Kiski Area taking advantage of opportunities provided by WPBL

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Monday, June 29, 2020 | 2:49 PM


Kiski Area baseball coach Aaron Albert and the Cavaliers were excited for the 2020 baseball season.

They had a roster full of seniors and after making the playoffs last year for the second time since 2016, they had high expectations.

Although the coronavirus pandemic brought an end to those hopes, the formation of the Western Pennsylvania Baseball League brought them back in a way, and it provided Albert with a few things to look forward to.

First, it allowed him to give a few of his seniors one more opportunity to play baseball with their lifelong friends. It also gave the second-year coach a chance to get a look at what the future of his high school program looks like.

Albert has a mixture of seniors who recently graduated as well as a lot of younger players who will make up his varsity roster next season. In hindsight, Albert was happy he was able to fulfill a promise to his seniors.

“I promised them all along that we’d find something. I didn’t know what it would be, but I told them we’d find something,” Albert said. “I told them we didn’t get what we wanted, but they’d get some experience before they head to college.”

IUP commit Billy Perroz and Washington & Jefferson commit Ryan Rametta were two of the biggest benefactors from Kiski Area joining the WPBL. Both were set to have big seasons for the Cavaliers and have played well so far through Kiski’s first two games in the new league.

Rametta turned in a five-inning performance with five strikeouts on Thursday while Perroz paced the Golden Cavs offense with a 2-for-4 performance with two RBIs, a double and a triple.

“I was so excited to be back out on the field,” Perroz said. “Before we even had our first game, I was out watching Gateway. It was even nice to just watch, and I’m real excited to get back out on the field with all the other seniors.”

Aside from giving most of his seniors one last opportunity to play high school baseball, Albert is also excited about his younger players getting an opportunity to gain experience.

He witnessed a great example of that during their first game of the season when Owen Werkheiser stepped to the plate during their first game and smacked a two-run single.

“You can’t ever really redo that experience if this league didn’t happen,” Albert said. “So, he has that experience under his belt now, and it’s nice to have kids get experience like that to lean on next spring even though they didn’t get to play this varsity season.”

The Cavaliers were set to have nine seniors on their roster this year, and Albert said that rising senior catcher Derek Hald will be the only player returning next year who has seen significant varsity playing time. Having a summer season like this helps him see what his younger players can do.

“It’s nice to get them out here and get a look at them because you can look at JV stats, but it’s nice to get them in with varsity competition and have success, which is what we’re hoping to do,” Albert said.

Through two games, the Golden Cavs are 2-0 with wins over Gateway (8-4) and the Independent Players (5-3). Hald has been happy with what they’ve been able to put together so far.

“We’ve looked really good. Some of our younger guys have been contributing, and I mean everyone has been contributing,” Hald said. “We’re just a good all-around team. We’re deep, we have a lot of talent, and we have a lot of hard workers.”

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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