Westmoreland baseball, softball teams crank up use of walk-up music

Friday, April 28, 2023 | 7:14 PM

If he strikes out or has a rough inning pitching, Ryan Orosz can reset quickly with the press of a button.

When the announcer calls out his name for his next at-bat and hits play to start his walk-up song, the good times can begin again.

“Whenever I hear my song playing, it gives me confidence, no matter how I’m doing that game,” said Orosz, a senior at Norwin.

Walk-up, or introduction, music has become more popular around the WPIAL. The pros do it. So do a lot of colleges. So why not high schools?

A number of baseball and softball teams from Westmoreland County use intro tunes to crank up the volume on the in-game experience for players and fans, making at-bats feel like they’re happening in a big-league park.

The batter gets lost in the moment as the speakers blare for a few seconds.

Announcers have playlists ready that were created by the teams. Each one is personal.

“It helps me relax and not be all jittery when I step into the box,” Franklin Regional standout softball sophomore Toryn Fulton said. “I think it helps players get more hyped up and involved into the game and adds extra noise.”

Orosz’s go-to jam is “In da Club” by 50 Cent.

“I picked it because everyone knows it, and it has a good mix between lyrics and beats,” Orosz said.

First-year Norwin coach Craig Spisak did not want to make mass changes to in-game entertainment when he took over the program. Walking back the walk-up music was not on his priority list.

“It was a tradition at Norwin before I arrived here, and I don’t mind it,” Spisak said. “High School players see (MLB and college) and want to follow their lead. As long as the music is appropriate, I don’t mind continuing it.”

While many county schools play music between innings, walk-up songs are slowly catching on. They also are played at Mt. Pleasant and Franklin Regional softball games and at Yough baseball games.

The music ranges from thumping rap beats, to twangy country, to deep-cut classic rock; Eminem, to Johnny Cash and Chris Stapleton, to Michael Buble.

Mt. Pleasant senior pitcher Sophia Smithnosky said the music gets her in the right frame of mind to hit. Her song is “Feeling Good” by Buble.

“I chose it because, to pump me up I don’t necessarily listen to words but rather feel the beat of the song,” she said. “This song has always just made me feel good about myself, and that’s exactly what you need during an at-bat. Throughout the song, it kind of builds up then the beat drops, which I feel is similar to the anticipation of the pitch being thrown and then hitting it hard.”

Yough senior Jack Sampson rolls with “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” by Kanye West. It is his favorite song.

“I’ve been listening to it for a while, and it gets me locked in before every at-bat,” said Sampson, a Washington & Jefferson commit. “I’m also very superstitious, and I feel like since I’ve picked it, it’s been getting the job done for me.”

Norwin softball is working to get its sound system up and running again to resume playing walk-ups.

Junior shortstop and leadoff hitter Bailey Snowberger has her song locked and loaded for when that time comes.

“Without Me” by Eminem will greet her at the plate. Snowberger also used that song last year.

“From about 18 seconds in, to the 3-second mark,” Snowberger said. “It’s just a good beat, and my friend and I thought it was a super good song to go with my sophomore year coming back from my freshman year.

“It really gets me locked in, and reminds me to be gritty at the plate and try and be the toughest out I can be, so when i come back up, ‘Guess who’s back …’ ”.

Snowberger said the song also fits Norwin’s return to the WPIAL title conversation.

At Franklin Regional, Fulton, who has seven home runs this season, begins to groove her swing when “Superhero,” by Metro Boomin, Future and Chris Brown, comes on.

“I think it has a good rhythm to it, and it gets me hyped up and confident for my at-bat,” she said.

Panthers coach Jim Armstrong, a fan of classic rock, said he offered some advice on a few ‘60s and ‘70s hits but was turned away.

“If it’s me, I’m going with some Lynyrd Skynyrd, maybe some Deep Purple or Motorhead,” he said. “I told them, but they don’t want to listen to an old man.

“I tell them, take your time getting to the plate so the song can play. It’s such a short walk from the dugout to the plate.”

Franklin Regional’s batting music instead features “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles for Sydney Jackson, Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” for Lexie Patberg and “SexyBack” by Justin Timberlake for Tait Ramchandran.

“Tait’s is an odd one,” Fulton said, “but it gives everyone a good laugh.”

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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