Memories To Last A Lifetime For Bobcats, Cardinals And Others At PNC Park/Pirates High School Baseball Showcase

Above photo by Madonna Schwentner/mjschwentner Photography – Bobcats and Cardinals congratulating each other after the game.

The Clarion Area Bobcats and DuBois Central Catholic teams made memories to last a lifetime, on Saturday, April 27th, as they took part the day long PNC Park/Pirates High School Baseball Showcase.

Their matchup, the last of four, which had a two hour time limit, began at approximately 6:00pm and ended in a 3 -all tie, for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class-1A State Champion Bobcats and State Runner-up, Cardinals. The Cardinals were the 2022 State Champions.

Photo by Brinlee Kiskadden/BK Photography.

The other contests included: Eden Christian Academy vs Southside High School at 10:00am, Grove City vs Slippery Rock at 12:40pm and Seneca Valley vs Gateway at 3:20 pm.

Matt Privette – PNC Park/Pittsburgh Pirates, Account Executive, Ticket Sales & Service shared, “It was cool to watch the games because you could really see how much this experience meant for the players, coaches, and families. This is an experience they’ll never forget, to play in the best ballpark in America with their teammates.”

Privette played baseball at Clarion University from 2018-2022 and reached out to Clarion Area head coach Rob Jewett about taking part. “I reached out to him through email because we had openings for the High School Baseball Classic. I was thinking of high school teams around the area, and I knew they were a successful team because they won state championship last season.

“He was all for it. He got in touch with Coach Fox from DuBois Central Catholic and everybody was on board such as the boosters, coaches, players and parents.”

Demonstrating the friendly rivalry these two schools have, the happenings began with the two teams and others from the communities gathering for a tailgate party.

Photo by Rick Miller – Joint tailgate party.

Folks from both schools brought covered dishes, chips, you name it. Dave Smail kept busy by manning the grill.

Photo by Rick Miller – Dave Smail working hard at the grill.

The players got to relax while catching some of the Seneca Valley – Gateway game which preceded their contest.

Photo by Rick Miller – Bobcat players enjoying some of the preceding game.

The Clarion Singers, under the guidance of Choral Music Teacher, Miss Sarah Matson sang the “National Anthem.” Miss Matson had this to say about this great honor, The Clarion Singers had a wonderful experience singing the National Anthem at the Bobcat baseball game at PNC Park during the Pirates ‘High School Baseball Showcase.’

Photo by Doris Brown – Clarion Singers, with Miss Sarah Matson directing, performing the National Anthem.

“It was so great for them to be able to sing from behind home plate, and in such an awesome venue as PNC Park.

Photo by Aryana Girvan – DCC players, coaches and fans honoring the USA during the National Anthem.

“We would like to thank Dr. Carrico, Mrs. Miller-Martini, the Clarion Area School Board, and the Clarion baseball team and coaches for inviting us to be a part of this event and to cheer them on in Pittsburgh. 

Photo by Brinlee Kiskadden/BK Photography – Bobcats standing at attention to honor our Nation during the Star Spangled Banner.”

Clarion Area Head Coach Rob Jewett said, “It was an amazing experience all these young men will never forget! So thankful for the baseball boosters and players parents to help make this possible and for all our fans for traveling so far to watch some really good baseball in such a beautiful park.

“Thank you to Matt Privette, Clarion University Baseball Alumni, for inviting us to this special event and the Pirates organization for hosting a memorable event like this.”

Coach Jewett gave his take on the game. “There were three games before us, as we finished a long day of high school baseball.

“Our game was a great game of baseball. Both teams hit the ball well, played really good defense and put on a great show for their fans. Snowberger threw a great game for DCC, hats off to him!

Photo by Stephanie Brinkley – the scoreboard.

“I thought my pitchers did a great job on the bump as well! I was really proud of our team for how they played and handled the atmosphere. I told them to take it all in and enjoy the moment, but don’t make it bigger than it is…a game. I thought they did a great job controlling emotions and staying calm and loose.

“We tried to get as many players as we could in the game, but it was difficult with this game counting towards your record and playoffs. I was able to get everyone from last year’s team except one in the game. If we did this again, I would count it as a scrimmage to take some pressure off the whole winning aspect.”

Coach Jewett had many that he wanted to thank. “Again, a great experience that no one will ever forget. Really happy everything went smoothly and the weather held off. Thanks again to everyone that made it possible: the players, coaches, parents, fans, administration, Pirates organization, umpires who traveled to be there, and the grounds crew.”

Photo by Brinley Kiskadden/BK Photography – Tyson Hooks, Brady Pierce, Marlon Lewis, and Trey Hooks there to cheer on the Bobcats.

DCC Coach Adam Fox said, “It was a great experience and the Pirates are generous to allow high school teams this opportunity. With this being somewhat of a rival game, I think the level of play was great and we had great support from our communities.

