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Athlete of The Week Chris Koutsavlis/Mt. Lebanon ~ Jill Dorsch/North Allegheny

Thursday, June 06, 2002

By Mike White and Paul Zeise, Post-Gazette Sports Writers

Chris Koutsavlis

SCHOOL: Mt. Lebanon

Chris Koutsavlis threw a no-hitter at PNC Park last Friday to lead Mt. Lebanon to the WPIAL Class AAA title against Blackhawk. (Matt Freed, Post-Gazette)

WHO IS HE? A senior pitcher-first baseman on the Blue Devils' baseball team.

MAKING HISTORY: Koutsavlis, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound left-hander, became the first to pitch a no-hitter at PNC Park when he shut out Blackhawk, 2-0, in the WPIAL Class AAA championship game Friday. He struck out seven and walked four.

NOT HIS BEST: Although Koutsavlis had an unforgettable performance at PNC, he claimed he wasn't at his best. Mt. Lebanon Coach Mark Saghy said the same thing.

"My arm was sort of tired, just from getting so much work in the playoffs," Koutsavlis said. "My fastball wasn't as good as it normally is, and I wasn't getting as much break on my curveball as I normally do. But I just concentrated on locating my pitches in good spots."

IT'S IN THE BAG: Koutsavlis got the game ball from his no-hitter. "Actually it's still in my [equipment] bag," he said. "But I don't think I'll need anything to help me remember that game."

THE PROM HELPED: Mt. Lebanon's season ended Monday when it lost in eight innings to State College, 9-4, in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs. Mt. Lebanon's senior prom was that night.

"The prom sort of helped us forget the game a little bit," Koutsavlis said. "It was fun to have a good time after the game. I wouldn't have expected to, but we ended up having a good time."

A SEASON TO REMEMBER: It wouldn't be an overstatement to say Koutsavlis had one of the best seasons in recent WPIAL history. In a WPIAL semifinal against North Allegheny, he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He finished with a 9-0 record and allowed only two earned runs all season. His batting average was close to .500, and he led the WPIAL in RBIs in the regular season with 32.

"I will never be the person to tell you he's the best player I've ever seen in high school," Saghy said. "But he had the best season I've seen from a high school player. When you combine what he did on the mound with what he did hitting, you just don't find kids who are able to do that."

THE OTHER SPORT: Koutsavlis used to be Mt. Lebanon's goalkeeper in soccer, but he gave up the sport after his junior season to concentrate on baseball.

THE FUTURE: Koutsavlis has signed with Marshall (W.Va.), an NCAA Division I school.

-- By Mike White

Jill Dorsch

SCHOOL: North Allegheny

WHO IS SHE? A junior catcher for the softball team.

LAST WEEK: She was 2 for 3 with an RBI in the Tigers' 3-1 win against Montour in the WPIAL Class AAA softball championship last week at California. She also had two hits in the team's 14-inning, 1-0, semifinal win against Baldwin. And in a 2-0 win Monday against Elizabeth Forward in a PIAA first round game, Dorsch had a hit, scored a run and threw out two Warriors trying to steal second.

SEASON: Dorsch is batting a team-leading .456 (31 for 68). She is second in slugging percentage (.515), runs scored (17), walks (12) and stolen bases (9).

A GOOD SUBSTITUTE: Dorsch was a starter for the Tigers last year but played left field. Senior Jess Givens, who was the catcher last year, injured her shoulder and needed to have surgery before this season. With her shoulder on the mend, Givens was moved to designated hitter, meaning the team needed to find a catcher. That's when Dorsch, who has played catcher for years in AAU softball, stepped in. North Allegheny Coach Rick Meister said Dorsch has done a tremendous job, particularly on defense, and is a big reason for the team's success.

"I don't think it is that big of a deal because catcher is my normal position anyway," she said. "But it is a good feeling to know that I was able to step in and contribute to a great season. And the fact that Jess is also still able to play makes it nice as well because she's an important part of our team."

A BIG THRILL: Dorsch said winning a WPIAL title was exciting for her. But she is used to playing in big games because her AAU Team (the North Pittsburgh Knockouts, formerly the Pittsburgh Spirit) is one of the best teams in the area. Two years ago, the team traveled to Sterling, Va., and won the Pony National Championship. "That big-game experience is important because the more of them you play in, the more comfortable you feel," she said. "But I still get nervous before games and don't think I'll ever stop getting nervous. But once the game starts, I am able to calm down."

BIG SMILE: The North Allegheny players are best described as jovial. Before the WPIAL championship, they were dancing, singing and playing a game of charades in the outfield. Dorsch is one of the ringleaders because she is very outgoing and likes to keep the team pumped up. "It is just one of those things that we do because a lot of us like to keep it really light. When it comes to game time, we know what we have to do and get down to business. We just don't get really uptight because that's when you start making errors."

-- By Paul Zeise

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