Greensburg Central Catholic baseball turns focus to fundamentals under new coach

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Sunday, March 8, 2020 | 8:55 PM


Last season for the Greensburg Central Catholic baseball team ended earlier than expected.

With a new coach and new outlook, the Centurions want refocus on making their accustomed deep runs in the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs.

Tom Appleby takes over as coach after Dennis Reist’s departure. Reist went 40-22 in three seasons with a WPIAL runner-up finish and two PIAA semifinal appearances.

Greensburg Central Catholic went 10-9 last season with an 8-2 record in Section 3-A. The Centurions lost 7-2 to Quigley Catholic in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals.

Appleby is familiar with GCC as he was Reist’s assistant and involved with the GCC softball program for 15 years.

“I just love working with these kids. They’re just a great bunch of kids this year,” Appleby said. “They really like to learn and accept coaching. It’s a great atmosphere for a coach to coach in.”

Appleby will lean on senior catcher Paul Rice, who led the Centurions with 15 RBIs, while hitting .352 with four doubles and two triples last season.

Rice will be complemented offensively by senior Tommy Voelker, who batted .350 with seven doubles, a triple, 12 RBIs and 19 runs last season. Junior center fielder Dylan Sebek and short stop Alex Miller also will be key players. Sebek led GCC with a .406 batting average with 28 hits and five doubles.

“Our focus is on going to be on the details and the fundamentals. It sounds cliche, but it’s really the best way to develop a team and to win ball games,” Appleby said. “I stress to them if they focus on the details and the fundamentals, the wins will come. I don’t want them to focus on the wins but worry about developing themselves as a player.”

The Centurions’ pitching rotation will feature seniors Ben LeCarte and Zach Kuvinka and sophomore lefthander Zach David. Miller also will pitch. Last season, he led GCC with a 3-3 record and 2.78 ERA in 13 appearances.

GCC will look to make up for the loss of Joel LoNigro, who finished with a 2-3 record, 3.32 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 10 appearances.

“We had a rough last season, but we’re looking to bounce back this season. We have a bunch of promising players. We’re solid through the whole lineup, and we look really good,” Voelker said. “We have a lot of power, and I know a lot of guys have been putting in the work in the weight room. We’re very motivated to not let this happen again.”

The Centurions expect to compete with Vincentian Academy, who won the section title last season and finished third in the WPIAL. Vincentian Academy will close at the end of the school year. Also in the section are St. Joseph, Leechburg, Springdale and Clairton.

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