New coach promises change for Penn Hills baseball program
Thursday, November 14, 2019 | 5:20 PM
Rodney Stubbs, who has been involved with Penn Hills baseball for the past four seasons, is looking to change the program’s culture as he takes over as head coach this coming spring.
Stubbs, who was the assistant coach the last two seasons, was officially named head coach after the Penn Hills school board approved his hire at the board’s Oct. 30 meeting. Stubbs takes over for Jerry Cammuso, who went 9-22 overall and 4-18 in section play in his two years as head coach.
“I thought it was my time,” Stubbs said. “I think I’ve been around the boys long enough. I had the juniors and seniors in Little League baseball. This is my passion. I’ve been doing this for a long time.”
After Cammuso stepped down after last season, Stubbs was approached by the coaches and asked to steer the baseball program in the proper direction.
Since Stubbs has been involved with the team for the past four seasons, the transition in understanding a new coach should be seamless for the Indians, who will be led by a strong crop of upperclassmen.
“They know me and they know the type of guy I am,” Stubbs said. “I’m a straightforward kind of guy. The good thing about it is that I have a good coaching staff as well.
“We see the same values in these young kids. I think we will have a great year with juniors and seniors. I have a whole revamped baseball team this year.”
Stubbs won’t change his approach with his new title. He will continue to take the insight of the coaches involved in the program. Jeff Minich will be the varsity assistant. Dale Banks takes over as the junior varsity head coach and Owen Weston will be Banks’ assistant.
“Title doesn’t change a person,” Stubbs said. “I might be the head coach, but I still have three other coaches. It’s a group effort. Each one of my coaches bring something different to the table and we’re going to run with it.”
Stubbs, a McKees Rocks native, played baseball at Davis & Elkins for one season before finishing his collegiate career at CCAC-Boyce.
In the early going with the season fast approaching, Stubbs has been stressing the importance of the offseason strength and conditioning program as well as a sense of family.
“We’ve been working out the last two weeks with strength and conditioning,” he said. “It’s something we haven’t pushed here at Penn Hills baseball. We started in the weight room first. We need to work on some of these core muscles and forearms and get our speed up.
“We are trying to build a family bond here. Family comes first. I’m trying to instill this in them as we play like a family and we will be fine. Working on something we don’t care about is called stress.”
Senior outfielder Cameron Clark and senior shortstop and pitcher Cole Yeager, a Marietta commit, will lead the Indians this season.
Penn Hills, which is coming off a 3-12 overall record and 3-9 record in Section 1-5A, will look for contributions from a trio of seniors — infielder/pitcher Max Oliveri, pitcher AJ Collins and catcher Mike DeVito.
Stubbs will look for continued growth from three juniors — first baseman/pitcher Josh Zambito, infielder/pitcher Anthony Sciulli and infielder/outfielder/pitcher Josh Gerken.
The Indians have hopes of making it back to the WPIAL playoffs with a veteran group.
“We need a culture change up here in Penn Hills,” Stubbs said. “We need a little bit more push.”
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