Mt. Pleasant baseball team ready to see ‘what happens’
Sunday, March 20, 2022 | 5:46 PM
The Mt. Pleasant baseball team missed the WPIAL Class 3A baseball playoffs last season by one game.
The Vikings look to change that this season.
Mt. Pleasant coach Chris Firmstone said he’s optimistic about his team. The Vikings were 6-7 overall and 3-7 in Section 3-3A a year ago. Ligonier Valley, a team it split with, snagged the final playoff berth with a 4-6 section record.
The Vikings finished the last season with wins against Valley and Ligonier Valley, two playoff teams.
“I’m hearing people predicting that we’ll win the section,” Firmstone said. “I’m not saying that. I just want to sit back and watch what happens.”
Derry, the defending section champion, was hit hard by graduation. Ligonier Valley has a new coach in Jason Bush and numerous starters returning.
One thing that concerns Firmstone is low numbers on the roster. The Vikings have 17 players, but senior Cody Surma is out for the season with an injury.
The Vikings graduated seven players, including Pete Billey (Seton Hill) and Asher O’Connor.
Back are seniors Rege Sofranko and Aaron Alakson, and juniors Jeremy Kitz and Lane Golkosky.
Firmstone is hoping Sofranko and Kitz will assume starter roles on the pitching staff. Others expected to pitch are Alakson as a reliever, sophomore Luke Nicotera, and freshmen Cole Chatfield, Conner Drzal and Jacob Kitz.
When Sofranko isn’t pitching, he’ll either be in the outfield or at first base. Jeremy Kitz also will play first. Alakson will mainly play shortstop, and Golkosky will be second.
Firmstone expected to find out a lot about his team this past weekend as he took them to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for practices and a couple of scrimmages.
“We’ll get in a lot of work,” Firmstone said. “All the fields are turf, so if we get rain we’ll still be able to play.”
Nicotera will be used as a utility player while sophomore Brady Poole, sophomore Ryan McKula and junior Brayden Caletri will be in the outfield.
Three players are competing for the catcher’s spot. They are sophomores C.J. Nestor and Cam Moore and freshman Jacob Kitz.
Others seeking playing time are junior outfielder Donnie Kalemba, sophomore infielder Brady Painter and freshman Bryce Hensell.
“Last year was an unusual season with covid-19,” Firmstone said. “We had games cancelled, and there were times we’d play one game a week. Hopefully, things will be a little normal.
“The goal is to improve every day and get back into the playoffs and make a run.”
The Vikings open the season Friday with a non-section game at home against Burrell.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
Tags: Mt. Pleasant
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