Fox Chapel baseball ‘chomping at the bit’ to get back into game action

Monday, March 22, 2021 | 8:09 PM

If a high school baseball team wasn’t loaded with freshmen or sophomores two years ago, it’s probably going to lack experience in 2021.

Fox Chapel is one of those teams.

Senior Dante DiMatteo is the only letter winner returning for fourth-year coach Jim Hastings from a team that went 10-8 in 2019. He’ll also rely on California transplant Thomas Koch to provide the Foxes with veteran experience and leadership this season.

No matter their experience level, the Foxes are ready to get back on the diamond for another year of competitive baseball.

“They are chomping at the bit for sure. We all are,” Hastings said. “It feels like we’ve been practicing for two years, and basically we have. But as soon as we were allowed to start in June or July, we’ve been going pretty much since then. They are really excited to go against another team and get an actual game in and so am I.”

Two years ago, DiMatteo was elevated to the varsity team towards the end of the season and played in six games, hitting for a .286 batting average with two RBIs on two hits. As one of four seniors on the team this season, DiMatteo will play a much bigger role for the Foxes. It will range from the plate to the outfield and finish off on the mound.

Koch will play shortstop. He was set to join the team last season after transferring from California, so this will be his first year of varsity experience in Pennsylvania, but Hastings is still expecting him to produce.

“Those two have the most experience in terms of higher-level and varsity action, but we also have a handful of five or six juniors that are pretty solid that we expect to help us win,” Hastings said, adding that Todd Resek and Luke Hudic also are senior leaders.

Hastings said junior Jake Patterson will play a big role at the plate, on the mound and in the field. Juniors Thomas Fravel, Vincent Reiber, Will Burger, Jake Donovan and Jake DeMotte will also contribute.

They are all players who would’ve played important roles last season but had the opportunity taken away from them when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“They’ve all been waiting to get this opportunity, and a good bit of them probably would’ve been on varsity last year,” Hastings said. “They would’ve gotten another year of experience, and they didn’t get that chance, but they’ve put enough work in and matured physically and played a pretty high level in the summer. So, we’re pretty confident they are ready for the varsity level.”

The Foxes will also have plenty of versatility this season. With a plethora of players who can pitch and play different positions, Hastings will have a team full of players who can contribute in a variety of ways.

“We probably have 10 or 11 kids who can pitch, depending on when, so if we need to get a couple of innings here and there, we can go to a lot of guys to do that,” Hastings said. “Most of our infielders can do both and play the outfield as well.”

So far throughout the spring, Hastings likes what he’s seen and what his players have put together over the last year.

“We like our team. We like the kids that we have and the depth that we have, but we really don’t know what anybody has,” Hastings said. “We know some other teams in our section that are good programs, and there are a few kids with their names out there as big-time kids, but for the most part, everyone is in the same boat and we like our chances.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .


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