Kiski Area baseball hopes past success translates to varsity level

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Thursday, March 25, 2021 | 7:20 PM


Kiski Area baseball coach Aaron Albert is only returning one starter, but the third-year Cavaliers coach is glad it’s senior catcher Derek Hald.

The Saint Vincent recruit has been Kiski Area’s backstop for the past three years, and he’s been a calming voice in the dugout, as well. Now, heading into a season where experience will come at a premium, Hald’s presence means more than ever before.

“Having Derek back there, and I can’t say this enough, with all the experience he’s had with the pitching staff, he knows these guys and he’s played with them forever,” Hald said. “So having him back there is just a blessing.”

In the past, Albert has had the opportunity to lean on a few arms to eat up innings. Over the past two years, that guy was Ryan Rametta, who threw a team-high 49 2/3 innings in 2019 and produced an ERA of 2.54.

With his former right-hander already contributing at Washington & Jefferson, Albert is going to have to make a big adjustment when it comes to his pitching staff.

“I handed him the ball every other day, and he threw a complete game and I didn’t have to worry about that day, so that’s a huge adjustment,” Albert said.

This season, Albert will lean on seniors Carson Craig, Logan McGarry and Kyle Weiser. All three got chances to prove themselves this summer in the Western Pennsylvania Baseball League, formed after the coronavirus pandemic canceled the PIAA spring sports season, and Hald has caught all of them.

The senior catcher said the pitchers have come a long way, and their biggest stride since summer is in consistency.

“In the summer you’d roll one of those guys out there, and you’d never know what you were going to get,” Hald said. “But now if we throw Weiser out there, we know what we’re going to get, if we throw McGarry out there we know what we are going to get from him, so it’s them just pitching a lot more because we leaned on Rametta so much. Now it’s them just rising up, and they are starting to find out what type of pitchers they are. I think it’s starting to work really well.”

Senior Kyle Poremski has returned after taking a few seasons off to play shortstop and possibly pitch a little, and fellow seniors Frank Dininno and Mike Shoemaker are back.

The Cavaliers have seven seniors this year, and they were quite successful on the junior level.

“They are used to winning, so it’s just making that jump to varsity, which most teams are,” Albert said.

While the Cavaliers will adjust to their new pitchers taking the mound this season, some things won’t change for Kiski Area as Albert believes his team will be able to smack the ball all over the park.

Two years ago, Kiski Area scored six or more runs in 10 of its games. Albert believes this offense might be even better.

“I think one through nine, we have good pitchers who know what they are doing,” Albert said. “We may be a better hitting team than the last time we played. It’s just a matter of if our pitching and fielding is up to par.”

Kiski Area plays a pretty tough section with two of Trib HSSN’s top five teams in No. 3 Franklin Regional and No. 5 Penn-Trafford. They also will play section matchups against Gateway, Latrobe and McKeesport.

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

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