Trib HSSN Baseball Team of the Week: Keystone Oaks
Sunday, April 14, 2019 | 8:36 PM
The Trib HSSN Team of the Week picked up two section wins this past week and left their opponents feeling blanked as we salute the Keystone Oaks Golden Eagles.
After splitting their first four games and their first two section contests, Keystone Oaks was looking to shut down Washington and Southmoreland.
The Golden Eagles not only shut out the Little Prexies and Scotties, they also did not allow a hit.
Sophomore Sam Tortorella was perfect, allowing no baserunners and striking out 14 in six innings as Keystone Oaks won 11-0 on Monday.
Two days later, senior Mason Brooks no-hit Southmoreland with eight strikeouts in five innings as the Golden Eagles soared to a 10-0 win.
“Both Sammy and Mason are hard-working kids who are pitchers not just throwers,” Keystone Oaks first-year coach Nick Kamberis said. “They understand the game and have above-average fastballs and drop-off-the-table breaking balls. When they have command of both, they are difficult to square up.
“As far as the perfect game and no-hitter back-to-back, obviously some luck is involved. But they both were throwing first-pitch strikes and working fast, helping them stay in rhythm. It also helps to have your teammates behind you to accomplish something like this.”
KO hammered out 21 runs in the two wins and have scored double-digits in all four of their victories. However, Kamberis feels the offense needs to improve.
“We have really been focusing on line drives up the middle. Going as far as having them do five pushups every time they hit the top of the screen in the cage. They are starting to buy in.”
Senior Benny Kvederis is hitting over .600, Brooks and Tortorella are hitting over .500 while power has come from seniors Jeremy Wytiaz and Colby Rockacy, sophomore Jake Slazinski and freshman Nate Brestensky.
Keystone Oaks finished 6-12 last season and a coaching change took place with Kamberis taking over.
“I’m loving every minute of it,” he said. “But it’s not about me. It’s about the boys. They are great kids who want to work hard. We started lifting weights in September and the boys all bought in getting themselves bigger, faster and stronger. We had 6 a.m. practices in the winter and would get 20-plus players there before school. It says a lot about their commitment level. The bond the boys have built is special. They are truly a team and have each other’s back.”
Sixteen years ago, Keystone Oaks qualified for the playoffs for the first time in program history. The coach back then was former athletic director Kenny Hustava. He is back on the Golden Eagles bench, helping out the former KO football coach.
“I call him the workhorse,” Kamberis said. “He has been an absolute godsend. The best assistant coach I have ever been around. He brings so much to the plate on and off of the field with so much experience. I think of him as my equal, and it being our team and our program.”
Kamberis doesn’t know much about his section opponents or other teams throughout Class 3A. His focus is on his team and the three letters they adopted at the start of the season — WTP. Win This Pitch.
“We keep preaching we are only as good as our next game. If we keep that mentality, keep grinding, taking it one pitch at a time, hopefully we look up at the end and we have ourselves in a favorable position. The key is to know that you are good, but never ever think that you are too good. Always get one day better.”
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.
Tags: Keystone Oaks
More Baseball• Former Penn-Trafford baseball star who died in Penn Township crash remembered
• Westmoreland high school notebook: Norwin baseball loaded again
• Trib WPIAL boys basketball rankings: Week ending Jan. 25, 2020
• Longtime Neshannock baseball coach Mike Kirkwood resigns
• West Allegheny’s Austin Hendrick next WPIAL standout who could join MLB ranks