There haven't been many teams around the country -- let alone the Greater Pittsburgh Federation League -- that have been able to knock off St. Johns-Lefty's over the past seven years.
So when a first-year team, the Montour Minotaurs, defeated the Saints during the regular season in 2009, St. Johns coach Tom McCarthy took notice.
He was especially aware of the relief pitcher who stifled his team.
"Jimmy [Pasquine] came in in relief and just shut us down," McCarthy said. "Usually you don't have a team come in its first year and beat the defending champion.
"But [Pasquine] shut us down. I thought, 'Whoa, this kid is good.'"
So for the past four years, McCarthy has reaped the benefits of Pasquine's talents.
The Montour team folded after its one season in the league. Pasquine then joined St. Johns to play in a postseason tournament.
"They told me I could stay on the team after the tournament if I wanted to," Pasquine said.
And the rest is history.
Pasquine, a Cranberry resident, is not only the team's closer, but has batted better than .500 every season from 2010-2012 for the Saints.
Through 10 games this season, Pasquine was 25 for 46 (.588) and led the team in runs (14), RBIs (16) and extra-base hits (7).
It's not a surprise that Pasquine has thrived at the plate with the Saints. A Youngstown, Ohio, native, he is the career batting average leader at Washington & Jefferson College with a mark of .432. He also holds W&J career records for hits, total bases and RBIs and was second in stolen bases, doubles and walks. His accomplishments earned him Presidents' Athletic Conference player of the year in 2009 and '10.
"He has great reactions," McCarthy said. "He also has great hands and has power to all fields. He was just a great fit for our team."
Pasquine, 25, did have to adjust to a new position, though. He was an outfielder at Washington & Jefferson. But the Saints already had a talented, veteran outfield. So McCarthy asked Pasquine to give third base a try.
"It took a lot of getting used to," Pasquine said. "I'd never really played it and it was an adjustment. But I was totally fine with it."
While it took a while for Pasquine to adjust to his new position, he had a much easier time adjusting to his new teammates.
"It's been awesome," Pasquine said. "They made it so easy and I think that's why they've been so successful. They have a lot of veterans on the team and they are very welcoming to the younger guys."
The Saints have won seven consecutive Greater Pittsburgh Federation League titles, and with a 12-0-1 record entering this week, are the front-runners to win their eighth title in a row.
But the league title isn't the top goal for Pasquine and St. Johns. After finishing second in the National Amateur Baseball Federation World Series last season, the Saints have their sights set on the ultimate prize.
"We've set the bar pretty high," Pasquine said. "We'll almost be disappointed if we don't accomplish our goal."sportsother