Penn Hills catcher back and better than ever

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Sunday, May 2, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Jordan Sullivan Jr. didn’t sit around and pout when the pandemic forced the Penn Hills baseball team to have last season canceled.

Tommy John surgery would have kept him sidelined either way. The junior catcher for the Indians felt when he returned, he didn’t feel any ill effects.

“I feel like I’m better than I was before,” Sullivan said. “I throw harder, and I’m more accurate.”

Sullivan has utilized that to become a solid backstop for Penn Hills this season. He’s hitting around .250 and has made it difficult for opponents to grab extra bases.

Sullivan, who is starting for the first time on varsity, was able to secure a spot in the lineup when senior Josh Zambito moved from catcher to first base. Zambito, who is a Maine commit, can play several positions.

“Jordan is coming off an injury and has been lights out this year,” Indians coach Rodney Stubbs said. “He’s strong all-around and has a good demeanor.”

Having a steady approach has been important for a Penn Hills squad going through a tough run. The Indians (2-11, 1-7) have been inconsistent and are outside of the playoff picture in the Section 2-5A race.

Penn Hills dropped a pair of games to Plum, 9-5 and 6-2, last week.

“The front half of the season we played well and our defense was good,” Sullivan said. “We struggled with hitting. Against Plum, we hit well and were in the games. Unfortunately, we didn’t play well.”

Being able to work with pitchers is something Sullivan is more than comfortable with. Sullivan was pitching when he felt his elbow pop during a fall ball game against Woodland Hills two years ago.

Sullivan waited about a month to have it looked at. He knew something was wrong when he felt his arm pop again when he threw to second base while catching.

Even though he missed time, Sullivan didn’t feel behind because the season was canceled. Playing on varsity for the first time has been a chance to accumulate game experience.

“It’s all learning,” Sullivan said. “You get a feel for it. We learn from things and try to fix and improve those things.”

Stubbs feels confident Sullivan can help out his pitchers when things aren’t going well.

“Without a doubt,” Stubbs said. “All three of my starting pitchers are players who are committed to play in college. If something’s not going right on the mound, he goes out there and talks to them.”

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