Springdale baseball eager to ‘meet any challenge’

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021 | 6:32 PM


After winning just two games in 2019, the Springdale baseball team had high hopes to move up the ladder last year with an experienced group.

But the covid pandemic squashed those hopes before they had the chance to be realized.

Now back on the field, the Dynamos are working to put all of the pieces together.

Brett Burger, in his fourth season as Springdale’s coach, said he is eager to see his 13 players continue to grow through the early portion of the season and attempt to put themselves in the mix for a playoff spot in Section 3-A against Eden Christian, Leechburg, Riverview, St. Joseph and Sewickley Academy.

“We’re going to have to navigate this season much the same way we navigated through the pandemic,” Burger said. “Hopefully, we can rise to meet any challenge.”

Springdale is looking to move on from a couple of tough losses from earlier in the week as it looks ahead to the start of section play with a home-and-home series against Eden Christian next Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Dynamos begin the week with nonsection matchup against Serra Catholic.

Junior Chris Savko (outfield/pitcher) and sophomore Joe Wylly (catcher) are the team captains.

“I feel we have a pretty good group,” Savko said. “We just have to continue to work to get ourselves together, work as a team and make plays like I know we can. We can be a good team.”

Wylly was set to move into the catcher spot last year as a freshman, so he is excited to have this opportunity this spring.

“I was really excited for last season, and I knew I was going to get my opportunity to show what I could do,” Wylly said. “It was tough to hear the season was going to be shut down. We had a nice senior class, and we had the potential to do really well. For me, it’s nice to have a clean slate, and I am looking forward to these upcoming years as a captain and a contributor to this team.”

Burger likes what Wylly has brought in terms of leadership at catcher.

“He takes control of the defense and is very vocal,” Burger said. “We think he can be one of the top hitters, and we have him batting cleanup. He’s essentially a freshman in terms of playing experience. We’ve thrown him right into a big role, and he’s handled it well.”

Burger hopes junior Brandon John (shortstop/pitcher) can follow up on his strong freshman season when he led the team in batting average (.524), hits (22), RBIs (16) and runs (14).

“He’s pretty versatile, and we moved him to shortstop (from catcher), where we feel he’ll help us the most,” Burger said. “He’s just a good player that will give us a lot on offense and defense.”

Senior Dmitri Fritch, a standout on the football and basketball teams, joined the team for the first time last year and is in the mix at third base, shortstop and pitcher.

“Dmitri is a naturally gifted athlete, and he has looked really good,” Burger said. “He had a pair of triples in our scrimmage against Bishop Canevin. He can really hit the ball. He sets a good example for how he plays on the field. We’re expecting big things from him.”

John Hughes, a freshman, got the start against Valley on Monday and is expected to be at the top of the rotation. He also is looking for time in the outfield.

“I didn’t think opening day against a good team like Valley was too big for him,” Burger said.

“The experience was good for him.”

Junior Ricky Martinelli (first base), Josh Kaminski (outfield), Emmett Jaronski (second base) and Dan Gabrielli (outfield) started against Valley.

Freshman Shane Parsons (infield/outfield), senior Justin Botinovich and junior Colin O’Day (second base/pitcher) also hope to make an impact.

“There are great opportunities for some of the guys who have never played before,” Burger said. “Hopefully, they take the playing time they are going to get and run with it. Through the open competition, they want to be out there and want to contribute.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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