Richard Stimmell of California slides safely into second base just as the ball enters the glove of Greensburg Central Catholic's Arthur Conforti in a game Tuesday at Greensburg Central Catholic.
By Sarah K. Spencer / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
As a pitching staff, Tristen Zimmer, Ross Wilkerson, Jason Orzechowski, Konnor Corchado and Jake Lindow have a 1.18 ERA through a 3-1 loss to Upper St. Clair on Monday.
Now, it’s just a matter of Chartiers Valley bats catching up.
The Colts opened the season with losses to Hempfield, Central Catholic, Seneca Valley and Montour before a 1-0 win against Moon triggered a four-game win streak.
“It’s definitely been something that’s been positive for us,” coach Curt Cairns said of his rotation. “Our pitching has held us in games. We’re just manufacturing runs right now — we’ve struggled a little bit at the plate early in the season.”
Infielder Dante Panucci was injured the first five games of the season, Cairns said, and getting him back helped spark the Colts’ offense. Still, though, he’s looking to make more adjustments to bolster the lineup and help the team prepare more for at-bats.
“We’re streaky right now at the plate, so right now we’re moving runners around,” Cairns said.
Though four losses in a row may not look pretty, Cairns will look for the payoff of scheduling tough non-section opponents later in the season.
“We scheduled the best of the best,” Cairns said. “We didn’t schedule any cupcakes. We went out and we said ‘We’re going to play as good of teams as we can possibly find.’ That’s who we want to play so we can get battle-tested for section play.”
Outside a 7-4 loss to Freedom April 11, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart baseball allowed three runs through the first half of the season. The Chargers’ pitching is led by senior Dylan Osheka, who tallied his 18th career high school win with an 8-1 takedown of Laurel Monday.
Osheka is 5-0 on the season with a 0.84 ERA in 25 innings pitched.
“When he takes the mound, he really believes he’s going to win,” OLSH coach Phil McCarren said. “And usually, he does. He’s one of the best competitors that I’ve ever coached ... the stuff is good. The control, the command is good.”
Osheka is 18-2 at OLSH. One loss came via 5A West Allegheny his junior season, the other via 3A Mars his sophomore season.
His work ethic and the ability to change speeds has given Osheka an edge, according to McCarren.
“He doesn’t throw the ball 95 mph, but when you know what you’re doing, you don’t have to.”
After making it to two consecutive WPIAL title games in 2014 and 2015 and falling in the quarterfinals last year to eventual 3A champion Blackhawk, West Allegheny’s seniors entered this season with experience and confidence, coach Bryan Cornell said.
The Indians didn’t lose their first game until a 9-5 setback to Moon Wednesday in Class 5A Section 2. That’s thanks, in part, to having more than seven starters back from last year’s team, including pitchers Michael Crawford (4-0) and Steve Twardy (2-0).
“We have a great nucleus back from last year’s team,” Cornell said. “It surprised a lot of people in the WPIAL, but it didn’t really surprise us within the program.”
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