Baldwin baseball team showed potent offense

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Sunday, May 22, 2022 | 12:01 AM


The Baldwin baseball team was an offensive juggernaut this spring.

Baldwin hit .305 for the season with 16 home runs and 25 doubles. The Highlanders finished 10-10 overall.

“The calling card for this team was its offense,” coach Steve Bucci said. “We had a really solid season. We didn’t qualify for the postseason, but we played some really solid baseball.

“I thought going into the season the pitching would have to step up and (do so) early in the season. It struggled in the section opener. But as the season went on, it was much improved. The defense for the most was solid, and it outperformed last season’s defense easily.”

Senior third baseman Liam Gutendorf was the Highlanders’ home run leader with five. Senior first baseman Jon Rauch belted three round trippers, and juniors Christian Forgacs (OF) and Dylan Wise (C) added two apiece.

Carson Chapel, Nick Santillo and Adam Ledbetter hit one home run each.

Gutendorf and Santillo, a senior center fielder, led the club in hitting with .410 and .400 batting averages. In 10 section games, Gutendorf batted .452 with a .486 on-base percentage with two home runs and 12 RBIs.

Rauch racked up a .382 average, followed by Chapel, a junior outfielder, and Ledbetter, a sophomore shortstop, at .298 and .293.

Two other players in the starting lineup this spring were seniors Zack Ingold (INF/OF) and Ashton Nort (OF).

Forgacs was the workhorse on the pitching staff, posting a 4-2 record and 3.00 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 35 innings. He was 2-2 with a 2.24 ERA against section opponents.

Forgacs was complemented on the mound by Ingold (2-1), who logged a 2.33 ERA and fanned 32 batters in 27 innings.

Santillo (one save), Chapel (one save), senior Jake Scarpino (2.05 ERA) and Gutendorf all picked up one win.

Rauch, junior Michael Leonhart and senior Dom Stanziano also saw time on the mound.

Baldwin defeated several playoff teams — Bethel Park, Pine-Richland, Central Catholic, Quaker Valley, Hempfield and Thomas Jefferson — among its 10 wins this season.

“We beat Bethel Park again,” Bucci said. “That’s two years in a row.”

Baldwin opened the season with a spring training trip to Myrtle Beach to participate in the Ripken Experience.

The Highlanders started out 3-1 by defeating Penn Hills, 9-0; Dublin Scioto, 4-3; and Brush (Ohio), 6-0; and losing to Pickerington North (Ohio), 7-5.

They wrapped up their 2022 schedule with consecutive victories against Canon-McMillan, 11-1; Central Catholic, 11-7; Pine-Richland, 8-4; and Bethel Park, 14-8.

Baldwin scored 120 runs this season and averaged 6 runs per game.

Baldwin softball team fights through injuries

The starting lineup for the Baldwin softball team at the end of the regular season consisted of four freshmen, two sophomores, one junior and three seniors.

The Highlanders advanced to the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs with a 1-7 record in Section 1 and a 4-11 overall mark.

“I thought our team fought through some tough adversity this season,” coach Gina Fuchs said. “We were a young squad with three or four freshman starters. And the injury bug hit us pretty hard. Our returning starting senior pitcher, Brookelle Holby, was sidelined most of the season with an arm injury. We also had other season-ending or long-term injuries.

“So with injuries and a young squad it was certainly a challenge for us. I am proud of how we never gave up and continued to improve as the season progressed.”

Baldwin started out 2-4 before experiencing a five-game losing streak.

The Highlanders tied for fourth place in the section with Peters Township.

“My expectations are always the same,” Fuchs said. “For us to come out and compete to the best of our ability, to play tough defense, for the pitchers keep us in the game and to have quality at-bats at the plate.”

Baldwin’s starting lineup consisted of senior Brookelle Holby (P), sophomore Keira Platz (C), freshman Gabby Jaquay (3B), senior Maleah Pacella (SS), freshman Ryley Shaw (2B), sophomore Anna Schumacher (1B), freshman Kaylee Smolko (RF), senior Alexa Flavell (CF), junior Grace Schumacher (LF) and freshman Danielle Mezyk (DH).

“My lineup changed a bunch because of all our injuries,” Fuchs said. “Sometimes, we used senior Lenina Ebert either at flex or the outfield.”

The Highlanders received the No. 9 seed for the WPIAL playoffs and lost May 16 to No. 8 Norwin, 11-1, in the first round at West Mifflin.

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