Senior’s return gives energy boost to Hempfield baseball

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Thursday, April 21, 2022 | 9:01 AM


Joe Fiedor missed most of the basketball season for Hempfield with a mysterious injury he sustained in a home game against Penn-Trafford.

It was a big hit to the Spartans’ backcourt.

The strange, noncontact injury was later diagnosed: A piece of cartilage broke off under his kneecap and caused discomfort.

With his senior baseball season ahead, Fiedor rested and waited, hoping he’d be cleared for the spring.

The wait was worth it. He’s been a big hit on the diamond, as well.

Fiedor has come back to form and is trying to help Hempfield (3-8, 2-3), the returning WPIAL Class 6A runner-up, make another playoff push.

Fiedor has been sidelined before. Some forget he had Tommy John surgery last year nine games into the season and missed the run to the finals.

“Coming back has been great, both my arm and my knee have felt amazing and it’s felt really good to be back into baseball,” said Fiedor, who will play college baseball at Seton Hill. “I was able to start baseball right at the beginning and I was lucky to not have to miss any of the season.”

Hempfield coach Tim Buzzard wanted to ease Fiedor back into the mix.

“He is really playing well to start the season,” Buzzard said. “His arm is getting stronger each day and he has not had any issue with his knee since tryouts began.”

One of the better defensive players around, Fiedor is playing second base but should also begin to get work at shortstop.

“Joe is a tremendous athlete,” Buzzard said. “He does a great job for us defensively, runs the bases well and can hit to all fields. Joe is extremely competitive and it shows with how he plays.”

Through 10 games, Fiedor was slashing .406 (13 for 32)/.457/.750 with nine runs, two doubles, a triple, a home run and five RBIs. He had six stolen bases.

Buzzard said Fiedor’s presence on the field alone motivates the Spartans, who had tight losses to Penn-Trafford (2-1), Upper St. Clair (8-6), Latrobe (7-6), and Mt. Lebanon (4-3 in nine innings).

Fiedor went 3 for 4 with two triples in a 7-4 win over Baldwin.

“He has a tremendous energy on the field that gets us going,” Buzzard said. “It has been such a boost to get him back. He really had some bad luck with injuries, and I hated that he didn’t have the opportunity to play in the WPIAL title game last year.”

Fiedor hopes the Spartans can make another postseason run, one in which he can play a part.

The missed time motivates him.

“It does, very much,” he said. “I missed being able to play and compete.”

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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