PG North/East: North Allegheny grad Trettel comes back strong at Seton Hill
July 2, 2009 4:00 AM
Seton Hill photo
Pat Trettel, a North Allegheny High School graduate, slugged 15 home runs this season for Seton Hill University.
By Nicholas Tolomeo Tri-State Sports & News Service
Seton Hill baseball coach Marc Marizzaldi was not expecting to see a player routinely belt home runs for his team this season.
The coach for the six-year-old program had only seen one player ever even hit four in a season. Marizzaldi was building a "small-ball" team that manufactured runs.
Then North Allegheny slugger Pat Trettel came along.
It was apparent quickly that Trettel had the potential to be the slugger every manager wants to see in the center of his lineup when he belted three home runs in one game his freshman year. He had four home runs that season, tying the school record.
Nonetheless, not too many people around the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference could have been expecting a big slugging year for Trettel. He had missed all of last season after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder caused from wear and tear of playing behind the plate in nearly every game.
"I wasn't really sure what type of season he would have," Marizzaldi said.
"He was coming off surgery ... pretty major arm surgery. He had not seen live pitching for a long time and I was not sure how he would respond."
Trettel responded just fine.
He slugged his way into school history with a 15-home run season. In one season he also set the career home run record while helping lead the Griffins to a 30-17 record.
"He had an absolutely phenomenal year," Marizzaldi said. "He shattered the school record and that power was something we never had."
After reaching double digits in home runs, almost everyone associated with the Seton Hill team was surprised that Trettel was still getting pitches to hit. He continued to make the most of it.
Trettel has one year of eligibility remaining after redshirting last season because of surgery. The time off Trettel took during the surgery and subsequent rehabilitation was one of the biggest reasons for his success at the plate this season.
Before his surgery Trettel weighed around 275 pounds but he started this season at 240 pounds.
"He really dedicated himself to getting in better shape," Marizzaldi said. "He changed his whole work ethic.
"Not only do I think it paid off physically, but he came in with a better mind-set, too. Missing that season, I think he really learned how to appreciate the game more. This year Pat wasn't so much concerned with the numbers and personal success but rather just enjoying every minute he could be on the field. He just went out and had fun and that translated into a lot of success."
If Trettel had been concerned with his individual numbers, he would have been pleasantly surprised at the boxscores after every game. Trettel finished the season with a .343 batting average, scored 33 runs, and had a team high 47 RBIs to go along with a team-high .723 slugging percentage.
The one year off from baseball was tough to deal with for Trettel as he was rehabbing to get ready for this season.
"Coming back in the fall after surgery, my arm wasn't up to what it used to be," Trettel said.
"I can credit some of my success to getting in a lot better shape. Getting back into the baseball aspect of things, my teammates and coaches really helped me get back into it after the long break."
A 2005 North Allegheny High School graduate, Trettel helped lead the Tigers to the WPIAL Class AAAA title his senior season. Trettel also played catcher in high school. As much as his offensive exploits are noticed, he is also one of the strongest defensive catchers in the conference.
After this season he was named to the Rawlings All-Atlantic Region Gold Glove second team. In 182 chances throughout the season Trettel did not commit an error while throwing out nine of 31 base stealers.
He's playing for the Allegheny Athletics this summer in the Tri-State Collegiate League.
Next year as a senior, Trettel will be one of the team leaders. He is one of the only players on the team with postseason experience, being a part of a team his freshman year that reached the NAIA World Series.
"As for my role next year, I am going to be one of the oldest guys on the team," Trettel said.
"Coach expects me to take a leadership role. I am one of the only guys who has been in a playoff situation. I know what it takes to make it that far."