Trib HSSN baseball team of the week for April 30, 2023

Sunday, April 30, 2023 | 7:57 PM

Five years ago, the South Side baseball team made it to the WPIAL semifinals, and after qualifying for the PIAA playoffs, won three games to reach the state championship game.

In the 2018 Class 2A state title game, the Rams lost to Lancaster Catholic, 5-1.

That was the last postseason game for South Side. That will change this season.

The 2023 Rams (13-1, 9-1 Section 2-2A) are hoping for a golden celebration to commemorate that unexpected state silver run five years ago.

“There are some similarities to it, but this group is their own,” South Side coach Eric Statler said. “They’ve done this on their own. The covid year when we didn’t play, this group was freshmen. We did play in that summer in a Colt league, and this group had some success and won that. Teams that play in there, what happens three years later is typically, they’re going deep into the WPIAL, so hopefully that happens with us.”

Statler was an assistant coach in 2018 but now is in his fourth season as head coach.

The Rams are tied for first place with Seton LaSalle in Section 2-2A.

The South Side offense has been electric all season, scoring double-digit runs 11 times.

The team has four regulars hitting over .500: seniors Alex Arrigo (.537), Luke McCoy (.529), John Lytle (.516) and sophomore Carter Wilson (.500).

“Those guys are really doing quite well,” Statler said. “It’s not just them. We have a lot of guys batting over .400 throughout the entire lineup. While those guys have been carrying us pretty well, there are several others who have really come up big. That’s a real luxury, especially at this level.”

They have four more players hitting over .400 this spring: seniors Christian Mzyk (.483), Tristan Shuman (.463), sophomore R.J. Fischer (.441) and freshman Andrew Corfield (.412).

This past week, the Rams picked up two more section wins in a sweep of Northgate and added win No. 13 in a nonsection victory over Keystone Oaks.

“It was different players, which is really encouraging,” Statler said. “Those nonsection games are a good opportunity to get some guys some time. The growth of everyone is great right now.”

The pitching has been pretty good as well for South Side.

Arrigo and Shuman were the winning pitchers in the Northgate victories, and McCoy earned the victory against Keystone Oaks.

“We’re ending games quickly,” Statler said. “You do wonder what happens when we have to go seven innings, what happens when we face some adversity and don’t hit, what happens to our lineup then and what happens to our team.”

Statler and his team might soon find out. While the Rams and Rebels are tied for first place and have clinched a playoff spot, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and New Brighton also have clinched a postseason berth.

South Side is schedule to play their section series this week against Seton LaSalle and then close out section play next week against New Brighton.

“We know they’re pretty good and they’re historically up near the top,” Statler said. “They’ve got some guys who can really hit the ball, some really good players who are going to match up with us. We fully expect to be competitive with them, but we fully expect to have our hands full.”

2023 Trib HSSN Baseball Teams of the Week

Week 4 – Pine-Richland Rams

Week 3 – Canon-McMillan Big Macs

Week 2 – Mars Fightin’ Planets

Week 1 – Shaler Titans


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