Latrobe baseball team hopes pitching catches up to offense

Thursday, March 17, 2022 | 6:58 PM

Vinny Amatucci’s nickname is “Ammo.”

The senior third baseman thinks the Latrobe baseball team is locked and loaded and can turn some heads in WPIAL Class 5A — if it can develop pitching.

Bats don’t seem to be an issue. The uncertainty on the mound, now that is a different story.

“If we put our minds to something, we can get it done,” said Amatucci, who could one of the pitchers. “We need our senior leaders to step up and build on last year. If we can get our pitching going, we can be solid.”

Longtime coach Matt Basciano, who enters his 18th season, has a lengthy list of players he hopes to mold into a pitching staff.

“We’re pretty inexperienced there and have to figure out who is going to pitch,” the coach said. “There are some question marks.”

His call to arms includes seniors Bobby Fetter, Jacob Albaugh, Matt Macey, Nate Lemmon, Chase Sickenberger and Max Wilson, junior Logan Bradish and others still.

Fetter logged the most innings of the returnees with 21 1/3. Sickenberger is next, though, with 5 2/3 and Albaugh checks in with even less (4 1/3).

Latrobe went 12-9 last season (5-4 Section 1-5A) and won five of its last six games in the regular season.

“Last year’s team answered a lot of questions we had,” Basciano said. “We exceeded some expectations and improved as we went. We gained so much experience. I like this group, they’re good, hard-working kids.”

The Wildcats won a WPIAL first-round playoff game over Plum, 8-7, but lost to Peters Township in the quarters, 9-5.

They pulled section sweeps of Penn-Trafford and McKeesport but lost a pair to Gateway and WPIAL champion Franklin Regional.

“Defensively, we should be solid,” Basciano said. “Offensively, there’s a little bit of a learning curve for our younger guys.”

Latrobe returns five regular position players in Amatucci, senior catcher Logan Short, senior second baseman Owen Miele, senior shortstop Chase Sickenberger and junior Erik Batista.

Leadoff man Short batted .400 last year with 30 hits, including eight doubles. Amatucci hit .333 with 20 runs and 16 RBIs, while Sickenberger had six doubles, two triples and scored 25 runs.

Batista drove in and scored 10.

Others figuring into the mix include senior Mason Krinock, junior Dante Basciano, junior Tyler Fazekas and sophomore Louis Amatucci.

The Wildcats will open the season March 26 with a doubleheader at Upper Arlington (Ohio), where Latrobe grad Nate Campbell is a coach.

“You have to play every game the same,” Vinny Amatucci said, “whether it’s the World Series or spring training.”

Basciano expects Penn-Trafford to be a section contender.

“They have to be the preseason No. 1,” he said. “Gateway has a good mix back. McKeesport has its No. 1 pitcher back. Franklin Regional is good every year.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .


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