You knew it was bound to happen, again.
Anyone who has ever been to a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game with Homer City’s George Coury knows that the longtime season ticket holder, at times, is not paying real close attention to what is happening on the playing field.
Sunday afternoon, with Pedro Alvarez at bat, the Bucco power hitter turned on a fastball and scorched a two-hopper into the first base seats headed directly at Coury.
He was engrossed in conversation with Indiana’s Chris Guerrieri and Homer City’s Joe Medvetz and was facing them when they shouted, “look out!”
Seated next to him, I raised my hands in self-defense and in a split second the ball glanced off the top of the padded railing in front of us and grazed Coury, who ducked.
Here is the incredible fact.
Coury has had season tickets for 44 years and in that time has missed only 18 home games. That means, not counting playoffs, he has been to 3,546 games and has been hit twice with a batted or thrown ball — his seat alongside the first base dugout. Fortunately, the ball did nip the railing or it could have been a missile shot into the stands, and who knows what could have happened. But Coury came away unscathed and some lucky fan about five rows back got the ball.
And, as far as the game goes, the Pirates came from five runs down to defeat Cincinnati. Our party of four was all smiles as we headed for Big Jim’s in Greenfield, Coury’s usual after-the-game stop.
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That was quite an entertaining production of the musical “Hair” at IUP’s Fisher Auditorium last Sunday evening. I had seen the show back in the 1970s at the former Nixon Theater in Pittsburgh when the controversial musical was touring the country.
It tells the story of a group of young, long-haired hippies living the Bohemian lifestyle in New York City.
Strong language and brief nudity, along with a multi-cultural cast, the show was considered as the groundbreaking musical to define the rock musical genre.
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As a sidebar to last Sunday’s column on breakfast at Jerry Buffone’s with members and coaches of the Shannock Valley High School football teams of the early 1960s, here is a postscript on the two coaches, Ron Zucchelli and Tony Bernardi. Zucchelli went on to coach at Elders Ridge, where he continued to feed players to Louisville, having sent Jerry and Doug Buffone and Bill Lettie from Shannock.
Jim Zamberlan of Elders Ridge went to Louisville, where his achievements earned him induction into the university’s athletic Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Indiana County Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. Since retiring from the education field Zucchelli operates his own busiess, Zuchelli Invertments.
Bernardi’s claim to fame came as a basketball coach, where he tutored a very successful high school team at Shannock and later as an assistant at IUP.
Herm Sledzik, retired basketball coach and athletic director at IUP — who also coached at Shannock Valley in his early years — hired Bernardi for his knowledge on defense.
“Tony helped turn our program around with his defensive coaching ability. He also was an assistant to Carl Davis and Tom Beck,” said Sledzik.