Pirone, Treloar form strong 1-2 punch for Franklin Regional rotation

Saturday, May 8, 2021 | 9:01 AM

When baseball season began, Franklin Regional coach Bobby Saddler referenced pitching depth and how it could relate to covid shutdowns for WPIAL teams.

He said the staffs with depth probably would negotiate a stoppage best but also could be effective in the new back-to-back section series format.

The Panthers (13-0), who were ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 5A and the only undefeated team in the WPIAL heading into May, have pitching depth. Plenty of it.

Thing is, they haven’t needed it much — so far.

Seniors Brian Pirone and Luke Treloar have formed a staunch 1-2 punch, and their effective arms have kept the bullpen phone on the hook.

“Our pitching staff as a whole is a strength of this team,” Saddler said. “Brian Pirone and Luke Treloar have anchored the rotation this year, providing quality starts in each of their outings. Both seem to get stronger as the game progresses, and they have been getting better with each start.”

While the potent offense is impressive, the pitching staff has been exhaustively efficient. Through 11 games, the team had a 1.34 ERA and had used only five pitchers, including Pirone and Treloar, future PSAC opponents, who worked 59 of 68 total innings.

Pirone (6-0), a Seton Hill commit, had 42 strikeouts in 27 innings and a 1.82 ERA. Treloar, who will play at Cal (Pa.), was 4-0, and his ERA is 1.12. He also had a save.

Pirone threw a no-hitter against Kiski Area on Thursday, striking out six as the Panthers won 7-0.

“He no-hit us this summer, as well,” Kiski Area coach Aaron Albert said. “He’s really gained velocity and confidence since I first saw him. Bobby is a great coach, so I credit a lot of that to him as well. I joked with Pirone in between games, just making sure he wasn’t throwing on any summer team I’m coaching against, and making sure he didn’t have another year (of eligibility) at FR.”

Junior Chris Pagano also had a win. In his start, he went two innings, and all 17 of his pitches were strikes.

Juniors Kyle Morgan and Jordan Suvak have worked in relief and also have been efficient. Junior Caden Smith is an available arm-in-waiting.

“When given opportunities in games, we have the utmost confidence in all of our guys,” Saddler said, “and I am sure that some of them are going to have to step up and be relied upon more throughout the remainder of the season.”

And to think Andrew Muraco, the second baseman, was the team’s No. 1 pitcher two years ago. He is healing from an arm injury, but the Panthers have been fine without him on the mound.

Muraco, a Coastal Carolina commit as a position player, could end up back in the mix as the season moves ahead.

“Everyone on the staff all around fills the strike zone with two to three pitches that often have the hitter guessing at the plate,” junior catcher Thomas Nicely said.

Pirone said the pitchers’ variety is what has made them effective.

“All of our pitchers are unique and throw different stuff, which keeps batters off balance from game to game, especially when we need relief mid-game, our pitchers bring a whole new tempo,” he said. “I expected this out of the pitchers because they all have their own strengths, especially Luke and I. Luke is definitely more crafty than I am, being able to keep batters off balance and throwing a lot of strikes, but I can apply pressure with my fastball.

“Even through I walk some people, our mix definitely gives a very different feel to the game day to day. Our guys get better the more experienced they get, and I don’t think we’re even close to how good we will be in the future.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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