Westmoreland H.S. baseball notebook: Derry not getting comfortable

Thursday, April 14, 2022 | 8:59 PM

His team bouncing into the TribLive HSSN rankings for the first time this season, Derry baseball coach John Flickinger is excited but far from content.

The last thing he wants is for the Trojans to get comfortable at the No. 4 spot in WPIAL Class 4A.

The Trojans moved to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in Section 3 with a two-game split against Mt. Pleasant.

“It’s so early in the season that we don’t relish in anything,” Flickinger said. “I remind them every day how each day, each game is different and that we have so much improving to do. Our section has so much parity that you can be on top and quickly sink if you take anyone for granted.

“When the regular season ends, you can look at the standings and see whether those improvements paid off.”

Last spring, Derry won its first section title since 1992 and won its first playoff game since 2005.

A healthy Ryan Hood has given the team a cornerstone around which to rally. Hood, a senior pitcher, is healthy again after an injury a few years ago.

“His presence on the mound gives the team a sense of confidence knowing their ace is out there,” Flickinger said, “and if we do the little things behind him, we will always be in the game.”

Flickinger said leadership from upperclassmen has been a key.

“We lost a solid group of seniors from last year’s team, but we had some returning lettermen that needed to step up,” he said. “So far, they have. They have taken our younger talented players and are helping them get accustomed to the varsity level. It’s been fun to watch the chemistry build.”

Hood was 2-0 with a 0.93 ERA, 31 strikeouts and three walks, and he also was batting .533 with seven RBIs.

Senior Nick Thomas had a .538 average with three doubles and seven RBIs, junior Antonio Hauser was hitting .500 with six runs and sophomore Roman Fridley had a .462 average and six RBIs.

“This group has fed off of what last year’s group accomplished,” Flickinger said. “That’s program building. This group wants to keep it going and have another chance at a postseason run, but they realize there is a lot of baseball to be played in a short period of time and nothing is handed to you.”

Ranking ’em

Norwin is back in the TribLive HSSN Class 6A rankings.

The Knights, who were 3-2 overall and 2-0 in section, defeated Central Catholic, 8-0, and Baldwin, 17-14 and 8-2, before inclement weather hindered the schedule.

The Knights went from unranked to occupying the No. 4 spot.

Derry also vaulted into the top five, taking the No. 4 spot in Class 4A.

Franklin Regional was No. 5 in Class 5A, but the Panthers dropped a pair of Section 1 games this week to Latrobe.

Greensburg Central Catholic fell from No. 2 to 5 in Class A.

Happy returns

Penn-Trafford and Gateway had to suspend play Monday when rain plagued their Section 1-5A game.

The game was scoreless.

When the teams returned Tuesday to drier conditions, the offense came in waves.

Gateway erupted for five runs in the sixth inning on the way to a 6-3 victory.

Going to extremes

Jeannette has been feast or famine so far. The Jayhawks lost 16-5 to Yough and 10-0 to Shady Side Academy. But they took care of Sto-Rox, 19-1, as Gavin Holemeyer tossed a three-inning no-hitter.

The Jayhawks followed with a 17-0 win over Sto-Rox as Holemeyer drove in five more, and Michael Mason contributed to another no-hit effort from the mound.

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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