Chartiers Valley baseball maintains lofty goals despite inexperience

Sunday, March 24, 2024 | 11:01 AM

It might be a fresh start for the Chartiers Valley baseball team with a new coaching staff and a renovated lineup with a bevy of seniors graduating from a year ago, but the Colts don’t plan on missing a beat.

After going 14-7 and sharing a section 3-4A title with West Mifflin, coach Bill Priddy wants no excuses as to why they can’t return to that realm.

“We expect to compete with the top teams. I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Priddy said.

Senior Ethan Ridgeway is on board with Priddy’s lofty goals even if the Colts are inexperienced.

“We are a really young team. We are a hungry team. No matter if they’re a 6A school or a 1A school, we want to win. Yes, the team from last year was very good, but we could be better, and we want to prove that we did not lose all the talent from last year,” he said.

Ridgeway is one of seven seniors on the team, but not many have starting varsity experience. That’s why, Ridgeway will be one of the more valued leaders for Chartiers Valley.

“When those (seniors) left, it was a huge blow because they made the team so much better,” Ridgeway said. “The seven of us this year are trying to do the same thing. We are really trying to get this group to jell. It’s truly happening from the two preseason games. Having this team as a whole can hopefully make us win games because last year that squad was one whole team. That’s why we did so well.”

As one of the primary pitchers for the Colts, Ridgeway will take charge of a unit that the Colts feel could be one of the tops in their section.

“I think our pitching could be one of the best in the section,” junior catcher Michael Switala said. “We have so many young pitchers doing great things right now, and they’re only going to get better.”

The connection between Switala and Ridgeway will be crucial in the team’s success if the Colts want to get back to competing for titles.

“Switala is a person that should do very good things for us,” Ridgeway said. “He’s a very good quarterback as the catcher on the team. He’s very vocal.”

Not only will Switala catch Ridgeway, but junior Jake Federouch and sophomore Jules Prozzoly will round out the top three starting pitchers for the Colts. Switala noted how important Ridgeway is in aiding the development of the pitchers.

“He’s got great leadership skills. He’s been helping the younger guys out and getting them ready for this season,” he said.

While the group of pitchers take form, the rest of the lineup has yet to be solidified, which has its positives, Priddy says.

“They are competing against each other to win those starting positions,” Priddy said. “I always say the attitude and work ethic is there. I love it. They’re getting it done.”

As Priddy and his new staff continue to evaluate their team, they let the players know exactly what they are looking for.

“I like how there’s no messing around at practice,” Switala said. “They’re very straightforward group. They will tell you if you mess up or not, which is very helpful.”

After falling in consecutive quarterfinal appearances, including a 4-2 loss against Latrobe last season, Priddy is trying to continue that trend going in his first year as he wants to ingrain the idea of winning into the Colts.

“A message he’s telling us is winning is the only thing that is acceptable, losing is not acceptable, but if we do lose, what are the positives to get out of it,” Ridgeway said.


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