Riverview aims to contend in challenging Section 3-2A
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | 2:28 PM
The Riverview baseball team has playoff aspirations in 2020.
Veteran coach Bill Gras is optimistic the Raiders will be able to snap their five-year non-playoff streak this season.
“Last year was disappointing in that we only won three (section) games, and we had everyone but one player back from the year before,” Gras said. “We lost two players to injury the first week of the season, and they were out all season.
“I feel we will be a much-improved team this year. We only lost two players from last year and picked up five freshmen. I will be counting on a few of them. I started five freshmen last year and with a year under their belts, we should be improved.”
The Raiders and all other baseball teams in Pennsylvania had their seasons put on hold by the PIAA, which postponed the start of the season because of the covid-19 pandemic.
Riverview finished fifth in Section 3-2A last season behind Seton LaSalle, Serra Catholic, Jeannette and Brentwood.
The Raiders are led this year by seniors Mark McClelland, Chris Collins, Luke Killmeyer and Will Franciscus. McClelland and Collins are pitchers, Killmeyer is their batterymate behind the plate, and Franciscus is a utility player.
“I have a great group of seniors this year that I am asking to be the (team) leaders,” said Gras, who is in his third season as Riverview’s coach. “The junior class is thin. My top player from this class is out for most of the season with an injury that he suffered in football.”
Leading sophomore candidates include Ty Laughlin (SS/CF), Brandon Trabbold (OF/1B), Jonathan Meising (C/3B) and Vince Shook (C/IF), along with Jordan Escalera and Taylor Zellefrow.
“Jordan Escalera and Taylor Zellefrow are both (sophomore) newcomers to the team,” Gras said, “and we look for contributions from both of them at this point.”
Top freshman prospects this spring include John Patsey (1B/SS/CF), Luke Migely (SS/2B), Daniel Roupas (OF), Enzo Lio (OF/1B) and Cameron Shane (1B/OF).
Laughlin, Shook, Patsey, Migley, Lio and Shane also are members of the team’s pitching corps.
Riverview’s section proved to be the toughest in 2A last season. Seton LaSalle and Serra Catholic were co-champs and both generated long runs in the playoffs.
The Rebels captured the WPIAL title, defeating Serra, 11-2, in the championship game. Serra reached the PIAA final after edging Seton La Salle, 4-3, in the semifinal round.
“The teams to beat again are Seton LaSalle and Serra Catholic,” Gras said.
More Baseball• Senior spotlight: Future is full of possibilities for Bethel Park infielder
• PIAA extends postponement of spring sports, winter championships
• Local ballplayers trying to stay sharp during coronavirus’ spring shutdown
• Westmoreland H.S. notebook: Penn-Trafford baseball honoring Maclean Maund
• Depth fuels Quaker Valley baseball team after reaching playoffs last season