meet against North Catholic on Feb. 9.

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Black Baseball Has Strong Connection to Region

February 10, 2021 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: History, Sports

The 1930-31 Homestead Grays, considered by baseball experts the best Negro Leagues team of all time. Five of the people in this photo — owner Cumberland Posey, pitcher “Smokey” Joe Williams, catcher Josh Gibson, center fielder Oscar Charleston and infielder Jud Wilson — are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Hank Aaron’s death on Feb. 5, during Black History Month, resonated with many baseball fans — especially those who remember the Negro major leagues, where Aaron began his professional career in 1951.

Other than Kansas City, perhaps no city has a stronger connection than Pittsburgh to baseball’s Negro major leagues, where Black athletes competed in the days before Major League Baseball was integrated.

The Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords — named after the Crawford Bath House in Pittsburgh’s Hill District — were cornerstones of the Negro National League, which was created in 1933 and lasted until 1948.

“Some of the greatest players to ever play in the Negro Leagues and the Major Leagues once played right here in Pittsburgh,” said Dave Moore, museum director at the McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center.

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Cash Named to Basketball Hall of Fame

February 11, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Sports

During a 2012 event at the McKeesport Palisades, basketball star Swin Cash posed with McKeesport area students who were helped by her charity, Cash for Kids. (Tube City Almanac file photo by John Barna)

McKeesport native and two-time Olympic gold medalist Swin Cash has been named to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Cash will be inducted June 13 in Knoxville, Tenn., along with her Seattle Sonics teammate Lauren Jackson; players Debbie Brock and Tamika Catchings; Carol Callan, director of the U.S. women’s national team; former NCAA vice president Sue Donohoe; and ESPN vice president Carol Stiff.

In a statement released Monday via Facebook, Cash said she was “humbled and honored” and congratulated the other new hall of famers.

“Thank you to the committee, my family, coaches, teammates, my hometown of McKeesport ... and every single fan that loves our game and supports it!” Cash said. “To all of the young ladies like me that were growing up ... as my mom always told me, ‘don’t quit!’ Do what you love and love what you do young queens!”

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Charity Basketball Game Raises $9K For Scholarships

January 14, 2020 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Sports

CORRECTION: Darius Prince was unable to attend Saturday's game. He was replaced by Chris Edmonds.

Bryan Akinkugbe currently plays for the Steel City Yellow Jackets. He also played professionally in Canada and Mexico. He was among the competitors during a charity basketball game at Penn State Greater Allegheny in McKeesport on Saturday. (Richard Finch Jr. photo/special to Tube City Almanac)

Jesús Torres is already working on plans for the third-annual Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Celebrity basketball game, securing commitments from fellow “celebrity” players to return to McKeesport next January.

“I was joking with the players after Saturday's game that we need to sign five-year contracts,” he said. “They all promised to come back here next year to keep this event going.”

Three hundred fans showed up on Saturday for the second-annual game, which raised more than $9,000 for scholarships to support the region’s Hispanic community.

Celebrity players were divided into home and away squads. The unofficial score was 96-90 in favor of the “home” team, but the “official” score was changed to a 96-96 tie, a Penn State spokesman said.

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Celebrity Basketball Game Will Benefit Scholarships

January 09, 2020 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, Sports

(Photo courtesy Penn State Greater Allegheny)

Pittsburgh Pirates’ third-base coach Joey Cora, Arena Football champion and former West Mifflin Area standout Darius Prince, former WNBA point guard Carla Cortijo and others will take the court Saturday in a charity basketball game to raise money for college scholarships.

The Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will host its second-annual Celebrity Basketball Game at Penn State Greater Allegheny’s Wunderley Gymnasium in McKeesport, a spokesman said.

The family friendly event begins at 2:30 p.m. and will include activities, giveaways and a visit by the Penn State Nittany Lion and other costumed mascots and characters from local teams and businesses.

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Charity Hoops Tourney Will Raise Funds for Scholarships

January 09, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, Sports

A charity basketball game on Saturday at Penn State's Wunderley Gymnasium in McKeesport will raise money to support scholarships for Hispanic students in the Pittsburgh area.

The game is being co-hosted by Penn State Greater Allegheny Campus and the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It tips off at 2:30 p.m.

“We are so pleased to be teaming up with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for this event,” said Jacqueline Edmondson, chancellor and chief academic officer at Greater Allegheny. “The chamber has been a wonderful community partner and incredibly supportive of our students through their scholarship programs.”

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