Shady Side Academy baseball focused on winning section title

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Saturday, April 17, 2021 | 11:01 AM


The Shady Side Academy baseball team has a goal in mind.

The Bulldogs want to win a Section 3-2A title and earn a high seed for the playoffs, but they aren’t in any rush to get there.

“Our expectation is to compete for the section title for sure,” Shady Side coach Jordan Steranka said. “We have a good group of guys who are really excited to get out there, and that’s kind of our main goal now. We just want to take it one day at a time, one game at a time, with the ultimate goal of trying to win the section title.”

The Bulldogs have gotten off to a solid start. Outside of a 9-8 loss to South Allegheny to start the season, they’ve played well and have built up an overall record of 3-2 with a 2-1 section record. Their lone section loss came against Serra Catholic, which is 8-0 and has scored 10-plus runs in six games.

The Bulldogs have earned wins over Jeannette (twice) and Sewickley Academy with a total team effort as they scored, scoring a combined 44 runs while allowing just seven.

“It really has gone great, and we’ve started out pretty strong,” Steranka said. “We’ve shown some offense, and I really like the group of guys that we have this year. We are very senior-heavy, and we have a lot of great senior leadership.”

Senior Tyler Hart has led the way both at the plate and on the mound. He’s hitting .562 with nine hits and nine RBIs. He’s also tallied seven innings on the mound and threw a three-inning perfect game with six strikeouts in a 15-0 victory against Jeannette on April 6.

“He’s one of our senior captains, he’s our No. 1 pitcher, our starting shortstop when he’s not pitching and he’s one of our best hitters,” Steranka said. “He was a starter a couple of years ago.”

Senior backstop Joe Mele is another player who has contributed, hitting .353, with three doubles, a home run and eight RBIs. Junior Josh Chu has hit .500, with eight hits, nine RBIs, five doubles and a triple.

But the Bulldogs have gotten off to a hot start because their entire team has been producing.

“Offensively, we have a great one through nine, and we have a lot of depth on the bench, we have some great hitters and there is really no easy out,” Steranka said. “Defensively, we have played really well, with the exception of the first game, but that is kind of everybody’s circumstance getting out on the field for the first time. But we’ve played well and our pitching has been there too.”

Along with Hart, four other pitchers have registered innings, including freshman Jonah Sackrowitz. So, while they have experience, they are also getting production from a few underclassmen, as well.

“It’s kind of funny, we have a very senior-laden team, but we also have a couple of younger guys who are contributing as well,” Steranka said. “We have two freshman starters and some other sophomores as well who have been contributing. So, we are kind of at both ends of the spectrum.”

Freshman Jackson Suski and Sackrowitz have solidified their spots in the starting lineup in the infield and have filled in at third, short stop or second base when Hart and Chu start on the mound. They’ve combined for five hits and five RBIs at the plate and Suski has also hit two triples in Shady Side’s first five games.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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