Kiski Area baseball looking to build on confidence developed last season

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Friday, March 13, 2020 | 5:59 PM


In his first year at the helm of the Kiski Area baseball program, coach Aaron Albert led the Cavaliers to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. In year No. 2, they are looking to take another big step.

“We’re more confident after making the playoffs and everything last year,” senior pitcher/shortstop Ryan Rametta said. “We want to get back in there, and we’re hungry for a playoff win.”

Not only are the Cavaliers intent on getting the baseball program moving in the right direction, but they have the talent as well.

They’ll only have to replace four seniors from last year, and they also return seven starters. At the top of the lineup is senior outfielder Billy Perroz. The IUP recruit had a team-high batting average of .464 and drove in 15 runs with eight doubles and two triples last season.

Although he may not be a typical type of leadoff hitter, Albert said Perroz will hit from the No. 1 spot in the order and set the table for the rest of the lineup.

“He’s a first-team all-conference guy that will be right up at the top of the lineup again for us,” Albert said. “I think he’s the best hitter in our lineup, but I put him there because you can’t pitch around him.”

In addition to Perroz, Albert returns Rametta (.311 avg.), Zach Morrill (.333) and a group of seniors expected to help carry the Cavaliers to another successful season.

Just like Perroz, Rametta will be a key to Kiski Area’s success. The Washington and Jefferson recruit was the go-to guy on the mound for the Cavaliers last year, eating up 49⅔ innings while producing an ERA of 2.54 and an overall record of 4-1.

As a senior, Rametta is looking to play an even bigger role this season.

“I really have high expectations for myself. I just have to get a good start and carry it throughout the season,” Rametta said.

While Rametta and Perroz will fill in the leadership role for the Cavaliers, the team’s depth will be just as crucial.

Junior Derek Hald, who hit .290 last year, returns behind the plate to command the pitching staff. Matt Skelly is another senior who will play shortstop when Rametta is on the mound, and Jack Dykes will act as a first baseman and designated hitter.

Albert says his seniors’ presence at the plate will be the team’s key strength after scoring six or more runs in 11 of 20 games last season.

“We hit,” Albert said. “I know in Western Pennsylvania, it’s nice to have a stud pitcher, and I have a very good pitcher too. But we hit one through nine and I think when you talk to other coaches who play us, they’d tell you there’s no easy spot in the lineup.”

Playing in a section made up of Franklin-Regional, Gateway, Fox Chapel, Penn Hills and Woodland Hills will test the Cavaliers throughout the course of the season.

A nonsection schedule of Plum, Freeport and Penn Trafford will only add to the difficulty, but Kiski Area is looking forward to the opportunity to take another big step as a program.

“We just have to capitalize on everything we do,” Perroz said. “We have to make sure we get wins when we need them.

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

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