Bushy Run Legion off to good start

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Sunday, June 6, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Bushy Run American Legion opened the season with two come-from-behind victories.

They defeated Hempfield East, 4-1, on June 1 and downed West Hempfield, 6-4, on June 2.

The weekend tournament at Latrobe they were in was postponed because of inclement weather.

“Any time you start the season 2-0, you can’t complain,” coach Scott Peyman said. “We just need to start a little quicker.”

Peyman said early in the season that he and co-coach Jay Miller are experimenting with different lineups.

“We’ll see how things play out,” Peyman said. “We’ll probably have a set lineup in a week or so.”

Pitcher Riley Bellan shined against Hempfield East. He allowed one run, three hits and struck out eight. Giovanni Scott had three hits including a double, and Matt Lichota had three hits.

Hempfield East led 1-0 into the fifth inning before Bushy Run put up some runs.

“After hitting the first batter of the game, Riley pitched better than I expected,” Peyman said. “He settled down. He had a similar outing in the WPIAL playoffs when he shut down West Allegheny in relief after the Indians scored five runs off the starting pitcher.

“Riley knows how to pitch,” Peyman added. “He had four pitches working for him.”

Peyman needed three pitchers to get by West Hempfield.

After Trevor Wilson gave up three early runs, Gavin Berardi came in and pitched five scoreless innings.

Bushy Run then tallied three runs in the sixth inning and three in the seventh to earn the win.

Berardi’s bases-loaded triple was the key hit for Bushy Run. Cole DeFillippo had two hits in the win.

Bushy Run was the 2020 District 31 American Legion playoff champion.

They welcomed back Scott (Pitt-Johnstown), Berardi, Lichota, Bellan and DeFillippo.

“I like how we jelled together,” Miller said. “Their personalities have meshed, and they have good idea what team means. They worked together.”

Miller, like Peyman, agrees that starting slow in games isn’t a good recipe.

“We have to pick it up earlier in games,” Miller said. “I like how our pitchers are controlling the strike zone early in counts. If you don’t start with strikes, you’re allowing the batter to dictate the at-bat.”

Bushy Run had a busy schedule after its 2-0 start. They were set to play Kiski Valley on June 5, Bedford in a doubleheader at home June 6, at Mt. Pleasant on June 7, Young Township on June 8 and at Latrobe on June 9.

They are at Derry on June 10, home to Hempfield East on June 11, home for Murrysville on June 12, at Kiski Valley on June 13 and home with Derry on June 15.

Peyman and Miller are also looking to add a couple of tournaments or exhibition games to the schedule.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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