Shaler Area’s Rispoli commits to play baseball at Dayton

Thursday, November 15, 2018 | 9:24 PM

Nick Rispoli didn’t feel he was able to showcase his total skill set during limited action on the mound for Shaler baseball last season.

Having an extra year may allow the Titans junior right-handed pitcher to leave a more lasting impression. Stepping into a starting role a year ago may not have been as pristine. Rispoli primarily played catcher for Shaler and wasn’t fully immersed in his transition from behind the plate.

Entering this season, Rispoli also will have added confidence. Last week, Rispoli announced on Twitter his commitment to play at Division I Dayton.

“Definitely getting on the mound,” Rispoli said about what he’s excited about for this high school season. “I was more of a catcher for the school team, and the few times I did pitch, I didn’t show what I had. I also didn’t have what I have now.”

Chase Rowe, who coaches Rispoli and is the director of the Pittsburgh Spikes, felt the Flyers were impressed with Rispoli’s potential.

Dayton competes in the Atlantic 10 and finished 21-31 last season. The Flyers last made the NCAA Tournament in 2012.

“I don’t even think he is there yet,” said Rowe, who is also the baseball coach at La Roche. “I think Dayton saw his potential. They knew from talking to us that he was really rather new to pitching. This is the first year he did mostly pitching and stopped catching. They saw a lot of potential. He’s going to continue to get stronger, and his mechanics are going to get better as he plays for us in the next two years.”

Adding more strength on top of strong mechanics has helped Rispoli add some jump to his velocity. Rispoli’s fastball has gone from 82-83 miles per hour to hitting 86 consistently and occasionally touching 89.

“I think, physically, sometimes these kids grow into their bodies,” Rowe said. “I think mechanically he works with good pitching coaches to unlock what he has in him to reach his natural potential. We’ve done certain things with him over the course of two years that have slowly progressed to help get his natural abilities out of him.”

Rispoli’s been focusing on fine-tuning his pitches. Fastball command and a steady slider have been strengths. He is working on developing a changeup.

Rispoli is excited to show off what he can do with Shaler dropping to Class 5A this season.

He wants to make sure to take care of himself to make it to the spring.

“I think you have to be smart with it,” Rispoli said. “Obviously, in the summers there is no reason to kill your arm and throw an insane amount of innings. I think maintenance, too. I’m still throwing 2-3 times a week and keep throwing, keep my arm loose and strong and stretched out.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.


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