Chartiers Valley, Carlynton, Bishop Canevin baseball teams hitting pause
Friday, March 20, 2020 | 12:01 PM
With the spread of coronavirus putting all levels of sports on hold across the globe, Chartiers Valley baseball coach Curt Cairns summed it up best when asked what his players are doing to get ready for the season — if it happens.
“In this situation, there’s no playbook for a pandemic,” he said.
Cairns has given his players daily workouts they can do at home to keep loose. But with no formal practices for the foreseeable future, a lot of teams could be set back, particularly their pitching staffs.
Cairns is fortunate to have a stable of talented pitchers, with Aaron Lindow, Ryan Sharp and Zander Fasulkey anchoring the rotation.
The Colts return several players from last season’s team that went 4-8 in Section 4-5A and missed the playoffs. Those players, Cairns said, are a year older and a year stronger, and he is confident of better results.
Position players expected to make big contributions include shortstop Anthony Mackey, outfielder Griffin Beattie, second baseman Louie Kearney, first baseman Will Kinchington, catcher Anthony Collura, outfielder Garrett Alauzen and utility player Jacob Manalo.
“I think everything is going to depend on our arms, just like any other team,” Cairns said. “But we put a lot of work into our hitting program … and I am confident we are going to hit a lot better this year.”
Carlynton also has an experienced roster returning from a team that qualified for the Class 2A playoffs last season. Coach Frank Zebrasky’s Cougars (7-5 Section 4-2A) graduated only two seniors.
And a bigger roster gives Zebrasky hope for a better 2020.
“And the important part, the kids are now wanting to play baseball,” he said. “In the past, I’ve had 12 or 13 (kids), and this year it looks like we’re going to have 16, maybe 17 or 18. We are definitely excited about the possibilities going into this season.”
Like last season, Zebrasky plans to use a variety of pitchers, many of whom return, including Cade Chauvet, Jack Stewart, Chauncie Mickens and Mark Phillips. Each also is a talented position player, with Mickens being a four-year starter.
Utility player Evan Staker also is a four-year starter, and Anthony Devita brings senior experience.
Unlike Chartiers Valley and Carlynton, Bishop Canevin is short on experience, having graduated seven seniors who were starters. That group helped the Crusaders finish 7-5 in Section 1-A and reach the quarterfinals of the WPIAL playoffs.
“All of our pitchers were seniors last year,” coach Bill Varley said, “so we’re recreating our pitchers for this year. Our position players are sound, but we have to find out what our pitchers are going to do.”
Connor Jacobs is the Crusaders’ lone senior. He hit better than .400 and will pitch and play shortstop. Justin Gmys is a corner infielder who also will pitch, and Kevaughn Price also plays the corner infield spots.
Luke Andruscik will be the third pitcher counted on to shoulder a heavy burden.
Beyond that, Varley has a lot of trial-and-error ahead of him to figure out what lineup combination works best.
Because of his team’s inexperience, Varley joked if he had to miss a season, this would be it. Kidding aside, however, he wants his kids to play, just like everyone else.
Whether that happens remains to be seen. After all, there’s no playbook for a pandemic.
More Baseball• Senior spotlight: Future is full of possibilities for Bethel Park infielder
• PIAA extends postponement of spring sports, winter championships
• Local ballplayers trying to stay sharp during coronavirus’ spring shutdown
• Westmoreland H.S. notebook: Penn-Trafford baseball honoring Maclean Maund
• Depth fuels Quaker Valley baseball team after reaching playoffs last season