East Xtra: Allderdice grad finds himself pitching in Austria
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Former Washington Wild Things pitcher Ross Gusky has resumed his baseball career ... albeit a long way from Consol Energy Park in Washington County.
After he was released by the Wild Things on June 21, Gusky received some encouraging news from his girlfriend, Amanda Reyes, who is playing and coaching professional softball in Austria. The two met when they were students at Tallahassee Community College in Florida.
"She told him that one of the players on the Vienna Metrostars [in the Austrian Baseball League] had broken his arm," said Gusky's father, Sheldon Gusky. "The teams in the eight-team league are allowed to have two Americans on the team, and the player who broke his arm was an American."
Before he was released by the Wild Things, who play in the unaffiliated Frontier League, Gusky appeared in 11 games, pitching 131/3 innings with a record of 1-2. He yielded 14 hits, nine runs (eight earned), walked seven and struck out seven.
In less than a week, Gusky was on his way to Europe. According to Google Maps, Vienna, Austria, is 4,995 miles away from the Wild Things' Consol Energy Park.
Mr. Gusky said that although the league's rules permit two Americans on the roster, only one American is allowed to be on the field while the game is in progress. The Metrostars have had some success recently, winning league titles in 2005, '06, '07 and '11.
Gusky, a Squirrel Hill native who played at Allderdice High School of the City League and later with Tallahassee Community College and Valdosta State University in Georgia, flew from Pittsburgh to Vienna by way of Chicago and London on June 27.
Three days later, he was the starting pitcher in the Metrostars 9-3 victory over the Wiener Neustadt Diving Ducks in the second game of a doubleheader. Gusky pitched six innings of one-hit ball, yielding two unearned runs while striking out seven.
"He only pitched six innings because he was really tired [from the travel]," Sheldon Gusky said. "From what I've been told, he'll be pitching the second game each week either on Saturday or Sunday."
Sheldon Gusky and his son and Reyes are sharing an apartment in Vienna. His team paid for his flights from Pittsburgh to Vienna, and the pitcher is responsible for purchasing his own food.
Sheldon Gusky said the league's games are played on weekends, with each team playing doubleheaders on either Saturday or Sunday. Each game lasts nine innings.
The regular season concludes in August.
Gusky said his son is being asked to teach some of the game's fundamentals to his team's less-experienced players. He also said his son may be doing some umpiring while he's in Austria.
"He's in a better place than he was before," Mr. Gusky said.
First Published July 6, 2012 12:00 am