Trib HSSN baseball player of the week for May 5, 2024

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Sunday, May 5, 2024 | 9:15 PM


Trib HSSN baseball player of the week: A.J. Verdi

School: Mohawk

Class: Senior

Positions: Catcher, third base

#Earned: It was a big week for the senior catcher, as he helped his Mohawk teammates remained undefeated in Section 1-3A and win their ninth, 10th and 11th consecutive game. In back-to-back victories over fourth place Shenango, Verdi was 3 for 5 Monday with a sacrifice fly. Then, he was 1 for 1 with three walks Tuesday with another sac fly. Verdi capped off his week Thursday by going 4 for 4 in a nonsection win over Blackhawk. Verdi’s work behind the plate helped Warriors pitchers allow 3.5 runs per game while the offense is averaging nine runs per contest. Briar Crawford (6 innings) and Jay Wrona (1) combined on a two-hitter Tuesday in the 7-0 win over the Wildcats.

What coach says: “He had everything this past week — plate discipline, power, situational hitting, leadership, clutch factor, you name it,” Mohawk coach Nick Maiorano said. “All offseason, A.J.’s power has been up. For a player that already hit the ball hard, it was impressive to see such a noticeable increase. What adds to the eight hits are the eight runs that they produced. This season, his at-bats have produced 37 runs through RBIs and runs scored.

“We couldn’t do it without him,” Maiorano said of the team’s pitching success. “Out of the eight pitchers we have used this season, six are freshman and sophomores. Having a veteran presence behind the plate is invaluable. His skillset behind the plate is some of the best in the league, and a reason why he is going to Cal U.

“For four years, A.J. has always been the vocal leader of the team. It’s probably why he is nicknamed, Coach Verdi. His emotions and attitude never waver. He is the first to greet you between innings, and the first one speaking in the huddles. His passion and energy shine through all of his teammates, and he is exactly what you think of when you check the boxes for a leader.

“There is no doubt that winning a championship is a goal for this team, but it is about more than that. With the recent success of boys sports, all of these seasons have blended together. Our focus has been, and will continue to be, enjoying our time together. Each season comes to an end. Our focus is to extend it for as long as we can, and A.J. is right in the center of that.”

Background: The A.J. stands for Andrew John. Verdi will continue his academic and baseball career at Cal (Pa.). The senior has been a two-sport star at Mohawk, also playing a key role in the success of the Warriors football team. In the fall, Verdi plays linebacker and fullback. Verdi rushed for 121 yards and also had 138 receiving yards with three touchdowns. He also booted a field goal this past season for a Warriors team that finished 10-3 and lost to Steel Valley in the WPIAL Class 2A semifinals. His biggest contributions were at linebacker, where he set a school single- season record with 25 tackles in a game against Union. On the diamond this spring, Verdi leads the team with a .478 batting average (22 for 46) with six doubles and 17 RBIs.

2024 Trib HSSN Baseball Players of the Week

Week 4 – Jake Robinson, Montour

Week 3 – Gio LoNero, Seton LaSalle

Week 2 – Tommy Schafale, North Catholic

Week 1 – Ryan Petras, Bethel Park

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