Westmoreland baseball opening day primer: Teams, players, games to watch

Thursday, March 24, 2022 | 9:38 PM

Friday is opening day for high school baseball in the WPIAL.

Here are some particulars to guide you into opening day — and a new season.

Teams to watch

Hempfield — The returning WPIAL Class 6A runner-up has some key players back and opens the season ranked No. 2.

Norwin — If the pitching can catch up to the offensive potential, the No. 3-ranked Knights could be dangerous in 6A.

Franklin Regional — The reigning WPIAL 5A champs lost a lot but bring back enough talent to make another postseason push. The Panthers start out ranked No. 2.

Penn-Trafford — The Warriors always seem to be in the mix, but can a potentially deep pitching staff develop quickly?

Ligonier Valley — The Rams are a better acclimated to life in the WPIAL and are ready to return to the 3A postseason.

Derry — After winning their first section title in 29 years, the Trojans are primed for a repeat, but there are vacancies to fill first.

Greensburg Central Catholic — Still reeling from a quarterfinal loss after a bye as the No. 2 seed, the Centurions open the year ranked No. 2 in Class A.

Players to watch

Aaron Alakson, Sr., INF, Mt. Pleasant

Vinny Amatucci, Sr., INF, Latrobe

Brandon Coughlin, Sr., OF, Hempfield

Zach David, Sr., P, Greensburg Central Catholic

Ryan Firmstone, Sr., INF, Hempfield

Anthony Govern, Sr., OF, Southmoreland

Jake Kendro, Sr., IF, Norwin

Matt Lichota, Sr., OF, Penn-Trafford

Hayden Sierocky, Jr., OF, Ligonier Valley

Caden Smith, Sr., OF, Franklin Regional

Andrew Sokol, Sr., INF, Belle Vernon

Ty Stecko, Sr., INF, Norwin

Hayden Teska, Sr., INF, Greensburg Salem

Jack Whalen, Sr., OF, Norwin

Openers to watch

Friday’s games

Burrell at Mt. Pleasant, 3:30 p.m.

Jeannette at Yough, 4

Leechburg at Derry, 4

Ligonier Valley at Greensburg Salem, 4

Penn-Trafford at Norwin, 4

Southmoreland at Monessen, 4

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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