Plenty of bright spots for young Chartiers Valley baseball roster

Sunday, June 27, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Five years ago, Chartiers Valley was on top the of WPIAL Class AAA mountain.

The Colts stunned top-seed Laurel Highlands in the quarterfinals, and then went on to beat No. 3-seed Blackhawk in the championship game, 4-3, for the school’s only WPIAL baseball championship.

While there were no vision of titles dancing in the Colts heads in 2021, they overcame a six-game losing streak in early May to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

“This season was a whirlwind,” Chartiers Valley coach Curt Cairns said. “I know our record did not indicate it, but we really took steps forward as a program. We were inexperienced all around because of the lost covid season, but we really took steps forward. We lost some tight ones this year, but with experience, I think we win those games next year.”

It didn’t help that the inexperienced Colts had to race in Section 3-5A, one of the deepest sections in the district with all six teams (West Allegheny, Shaler, South Fayette, Chartiers Valley, North Hills, Moon) having won a WPIAL baseball championship in the last 12 years.

“Section 3 was a murderer’s row,” Cairns said. “There isn’t a team in it that could not beat any team on any given day. Every team in the section is well coached, and you have to bring your A game every single day. Every team has a big arm, and those arms are young for the most part, so it isn’t going to get any easier. We gave it everything we had for 20 games. I could not be any prouder of these guys.”

While Chartiers Valley got swept in the section series with South Fayette, Shaler and West Allegheny. The Colts split with North Hills and swept Moon to finish in fourth place and earn a berth in the Class 5A playoffs.

“Making the playoffs was the goal and we accomplished that,” Cairns said. “We were able to get some of the young guys moved up from JV to help make an impact. That was really important moving forward. Also, every senior is moving on to attend college. That is a pretty big deal, and I am proud of these guys for the work they put in while in the classroom.”

A nice mix of senior and juniors helped lead the way for Chartiers Valley this spring, with a sophomore standout as well.

“Drew Evans (junior) was phenomenal on the mound for us this season. Garret Alauzen (senior) had a great year in left field and at the plate for us. Will Kinchington (senior) was really hot most of the year at the plate, and his first base/designated hitter counterpart Nate Bush (senior) hit well. Anthony Collura (senior) and Charlie Caputo (sophomore) had excellent years at the plate.”

Like most of the spring teams, the hurdles of the covid-19 protocols were not as taxing as the sports played in the fall and winter seasons had to deal with.

“Actually, it was not difficult at all,” Cairns said. “Our athletic director and assistant athletic director did a really nice job of implementing policies that were helpful in the process. Of course, there were some headaches when traveling, but it was as normal a season as could be expected.”

While the Colts certainly want to win more than six games next spring, another year’s distance from the lost 2020 season and a good crop of youngsters has the coaching staff looking forward to 2022.

“The youth and the hard work they put in to get better every single day,” Cairns said when asked what has him excited him about the future. “Not just when they are at practice, but the things they do outside of practices. We have a number of good arms going into 2022. We have some speed that should translate this year. We just need to get right at the plate. I look forward to that challenge.”

Cairns did offer one final thought about the 2021 version of the Colts.

“This was just a great group of guys to coach,” he said. “I enjoyed every second spent with them.”


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