“Our players and myself joined in on the tailgate prior to the game. It was very nice of everyone to hang out like that and have some good fellowship prior to competing.

“The weather was fantastic. Couldn’t have asked for a better day!”

As for the game. “I thought both teams played a good brand of baseball that was both entertaining and up to to standards both programs have shown over the last few years. Walking out after the game I was told by an usher that our Game had the best 2 teams of the day by a Longshot. So that is always great to hear from a subjective fan.

Photo by Photo by Madonna Schwentner/mjschwentner Photography.

“… It was a once in a lifetime experience for everyone I feel, I’m thankful our team was invited. I’m thankful the boys put on a show for their fans, Mission accomplished.”

Mr. Privette said he believes the showcase began around 2017. He estimated the overall attendance total for all this year’s Showcase to be roughly 10,000.

About the Bobcats – Cardinals matchup he shared, “Both teams put on a great performance. You could tell the teams knew each other very well and neither team wanted to lose.” Prevent mentioned that he felt that their game was the most competitive one in this year’s event.

Clarion Area teacher Mr. Dave Constantino, has done the Public Address for various Bobcat sporting events over the years, as well as Central Clarion Wildcats Football and various other PA work for other schools around the area. He was asked to do the Public Address for the game.

Mr. Constantino introducing the teams, prior to the game.

Mr. Privette said, “Dave did great with the PA announcing. He brought great energy and I think both teams fed off that.”

Mr. Constantino showed no partiality for this contest. “I kept a scorebook as I was announcing, so there wasn’t a whole lot of time for anything else. I was neutral in the announcing as I wanted both sides to truly enjoy the experience.

Photo by Photo by Madonna Schwentner/mjschwentner Photography.

“I had a blast and can cross off announcing at a major league baseball park off of my bucket list.”

As a true sports fan, Dave took it upon himself to lead the fans in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” complete with the motions, during the fourth inning stretch.

This really impressed Mr. Privette. He mentioned that he doesn’t ever remember an announcer doing that at the Showcase before.

Perhaps a new tradition has been started.

Privette said, “That was really cool. Both teams participated.” The rendition started as the lights were coming on. He felt that really got the teams and fans more in to it for the rest of the game. “It really brought out the energy under the lights at arguably the best stadium in Major League Baseball.”

Mr. Constantino leading “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

The consummate “professional” Dave was locked in on his singing. “To be honest with you, I was so focused on doing my part I really did not notice what was going on in the crowd.”

Dave should see if PNC could enlist his services leading “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at all future Showcase games maybe fill in, in a pinch in any game that may not have an announcer.

Clarion Area Superintendent Dr. Joe Carrico was very pleased. “What a great event not only for our student athletes but for the schools and families! Lots of folks made the trip to catch a great game in a great park!

“Congratulations to the coaches and boosters for putting all of this together and thank you to the Pirates for letting the kids create a lifetime memory.

“Even Dave Constantino may have found a new calling with his thrilling rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” although we are glad he has a back up plan.”

Photo by Maria Wilson.

Dave Smail, Clarion Area Baseball Booster Board member shared his thoughts as a dad, “As far as from a parent viewpoint, the day started out with a fun tailgate with lots of food and drink provided by the families. Lots of food, laughter, and seeing some alumni come out to support the team was fantastic.

DCC is a good team and when you finish in a tie (forced by the PGH Pirates), it is what it is. You have to expect both teams to play hard and they did. It was a feeling of great accomplishment to see all that we have fundraised for happen at PNC Park. For the players to get a chance and families to be able to watch their athlete play on an MLB field is just spectacular.

An experience like this doesn’t happen often and we all made the best of it.”

Photo by Madonna Schwentner/mjschwentner Photography – young DCC fan gets boost in cheering for the Cardinals.

Coach Fox also shared some background on some things took place on what took place so not to damage the playing surface. “On field we had to be very careful of staying off the grass as much as we could. The grounds crew did a great job of communicating all the guidelines for us coaches, players, and umpires.”
He mentioned the officiating crew, saying, “We had 4 local umpires, Dave Neal behind the plate, Kevin Doverspike at first, Rob Morgan at 2nd, and Lee Kroll at 3rd. They did a tremendous job and we are grateful for them.”

Mr. Privette recognized others from PCN Park/Pirates who work diligently in making the Showcase a success. He said. I give credit to my colleagues Josh Avart, and Nick Ramsey as we all took it upon ourselves to find teams to participate in the annual high school baseball classic and continue to grow it. I also give credit to our events team and groundskeeping crew for making this a successful day.”

Photo by Brinlee Kiskadden/BK Photography – (L-R) Clarion Head Coach Rob Jewett, Dave Constantino and Assistant Coach Lee Weber.

Congratulations to all who made this special event possible!!

(Thank you to all who contributed photos and quotes for this article!!!! The response for photos was fantastic!! So many folks, so many photos. I couldn’t possibly share them all. Absolutely great work!!)