Versatility helps Greensburg Central Catholic overcome injuries to make Class A baseball playoffs

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Thursday, May 12, 2022 | 10:15 AM


Zach David and Max Kallock appeared to be the ideal one-two pitching punch for Greensburg Central Catholic.

They were posturing to pair up and help the Centurions navigate section series and make a WPIAL run in Class A. But then injuries threw them a curveball. Actually, they both suffered the same injury, but to different elbows.

David, a senior left-hander who was throwing in the upper 80 mph range, and Kallock, a junior righty, both were dealt ulnar collateral ligament tears to their throwing arms in the offseason.

“Super unlucky,” David said. “But we kept fighting.”

Both had surgery and were ready to play this spring. But not as pitchers. They both continue to be offensive forces, but David is playing first base and Kallock is roaming the outfield.

Somehow, the Centurions have made do on the mound — by committee.

It’s like, who hasn’t thrown a pitch for them?

“Our guys have taken it in stride,” GCC coach Tom Appleby said. “It’s next guy up. They have taken on every challenge.”

GCC (8-5) has clinched a WPIAL playoff spot and will learn Thursday which team it will open against next week.

While “eight or nine” pitchers have seen time for GCC, five main arms have made up the staff: junior Michael McCready, senior Johnny Wiegers, and sophomores Ethan Brody, Tyree Turner and Grant Miller.

“We felt like we had a good core,” senior catcher Cole Benning said. “Our pitchers have taken some of the pressure off. I have tried to help them get more comfortable.”

Brody, who like McCready is a Hempfield transfer, pitched a four-hitter earlier in the season.

McCready also catches.

GCC used four pitchers in a nonsection loss to East Allegheny, even sending standout center fielder Wade Boyle to the mound.

The Centurions finished tied for second in Section 2-A with Bishop Canevin, the only team to sweep them.

After a 1-2 start, they reeled off six consecutive wins, including a head-turning 14-2 victory over West Greene, which was ranked No. 5 at the time.

“We started off slow, but our pitchers have gotten into a groove,” said David, who missed six months while he rehabbed. “The good thing is, we’re hitting the crap out of the ball. We’re a better team now than we were early on.”

David, a Rollins (Fla.) commit, began throwing last week and thinks he will be ready to pitch in the playoffs.

Kallock still is resting his arm.

They also had the same surgery.

“It’s called internal brace UCL surgery,” David said, “and it does the same thing as Tommy John but with less recovery time.”

The pair still swing the bat better than a lot of players in Class A. Kallock was batting .579 with 23 RBIs and 19 runs scored, while Kallock had a .444 average with 17 RBIs and 17 runs.

“Max wants to rip the ball in half,” Appleby said. “And he has exceptional speed.

“If I had nine Zachs, I’d take it every day. He works extremely hard. He was very mechanical during his rehab.”

Other players have moved around the diamond, as well. Assistant coach John David mentioned a second baseman going to third; a shortstop moving to right field; a center fielder going to short; and a left fielder playing second.

“Our defense has really tightened up, too,” Appleby said. “Every time we get down a few runs, they always bounce back. They never quit on themselves or each other.

Another good sign for the team: Junior John Tropeano came back from shoulder surgery and has returned to form at third base.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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