Penn Hills baseball turns to Stubbs for new direction

Thursday, March 19, 2020 | 10:06 PM

With a new coach and a focus on the fundamentals, the Penn Hills baseball team has its sights on the WPIAL playoffs after only winning three games last season.

Rodney Stubbs, who has been involved with the program for the past four season, replaces Jerry Cammuso as the coach after the Indians went 3-12 overall and 3-9 in Section 1-5A. Cammuso went 9-22 overall and 4-18 in section play in his two seasons.

Since taking over in October, Stubbs stressed the importance of hitting the weight room to complement the team’s work in the batting cage and in the field. Stubbs has expressed how much the team speed has improved since taking over.

Jeff Minich joined Stubbs’ coaching staff as an assistant coach.

“We got them all on board now. I’ve built the confidence in them with our coaching staff. They’ve been putting in that hard work this year. They really understand me as a coach and what I wanted from them,” Stubbs said.

Senior shortstop and pitcher Cole Yeager, a Marietta commit, will be the ace of the pitching staff. Yeager earned Section 1-5A honorable-mention honors last season.

Stubbs will look to lean on senior A.J. Collins and juniors Anthony Sciulli, Josh Zambito and Josh Gerken as their starting pitchers alongside Yeager. Senior Max Oliveri will come in to relieve Stubbs.

Zambito, who is also a corner infielder, earned all-section honorable-mention honors last season.

Senior Mike DeVito will be behind the plate. Sophomore Dom Sullivan will take a spot in the outfield.

The Indians will look to replace the production lost from the departure of outfielder and pitcher Cameron Clark, who received second-team all-section honors last season.

Sophomore Brandon Tierney will replace Clark in center field, and Stubbs hopes Tierney’s bat improves to complement his defense.

“We have the talent to beat some teams. We just need to capitalize on those situations. We haven’t in the past years,” Yeager said.

“We’ve been really excited that we won, but we haven’t been there. We just need to keep our foot on the gas and putting it on them when we have the lead.”

Stubbs believes Section 1-5A will come down to either Franklin Regional or Gateway but thinks the Indians have an opportunity to fight for the third spot in the section with Fox Chapel, Kiski Area and Armstrong.

“I think we’re going to be one of the top three teams in our section that’s going to compete this year,” Stubbs said.

“That would send a signal that we’re doing something right. We revamped the program and started from the beginning with hitting the weight room. They don’t have one coach telling them what to do. It’s a group effort, which is really nice.”

Yeager, who is one of the captains with Collins, Sciulli and Gerken, is exuding confidence the Indians can turn it around in his final season.

“We have a really good chance this year, especially with the seniors who are ready to play and the juniors, who are ready to step up,” Yeager said.

“We’ve been going hard at practice. We have a chance with going far especially with the coaches helping us in the weight room and with hitting.”


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