After trip to WPIAL playoffs, Greensburg Salem baseball aims to take next step

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 | 4:45 PM

Last season, the Greensburg Salem baseball team appeared in the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs for the first time in five years.

While it was a short postseason stay that ultimately resulted in a first-round loss to New Castle, the experience of battling against Section 1 foes in a tight playoff race provided the Golden Lions with an experience that none of their players have had at the varsity level.

With that in mind, coach Bill Wisniewski and his team enter this season having graduated just four players from last year's squad. Plenty of starters are returning for Greensburg Salem, and now, the Golden Lions have a solid foundation to build upon.

“I think the strength of our team will be the fact that those guys had been through it last year. We got a core group of outfielders coming back that all played outfield for us last year and got varsity at-bats, so we're confident in them,” Wisniewski said.

“We return two or three of our infielders from last year. Overall, I'm looking for each of those players to build upon the learning experience from last year and take a step forward in their development.”

Senior Andrew Rosenburg will return to play outfield and pitch after posting a 3.07 ERA in 27 13 innings on the mound last year, when he was an all-section selection. In the outfield, Rosenburg will be joined by junior Dajauhn Hertzog and sophomore Aaren Putt, who leads all returning players with 8 RBIs from last season.

“Aaren came out of the gates very strong for us last year as a freshman, and we were very encouraged. Then he kind of went into a slump, as all freshman players do, and tried to battle through that toward the end of the year,” Wisniewski said.

“He's a very talented kid, and a lot of times when kids are very talented, they don't see adversity until this level. We're looking forward to big things from him.”

Putt also is slated to see a few innings on the mound, along with junior Matt Wicker. Wisniewski says the left-handed Rosenburg and Wicker, a hard-throwing righty, likely will be the top two starters for the Golden Lions.

In the infield, an experienced trio of seniors — catcher Jon Borbonus, first baseman Nick DeMary and utility player Danny Neumann — will align themselves around standout shortstop Jack Oberdorf on defense. Oberdorf, a junior, led his team in batting average (.431) and hits (22) last season.

“He's started for us from his freshman year on. He's the leading hitter on this team; he's kind of our go-to guy for the team,” Wisniewski said of Oberdorf.

“He's a kid that plays a lot of baseball and is pretty talented at it. We're definitely looking forward to him building upon the season that he had last year.”

While a handful of Greensburg Salem players have the potential to put up strong, individual numbers this season, Wisniewski said that will be far from the team's priority. Instead, he wants each one of his players to focus on contributing within the roles they assume.

“The key to our team this year will be not putting too much emphasis on one guy carrying us but instead everybody accepting a role and pushing us forward as a team,” Wisniewski said.

“We don't want one or two guys to carry the load with everything. We need to play as a team and battle through things as a team.”

Greensburg Salem will begin its season at 4 p.m. March 26 at Latrobe.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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