2022 WPIAL Class 2A baseball preseason breakdown

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 | 6:34 PM

Last spring was a celebration as district athletes returned to the diamond after the 2020 season was canceled because of covid-19 shutdowns.

Baseball thrived throughout the WPIAL as six new champions were crowned, some in dramatic fashion.

That success carried over to the state playoffs as WPIAL teams captured two PIAA championships and three runner-up trophies.

Here is a rundown of the 2022 preseason top 5 teams, players to watch and other notes in WPIAL Class 2A baseball.

Preseason Top 5

1. Serra Catholic (21-5 last season)

Serra Catholic played in the WPIAL title in three of the past five seasons and posted five straight 20-win campaigns. A WPIAL third-place finisher and PIAA semifinalist a year ago, the Eagles return three all-section players — senior pitcher/infielder Matt Bisceglia, who hit .452 and was 6-0 on the mound, senior catcher Nico Eremic (Patrick Henry C.C. recruit) and junior pitcher Zach Karp (1.23 ERA) — in hopes to getting back atop the WPIAL mountain. Junior Michael Schanck also hit over .500 last season.

2. Shenango (23-3)

WPIAL champion Shenango rode a 21-game winning streak into the PIAA title game, where it lost to Schuylkill Haven in its first appearance in a state title game. Senior infielder Tyler Kamerer (.446) smacked three homers and had 32 RBIs last season. Senior pitcher/infielder Santino Campoli is a Mercyhurst recruit. Junior Braeden D’Angelo (6-0, 2.83 ERA) and junior Zach Herb also return to the mound, but the rotation will miss graduates Shane Cato and Braeden D’Angelo.

3. Seton LaSalle (22-4)

The Rebels reached the WPIAL and PIAA semifinals last season and return some key players to make another run. Senior pitcher Sam Georgiana (Cal, Pa.) and senior infielder Brian Vogel (W&J) were all-section selections a year ago. Senior infielder/pitcher Brett Wagner (.391, 32 RBIs, 8-0, 0.17 ERA) transferred to IMG Academy in Florida. Cole Johnson has taken over for Mike Wagner as the Rebels’ head coach.

4. Carmichaels (17-4)

The Mighty Mikes won the Section 1 title with a 10-0 record and defeated Serra Catholic in the WPIAL consolation game after losing to Shenango by a run in the semifinals. They will be led this season by a pair of West Virginia Wesleyan commits in senior infielders Drake Long and Nick Ricco. Both were all-section selections last season.

5. California (13-5)

The Trojans, who won the 2019 WPIAL Class A title, reached the WPIAL quarterfinals last season after finishing second in Section 1 at 8-2. Back are a pair of senior all-section outfielders in Hunter Asaad and Jordan Kearns.

Players to watch

• Colton Brightwell, Sr., INF, Bentworth

• Hunter Asaad, Sr., OF, California

• Payton Conte, Sr., INF, California

• Jordan Kearns, Sr., OF, California

• Drake Long, Sr., INF, Carmichaels

• Nick Ricco, Sr., INF, Carmichaels

• Luke McCoy, Jr., INF, South Side

• Cam Caldararo, Sr., C, Laurel

• Luke McCoy, Sr., INF, Laurel

• Colten Shaffer, Sr., C, Neshannock

• Tyler Kamerer, Sr., INF, Shenango

• Matt Bisceglia, Sr., INF/P, Serra Catholic

• Nico Eremic, Sr., C, Serra Catholic

• Zach Karp, Jr., P, Serra Catholic

• Bradey Schrock, Sr., OF, Apollo-Ridge

• Karter Schrock, So., OF, Apollo-Ridge

• Josh Chu, Sr., P, Shady Side Academy

• Sam Georgiana, Sr., P, Seton LaSalle

• Brian Vogel, Sr., INF, Seton LaSalle

• Ryan Craig, Sr., INF, Fort Cherry

• Jake Mele, Jr., OF, Chartiers-Houston

• Nathan Klodowski, Sr., P, Burgettstown

Class 2A notes

Chartiers-Houston will look to challenge for the title in Section 4 after finishing second to Seton LaSalle a year ago. The Bucs return five starters, including all-section junior outfielder Jake Mele and senior pitcher Matt Rieger.

• Longtime Riverside coach Dan Oliastro enters his 54th season with 654 career wins, one behind Hopewell’s Joe Colella, the winningest coach in WPIAL history. The Panthers have an experienced group returning, including Seton Hill recruit Madden Boehm.

Bentworth reached the postseason after going 7-12 last season. Senior all-section infielder Colton Brightwell is among five returning starters.

South Side finished 8-8 last season and was on the cusp of a playoff berth. Back are nine players with varsity experience, including senior second baseman Aaron Mzyk (.366) and senior Luke McCoy (.466, 4-1, 2.60 ERA), a pitcher and first baseman who was an all-section pick a year ago.

• Apollo-Ridge reached the playoffs last season for the first time since 2014. Back are senior infielder Bradey Schrock and sophomore outfielder Karter Schrock; each were all-section picks last season.

Burgettstown senior pitcher Nathan Klodowski is a St. Bonaventure commit.

2022 alignment

Section 1: Bentworth, Beth-Center, California, Carmichaels, Frazier, Washington

Section 2: Aliquippa, Laurel, Neshannock, Riverside, Shenango, South Side, Summit Academy

Section 3: Apollo-Ridge, Jeannette, Northgate, Serra Catholic, Shady Side Academy, Sto-Rox

Section 4: Brentwood, Burgettstown, Carlynton, Chartiers-Houston, Clairton, Fort Cherry, Seton LaSalle

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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