Penn Hills baseball team follows 2-sport captains into battle

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Sunday, April 4, 2021 | 11:01 AM


A trio of co-captains who play two sports but excel on the diamond — Josh Zambito, Anthony Sciulli and Josh Gerken — will lead the Penn Hills baseball team into this season.

Zambito, a first baseman and pitcher, was a two-way lineman on the football team. His baseball skills are taking him to the next level.

A 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior, Zambito has committed to continue his athletic career in the University of Maine baseball program.

He is the first baseball player at Penn Hills to land a spot in an NCAA Division I program. He was recruited by the Black Bears as a catcher but could compete for a corner infield position as well.

“I committed to Maine because they are extremely developmentally minded,” Zambito said, “and they have a track record of getting their guys drafted. I love the coaching staff because of their hard-nosed, tough approach. I am really looking forward to representing Penn Hills at the next level.”

Maine competes in the America East Conference in baseball.

“Preparing for college is difficult enough for most students, but when you’re a college baseball recruit, there’s the added pressure of performing on the field as well in the classroom,” Penn Hills coach Rodney Stubbs said. “Josh is a student of the game and plays well. His mental preparation will help him succeed and have a great impact at the next level.”

Penn Hills has not had a winning baseball season since 2014 and has not qualified for the playoffs since 2010. The Indians were looking to break both streaks in 2020 until the global covid-19 pandemic shut things down.

They are gearing to make a playoff push this season in Section 2-5A.

“This year, we expect to compete in everything we do,” said Zambito, who was a spot starter on the offensive and defensive lines on the football team. “We are a very special group and we plan on making a postseason run.

Zambito started playing baseball at around age 8. He is a right-handed hurler.

“Josh has high velocity and a good curveball and off-speed pitches,” said Dale Banks, assistant head coach.

Along with his pitching and first base duties, Zambito has been penciled in as an emergency catcher for the Indians this season.

“We have a really special team with some big-time talent,” he said. “Josh Gerken, Anthony Sciulli and I have been really tight all four years of high school, and we can’t wait to get after it this year.”

The 5-8, 190-pound Sciulli is another two-sport athlete. He is a second baseman and pitcher on the baseball diamond and competed for the boys soccer team in the fall.

Sciulli began playing baseball at age4. He could end up being the workhorse of the pitching staff in 2021.

Sciulli is planning to continue his career after graduation at Chatham, where he will major in exercise science with hopes of obtaining a doctorate in physical therapy.

“My expectation for our team this season is very high,” he said. “I see our team getting in the playoffs and making a deep run. This is the year for us to accomplish this goal as I feel this group of guys has more heart and grit than anyone else.”

Gerken (6-0, 200) ran cross country for three years and is a member of the fitness team. He has played baseball for eight years and will hold down the first or third base position for the Indians. He also is part of the team’s pitching corps.

“We work off of each other in practice,” Gerken said. “We all have different skill sets that hit all areas of baseball. We have developed a (baseball) family. All of us are close, we pick up each other and hold one another accountable academically and athletically.

“This has been my favorite year so far, and we’re going to do big things this season.”

Gerken plans to continue his baseball career in college “but I have not found a home yet,” he said.

Zambito, Sciulli and Gerken are serving as co-captains this year. Each is deserving of the role according to Stubbs, the Indians’ field boss.

“It’s great to have Anthony Sciulli, Josh Gerken and Josh Zambito on my team,” Stubbs said. “They always put the team first and they’re great captains. They lead by example. “Anthony Sciulli inspires those around him. Being a team captain teaches you how to be a mentor, a team player and how to lead others and help them out. Josh Gerken embodies the core values of the team. Josh Zambito works hard and has a good relationship with the players. They step up when the team needs them.”

Sciulli, Zambito, Gerken and juniors Dominic Sullivan and Brandon Tierney most likely will be the main arms on the Indians’ pitching staff.

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