Westmoreland baseball notebook: Several teams head south to tune up for WPIAL season

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Thursday, March 23, 2023 | 4:51 PM


Fun in the sun sure beats cold temperatures when it comes to playing baseball.

Three local teams headed south to open the WPIAL season.

Belle Vernon held its “spring training” in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Leopards played two games at Baseball City, while also attending pro games between the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates, and another in Tampa as the Rays hosted the Toronto Blue Jays.

“A few takeaways (from the trip) would be the team chemistry we developed, as well as learning what our team depth is going to look like at all positions,” Belle Vernon coach Tony Watson said. “The bonding experience will be something these young men remember for the rest of their lives.”

Franklin Regional went 3-0 playing in Vero Beach, Fla., while Mt. Pleasant took to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to play three games as part of the Ripken Experience, an event that had its plug pulled in 2020 because of the covid pandemic.

Yough is playing games in South Carolina and Georgia.

‘Port authority

McKeesport held back Greensburg Central Catholic, 1-0, on Tuesday in a pitchers’ duel.

McKeesport is coached by Dennis Reist, who earned a victory against his former team.

Reist coached GCC for three seasons until, 2018 when he left to coach at South Allegheny.

A McKeesport native, Reist was 40-22 at GCC with a WPIAL runner-up and two PIAA semifinal appearances.

Ready for the ‘Cat walk

Opponents of Latrobe might have some uniform envy this spring.

Latrobe has some head-turning pinstriped uniforms that were shown off on social media.

The black uniforms have a color pop of orange stripes — two down the side and multiple stripes down the front and back of the jersey and pants — and are topped with an orange cap.

Picture day is one thing. The team can’t wait to wear the new threads for a game.

“They are our alternate jerseys, and we are waiting to wear them to our Ohio trip to break them out,” senior first baseman Logan Bradish said. “You will definitely see a lot of them this year.”

Bradish said coach Matt Basciano ordered the uniforms for the playoffs last year, but the Wildcats never wore them.

“Unfortunately, our season ended a little earlier than expected, and the place that made them got backed up,” Bradish said. “We can’t wait to wear them for the first time.”

Games to watch

Section play will open for some Class 5A, 3A, 2A and A sections next week. That means the return of two-game, home-and-home series on back-to-back days.

For instance, on Monday, Penn-Trafford hosts Fox Chapel in the Section 1-5A opener. The rematch is Tuesday at Fox Chapel.

In Section 3-2A, Greensburg Salem visits Ligonier Valley on Monday, then hosts the Rams on Tuesday.

Class 6A section games begin the following week.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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