‘Playoffs or nothing’ for refocused Southmoreland baseball team

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 | 6:55 PM

With rain in the forecast earlier in the week, Southmoreland baseball players rolled out a brand new tarp to cover their home infield.

They used tires to weigh it down.

In this case, the wheels didn’t come off. Last year was a different story.

The Scotties started 5-0 but proceeded to lose all of their remaining games to finish 5-10 overall and 3-7 in Section 4-3A, tied for last.

“We lost out,” coach Al Govern said. “That can’t happen.”

If one game was representative of what the Scotties experienced, it was the second meeting against Charleroi. Stunningly, Southmoreland blew a 16-0 lead and lost to Charleroi, 22-20.

“That was ridiculous,” Govern said. “We have to do better. We hit the ball and cut down on errors. We just have to learn how to put games away.”

With all of that behind them, the Scotties are ready to turn the page and set out to break the school record for wins in a season — 10, in 2008, the last year they made the WPIAL playoffs.

“They seem to be enjoying it more this year,” Govern said. “There doesn’t seem to be as much pressure as in years past.”

Govern’s son, Anthony, will be the top pitcher heading into the season. He is one of six seniors on the roster.

“This is the last mile for them,” coach Govern said. “They have been playing together since they were 7 and 8 years old.”

That group, sans several players who either transferred or did not play in high school, won a Pittsburgh Metro League championship.

“We had a travel team,” coach Govern said. “We beat Montour. We pulled from 17 kids (at Southmoreland). They pulled from 250.”

But that was in the past, too.

“This year, it’s playoffs or nothing,” Anthony Govern said. “I think we put too much pressure on ourselves last year. Our heads got a little too big.”

The Scotties return seven starters.

Among them: senior first baseman Kory Ansell, sophomore third baseman Kedin Keefer, junior outfielder Owen King, senior outfielders Vinny Ledbetter and Noah Phillips, and senior catcher Brok Potoka.

Anthony Govern also might play some shortstop.

Also watch sophomore Ty Keffer, who is out for high school baseball for the first time. He figures into the pitching staff, possibly as a No. 2 starter.

Other potential arms include Potoka, sophomore Ty Campbell, and Keefer.

Three freshmen also could make an early impact. They all had three hits in a recent scrimmage against Greensburg Central Catholic. They are Blake Forsythe, Blake McLaughlin and Cole Teets.

Southmoreland never has won a section title in baseball.

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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