Penn-Trafford’s Ian Temple tabbed Tribune-Review Westmoreland Baseball Player of the Year

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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | 7:23 PM


Player of the Year

Ian Temple

Senior, Catcher, Penn-Trafford

Being strong behind the plate is nothing new at Penn-Trafford.

The list of outstanding Warriors catchers goes back to the 1970s, Penn-Trafford coach Lou Cortazzo said.

Add Ian Temple to the list.

Before Temple was Jakob Haynes, who is playing at Seton Hill, as well as Cade Patterson, who is golfing at Cal (Pa.), and Josh Spiegel, who just finished at Pitt after stops at Oklahoma State and Penn State. Before them was 2005 grad Steve Hermann, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and played at Cal (Pa.).

“Catching has always been a strong point at Penn-Trafford,” Cortazzo said of one of the leaders on the Warriors’ WPIAL Class 5A championship team. “Ian was a player who had the knack of coming up with the timely hit, especially in the playoffs. But more than that, he shut down opponents’ running game with his strong arm.

“Teams didn’t run or try to run against us, and that was a big key. Bethel Park loved to run, and Ian shut them down.”

Franklin Regional coach Bob Saddler said Temple had the power to change the game with one swing.

For those reasons, Temple is TribLive Westmoreland Baseball Player of the Year.

Max Bernadowski of Franklin Regional, Tyler Martin of Greensburg Salem, Anthony Grippo of Greensburg Central Catholic, Carson Shuglia of Hempfield and Adam LaCarte of Belle Vernon also were considered.

Temple is undecided about his future while considering scholarship offers from some district colleges. He expects to make a decision within a week.

Temple didn’t have the highest batting average on his team — he hit .306 with 22 hits, including four doubles and three home runs with 17 RBIs — but it was his defense that stood out.

“I’m honored to be considered the best,” Temple said. “It means a lot, and it showed my hard work paid off.

“We faced some adversity this season. Losing to Franklin Regional wasn’t what we planned, but we bounced back in the playoffs and defeated Fox Chapel and Franklin Regional. It was kind of revenge.”

In the WPIAL Class 5A championship game, Temple delivered a key two-run triple to tie the score 2-2.

Coming up big is nothing new for Temple. He cracked a three-run homer in last year’s PIAA playoff victory against Central Mountain.

“My confidence comes from the trust Coach Lou has in me,” Temple said. “During big moments, I try to stay calm. I’d look down to Coach Lou, and he’d smile. It relaxed me.”

Temple was one of the big reasons Penn-Trafford achieved many of its goals — making the WPIAL playoffs, winning the section, qualifying for the PIAA playoffs and winning the WPIAL title.

“It was great to win the school’s first WPIAL title,” Temple said. “I saw teachers and friends at the game, and my parents received texts from their friends congratulating us on the achievement.”

Temple said he expects the catching tradition will continue at Penn-Trafford.

He received help from Haynes over the years, and he helped out future catchers — Colton Tyburski, Brandon Long and Jason Malamisuro — this past season.

First team all-stars

Zander Aird

Sr., CF, Yough

Aird led the team with a .429 average. He had five doubles, a triple, a home run and 14 RBIs. He also swiped eight bases.

Max Bernadowski

Sr., P/SS, Franklin Regional

He was 7-2 with an ERA of 2.71 and struck out 64 in 51 innings. He batted .314 with 19 runs scored, 22 hits and 14 RBIs. He had four doubles and a home run.

Blake Bertucci

Sr., P/3B, Franklin Regional

The senior batted. 343 with 17 runs scored, 23 hits, seven doubles and 20 RBIs. He also was 3-1 with an ERA of 1.75. He struck out 31.

Keegan Carr

Sr., 2B, Norwin

The IUP commit led the Knights with a .407 batting average. He scored 20 runs and had 18 RBIs. He helped the team make the WPIAL playoffs.

Chuck Fontana

Sr., 1B, Penn-Trafford

The senior batted .337 with 19 runs scored, 28 hits and 18 RBIs. He had eight doubles and a triple. He also knew how to work pitchers and was a leader.

Anthony Grippo

So., C, Greensburg Central Catholic

This dynamic sophomore batted .562 with an OPS of 1.380 and slugging percentage of .708. He scored 15 runs and had a team-high 27 hits with four doubles and a home run. He drove in a team-high 15 runs.

Jacob Kitz

Jr., P, Mt. Pleasant

He was the section MVP pitcher. He had a 5-1 record with an ERA of 1.53 and struck out 28 in 36 innings. He helped the Vikings to a section title. He batted .359.

Adam LaCarte

Sr., OF, Belle Vernon

This Leopard batted .426 with four home runs, 16 runs scored, 18 RBIs and seven stolen bases. He started on the WPIAL and PIAA 3A championship football team.

Tyler Martin

Jr., P/IF, Greensburg Salem

He batted .524 with 20 runs scored, 33 hits and 12 RBIs. He also had eight doubles and 16 stolen bases. He was 2-0 with a 3.82 ERA.

Carson Shuglie

Sr., 1B, Hempfield

The Seton Hill commit led the Spartans with a .397 batting average and had a team-high four home runs and six doubles, 21 RBIs and 19 runs scored.

Riley Smith

Sr., P, Latrobe

The senior was one of the top pitchers on the team. He had a 5-1 record with an ERA of 1.708. He struck out 37 in 51 innings.

Brayden Stone

Jr., 2B, Penn-Trafford

The Warriors lead-off hitter batted .371 with 20 runs scored, 26 hits and 16 RBIs. He had a team-high eight doubles, three triples and a home run. He also swiped nine bases.

Second team

Colton Lee

Sr., P, Belle Vernon

Connor Drzal

Jr., P/IF, Mt. Pleasant

Michael Mason

Sr., OF, Jeannette

Ethan Minerva

Sr., CF, Hempfield

Dylan Firmstone

Jr., P/3B, Hempfield

Tyler Samida

So., P/1B, Greensburg Central Catholic

Nathan Bell

So., P/1B, Yough

Roman Fridley

Sr., P/IF, Derry

Darren DeRiggi

Jr., DH, Franklin Regional

Luke Williams

So., IF, Franklin Regional

Hunter Brown

Jr., P, Penn-Trafford

Jason Sabol

Sr., CF, Penn-Trafford

Third team

Ian Shipley

So., IF, Greensburg Central Catholic

Tyree Turner

Sr., 3B, Greensburg Central Catholic

Tyler Smith

Sr., OF/P, Ligonier Valley

Parker Lind

Jr., P, Belle Vernon

Colin Bush

Sr., IF, Derry

Nick Rattigan

Sr., C, Jeannette

Tyler Freas

Sr., 3B, Penn-Trafford

Kadin Keffer

Sr., P/SS, Southmoreland

R.J. DiEugenio

Jr., P/C/IF, Monessen

Nate Silberman

Jr., SS/OF, Norwin

Luke Nipar-Smith

Jr., P/OF, Latrobe

Peyton Chismar

Jr., 3B, Greensburg Salem

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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