Trib HSSN baseball team of the week for April 28, 2024

Sunday, April 28, 2024 | 9:13 PM

Trib HSSN baseball team of the week: Valley Vikings

Coach: Jim Basilone (eighth season)

Records: Valley is 5-3 in Section 3-3A, 10-4 overall

#Earned: It was a perfect week for Valley, which swept its second section series of the season with two wins over Eat Allegheny, 4-2 on Monday and 8-1 on Tuesday. The wins were sweet after the Vikings were swept last season by the Wildcats. On Wednesday, Valley finished off a nonsection win over Greensburg Salem, 6-2. The game was started in March but suspended because of snow. Then on Thursday, the Vikings raised some eyebrows by handing Serra Catholic its first loss of the season in another nonsection tilt, 5-4, giving Valley five straight wins and victories in seven of its last nine games.

Standout performers: On the mound in the first win over East Allegheny, Valley relied on a 12th grader and a ninth grader. Senior Wesley Schrock started and pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing only two hits and striking out nine for the win while freshman Dominick Dunkel got the final four outs for the save. On Tuesday against the Wildcasts, seniors Jacob Staraniec and Tyler Danko combined for seven innings of work while allowing one run on six hits with nine strikeouts as the starter Staraniec got the win. Sophomore Nikolas Heakins pitched the final three innings of the resumed game, earning another win for Schrock. Then against Serra Catholic, Danko (4 innings) and Dunkel (3 innings) each allowed three hits and struck out a combined eight Eagles in the one-run victory. The six pitchers for the Vikings have a combined ERA of 1.48 this season. On offense this week, besides Staraniec, Schrock, Danko and Haskins, Conrad Hoover and Dante Taliani, among others, chipped in for the perfect week.

Last year: Valley swept Derry and Deer Lakes in its last two section series to go from 1-7 to 5-7 in the section and finish in a three-way tie for fourth place with Derry and Burrell. All three teams qualified for the playoffs. In the preliminary round, the Vikings were pitted against rival Burrell and came out on top, 6-5, to earn the No. 16 seed. In the first round, Valley was blanked by eventual WPIAL and PIAA champion Riverside, 8-0. Valley finished the season with an overall record of 11-11 after losing 10 of 13 at one point from March 24 through April 25. It marked the fourth time in six seasons the Vikings qualified for the postseason under Basilone.

Remember when: The Vikings have never won a WPIAL baseball title. However, prior to the merger to form Valley, Arnold High School was a district baseball champion. It was 59 years ago that the Lions defeated Greensburg, North Hills and Gateway to reach the 1965 WPIAL championship game. Back then, there was only one classification. Arnold stunned favored Beaver Falls in the finals played at Forbes Field in Oakland, 11-1. The winning pitcher in that title game was Jim Fantuzzo as he, fellow starting pitcher Joe Unites and Lions catcher and future Valley coach John Mazur all attended Marshall University.

2024 Trib HSSN Baseball Teams of the Week

Week 3 – Pine-Richland Rams

Week 2 – Eden Christian Academy Warriors

Week 1 – Shady Side Academy Bulldogs


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