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Butler baseball No. 6 in the East Region

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North Allegheny likely took more than a section win from Butler’s baseball team.

The Golden Tornado was listed No. 6 in the East Region by the USA Today in the rankings released Wednesday — the only WPIAL team included in the 10-team list — not long before the Golden Tornado lost to North Allegheny, 3-1, in a key Section 1-AAAA game under the lights in McCandless.

See the USA Today rankings.

Cody Gaettner and Rob Sittig had seventh-inning RBIs for North Allegheny in that game. Butler (7-2) could drop when the new rankings are released next week. Might North Allegheny (8-1) take its place? That could add a little fire for when the two meet again April 29 at Butler.

HOPEWELL’S STREAK COULD BE TESTED

Hopewell’s baseball hasn’t lost a regular-season game since April 2, 2009. Since then, the Vikings have won 27 consecutive. That streak could be tested at 3:45 p.m., Friday, when Class AAA No. 1 Hopewell (12-0) travels to face No. 4 Montour (6-0) in Section 3.

But there are a couple other games that bring together ranked teams:

Also in Class AAA, No. 2 Laurel Highland (6-1) will travel to No. 3 Greensburg Salem (5-2) for a 4 p.m. game that could match standout pitchers Ethan Mildren and Nate Sphon.

In Class AAAA, No. 5 Peters Township (3-1) will visit No. 4 Baldwin (6-1) at 4:15 p.m.

NEW CASTLE NAMES BLUNDO BASKETBALL COACH

As expected, New Castle has hired Ralph Blundo as boys basketball coach. Blundo, an assistant principal in the school district, replaces Mark Stanley, who resigned in March after three seasons with a 31-37 record.

To hire Blundo, the school board had to rescind a regulation it enacted in 2007 that prohibited administrators from coaching. The rule was created after longtime coach John Sarandrea left the district to become superintendent in Sharon.

Blundo, a New Castle graduate, had a one-year stint as head coach at George Junior Republic in 1999.

— Chris Harlan (charlan@tribweb.com)

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