Trib HSSN baseball player of the week for April 2, 2023
Sunday, April 2, 2023 | 7:49 PM
Some young district pitchers don’t mind pitching in the early season chill known as March baseball. They feel it gives them an edge over the hitters.
Don’t count Chartiers-Houston senior Ryan Opfer among them.
“I prefer it hot actually,” Opfer said. “I prefer 90 degrees over 50 degrees to be honest. I feel like I’m throwing harder when it’s hot. I like to sweat.”
Opfer has been making Buccaneers opponents sweat with his right arm and his red-hot stick.
Chartiers-Houston is off to a 4-0 start overall, including a pair of wins last week over Fort Cherry.
“It’s always fun playing Fort Cherry because they are our main rivals,” Opfer said. “We always gotta show up when we play them.”
Opfer got the start and the win in Monday’s game, pitching six innings without giving up an earned run while walking one and striking out seven.
“Ryan, was solid against Fort Cherry,” Chartiers-Houston coach Andy Manion said. “He got hit hard in two innings, made an adjustment and held their bats quiet the rest of the way. The Fort Cherry bats can hit you hard if you have only one pitch, and he learned that. He adjusted and gave out bats time to warm up.”
At the plate, Opfer was 2 for 3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI in the Buccaneers’ 5-1 win.
“Ryan has become more consistent over the years,” Manion said. “As a freshman, he had a wild streak in him, but in the years since, he’s improved his accuracy in all of his pitches. That makes his stuff more lethal.”
The next day, the teams met again for a nonsection game in McDonald. Opfer went 3 for 3 with another double and four RBIs.
“I’ve been seeing the ball very well and working on opposite-field approach and it’s been working for me,” Opfer said. “I got to DH that game because they didn’t want me playing the field. I only had to focus on hitting, and it really worked.”
The big games at the plate are coming at a good time for Chartiers-Houston, which is playing without starting catcher Luke Camden, a junior.
“With Camden out for a couple of weeks, we need some bats to pick up the slack, and Opfer has done just that,” Manion said. “His bat has been huge for us with some key RBI’s.”
Chartiers-Houston has yet to play a section game, but that changes Monday when it opens Section 1-2A play with home-and-home games against 2022 WPIAL and PIAA final four participant Burgettstown.
“The games against Burgettstown are huge,” Manion said. “They have some really solid pitching over there, and we will be tested. The series this week doesn’t settle anything in section play because there are some pretty good teams left on the schedule, but if a team sweeps these two, it would give them a big leg up.”
2022 Trib HSSN Baseball Players of the Week
Week 11: Evan Holewinski, Bethel Park
Week 10: Cody Geddes, Bethel Park
Week 9: Drew Lafferty, South Park
Week 8: Mason Sike, Montour
Week 7: J.C. Voss, Mohawk
Week 6: Angelo DeLeonardis, Knoch
Week 5: Dylan Grabowski, Penn-Trafford
Week 4: Cam Marshalwitz, Hampton
Week 3: Wes Parker, Peters Township
Week 2: Gavin Homer, Indiana
Week 1: Jake Kendro, Norwin
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