Since the formation of the Unity American Legion baseball team in 2005, current manager Ed Guzik cannot recall having a left-handed pitcher on his staff until last season.
Last season the Unity American Legion team, which competes in the Westmoreland County League, had two left-handed pitchers and almost on cue, Unity qualified out of District 31 to reach the Region 7 playoffs for the first time in team history.
Those lefties, Josh Keefe and Blake Reeping, are back this summer.
They have helped Unity start the season 11-1 and jump to the top of the Westmoreland County Southern Division standings, just ahead of Latrobe (10-1 before Wednesday night's scheduled game against West Hempfield).
Unity and Latrobe both get players from Greater Latrobe High School and Ligonier Valley High School, which competes outside of the WPIAL in District 6 for scholastic sports.
The dividing line is Route 30 with players in the Latrobe area residing south of Route 30 playing for Unity.
The Legion games between Unity and Latrobe are among the most anticipated of the Westmoreland County season. Keefe pitched a complete game on Friday in a 2-1 Unity win.
Keefe is a rising senior at Latrobe, Reeping is a recent graduate from Latrobe.
"With Keefe and Reeping both being left-handed, it is special," Guzik said. "It messes a lot of teams up especially when teams have a mostly left-handed lineup. All of our pitchers have pitched lights out, everyone has gone out and delivered when we gave them the ball."
Right-handed pitcher Rick Ross has been having a strong season, too. Against a lineup that featured six left-handed bats, Ross won a game last week against Bushy Run. Ross also had the winning two-out RBI in the bottom of the sixth inning against Latrobe on Friday.
Overall, Unity is one of the younger teams in Westmoreland Legion ball with only one college player on the roster, Brandon Clark, a 2012 Latrobe graduate who played as a freshman at Penn State Altoona. Clark is Unity's starting catcher.
"The defense has been outstanding," Guzik said.
Last season Unity reached the District 31 championship game where it lost to Hempfield East but it still qualified for the Region 7 tournament that also features teams from Cambria and Indiana counties and the Central Penn League.
"[Qualifying for the regional tournament] was a big step for us," Guzik said.
Brothers from Ligonier Valley, Ty and Luke Ferlin, start at shortstop and third base, respectively. Ty Ferlin bats leadoff. Clark bats third and Eli Imbrogno hits cleanup. Imbrogno, who started at catcher for the Latrobe varsity team, plays first base for the Legion team.
Ray Sowinski, a recent Latrobe graduate, has been an offensive and defensive leader for Unity. Guzik plays Sowinski at multiple positions in the outfield.
Unity's only loss this season was to Hempfield East.
"I think Latrobe is number one and the two Hempfield teams are always there," Guzik said. "After that, everyone is pretty much even. I know our record is 11-1, but anybody can beat anybody on a given day."
Unity plays its home games at Whitney Field. It plays host to Mount Pleasant on Friday.
Unity will close its regular season with its annual Fourth of July game against Latrobe at Legion Keener Field.
"That is our big game with them," Guzik said. "That is one of the highlights of the season."