Trib HSSN Baseball Player of the Week shines in PIAA playoffs
Monday, June 17, 2019 | 9:48 PM
The Trib HSSN Baseball Player of the Week is Serra Catholic freshman Nico Eremic, who contributed from the clean-up spot in a PIAA semifinal win and a championship game loss.
“Wow, this year was a Cinderella story,” Serra Catholic coach Brian Dzurenda said. “The whole team philosophy changed from past years where we just banged the ball around and tried to throw it by everyone.”
That philosophy was evident last week as the Eagles relied on pitching to beat Seton LaSalle, 4-3, and then again when they fell to Devon Prep, 3-2, in the PIAA Class 2A final.
Eremic did his part, going 3 for 6 with a run scored and two RBIs in the final two games of the season, when he batted .333 with two homers and 24 RBIs.
“Nico matured from a green freshman to a confident hitter and competent outfielder,” Dzurenda said. “He is an aggressive player by nature which fits our team philosophy well.”
On a team loaded with underclassmen, Eremic was one of three freshmen in the starting lineup for the district and state runner-up Eagles.
“Nico immediately displayed power and patience at the plate in our early-season scrimmages against OLSH and (Keystone Oaks),” Dzurenda said. “We thought it was a risk to bat him top four, but we really had no other options at that time, so we took a leap of faith, and it paid off.”
Before his first varsity game, Eremic had to switch to a different position.
“Nico is a catcher and was forced to learn another position due to Mark Black,” Dzurenda said. “One hundred thousand fly balls later, he is now a great outfielder thanks to coach Tom DeMoss, who broke a couple bats hitting him fly balls.”
While there were no championships this spring after loses to the Rebels in the WPIAL final and the Tide in the PIAA title game, the silver lining for the Eagles is they return Eremic and all but one of their regular starters.
“I think we can be very good again in coming seasons, but we need to get stronger and grow a bit,” Dzurenda said. “There are so many capable teams in 2A, and we realize we cannot stand pat and expect to win. We will get back to work and make our own luck.”
Jack Yanssens, Beaver
Senior Jack Yanssens did all he could to lead Beaver to two wins and a state championship. He had three hits and two runs scored in the Bobcats’ 7-5 semifinal win over East Pennsboro. Then in the Class 4A title game at Penn State, Yanssens started and allowed five runs in four innings, but only two runs were earned. Yanssens drove home two more runs, but it wasn’t enough as Beaver lost to Selinsgrove, 7-4.
Previous Trib HSSN Baseball Players of the Week:
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.