Wrestling

I wonder how many times in the last four years I've written the phrase "Ladley and Letts"? Mike Letts and Garth Ladley will be wrapping up stellar high school careers this weekend in Hershey at the PIAA, Class AA State Tournament.

That I have written the aforementioned phrase (and yes, Ladley comes first both alphabetically and by weight class, Rich Letts) as often as I have is just a clear indication of just how good the pair have been. This will be the third straight trip to states for each of them, with Letts defending is state title, and Ladley trying to get back up on the medal stand where he was two years ago. Meanwhile, the two have won just about everything else that can be won.

Letts, currently sporting a career record of 140-19 (40-0 this season), is tops on Octorara's wins list. Ladley (36-7) is 133-28 for his career, second on the all-time list just behind Letts.

Ladley opens his run to a state title against Joey Anceravage from Bloomsburg. Anceravage, a junior, won the Northeast regional tournament a week ago, and has a record of 35-2 on the season. This is Anceravage's third trip to states, and he is still looking for his first medal.

Should Ladley get by Anceravage, he faces a likely re-match with Hamburg's Nick Sanko, who edged Ladley 3-0 in last weekend's regional semi-finals.

Freshman Ryan Watson from Burgetstown (36-7), a fifth place finisher in the Southwest Region, in his first appearance in the state tournament, faces the daunting task of wrestling Letts in the first round. Besides Letts, there is just one other state ranked wrestler on Letts' side of the bracket, Steve Makin (35-4) of Central Cambria, who is ranked at number four. Letts and Makin wouldn't meet until semi-finals.

In the top half of the bracket, it looks like an early battle between Brandywine Heights' Greg Lapp and Lewisburg senior Derek Coffey (Northwest champ, 35-2), with Nick Hosford, whom Letts defeated by tech fall in the regional final, likely awaiting the Coffey-Lapp winner in the quarters. Zac Bennett, ranked number four in the state, is the highest ranked remaining wrestler, and is the probable semi-final opponent for whomever emerges from the Lapp-Coffey-Hosford trio.

Baseball

It seems as though the World Baseball Classic is being greeted with all the warmth and enthusiasm of a tax audit, and I'm not quite sure why.

I think it's a great idea, and while many top names have opted out, there is still some amazing talent playing on the various squads. I'm looking forward to watching the tournament, though I agree that it would be better to schedule it for after the World Series, instead of during Spring Training.

Most people are picking the Dominican Republic to win it all, but I don't think so. The US team may not have the offensive firepower of the Domincans, but the U.S. squad has much greater pitching depth. And with pitchers held to a 65-pitch limit, and other restrictions on pitching, that depth could mean everything.

With all the international success that Cuba has had, you'd think they'd be on someone's favorites list. But the fact of the matter is that Cuba has just beat up on the rest of the world's amateurs, a pro team playing against boys. They won't stand up to the major league quality of play in the WBC.

Feel free to contact Bill Rudick at 717-786-6095 or brudick@epix.net to report any sports news or to comment on anything regarding sports in the Post Ledger.

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