Young, talented Riverview baseball team ready to compete in Class A
Saturday, March 20, 2021 | 10:01 AM
Bill Gras has high hopes this spring for his Riverview baseball team, a group he said which is high on both youthfulness and talent.
The Raiders have settled into their move down to Class A, and Gras said his players are anxious to put their abilities to the test in Section 3 against Eden Christian, Leechburg, St. Joseph, Sewickley Academy and Springdale.
“We’ve always played the teams like St. Joe’s and Leechburg, and we’ve fared fairly well against them,” said Gras, who begins his fourth year at the helm of the Raiders.
“We’ve been competitive. Sewickley Academy and Eden Christian could be the elite teams. It should be an interesting (section) season.”
Last spring, the Raiders had their eyes focused on improving from a 5-10 overall mark and a 4-10 record in section play in 2019. But covid scuttled those plans as the PIAA suspended and then ultimately canceled the 2020 spring sports season.
Gras also coaches a Riverview Junior Legion team, and a number of the players on the high school squad came together for a series of games last summer when the covid restrictions were eased to allow game competition.
“We had several younger players who are pretty decent, and they needed to get some experience at the high school level,” Gras said. “We had a junior varsity program set up with about 10 games for those guys, but they didn’t get to play. But several of them played for me over the summer. It wasn’t quite to the JV level, but it was close to it. They got to play 16 games or so, and we made it to the playoff semifinals. I was really pleased with what they were able to do, and it’s been very beneficial for their development as they get going early this season.”
Gras said the potential is there to have a strong pitching staff; the group is led by junior Vince Shook and sophomores Enzo Lio and John Patsey.
“Those three, the way the schedule is with back-to-back section games against the same team, I think we have the ability to throw two No. 1s against them,” Gras said.
“All three are really good pitchers with strong arms.”
Catching the pitching staff is junior Taylor Rhodes-Zellefrow.
“Taylor was on the Junior Legion team last summer, and he got a lot of work with those pitchers,” Gras said. “He did a very nice job with them. I was very happy. He’s a big strength with this team.”
When Patsey is not pitching, he will anchor the outfield in center.
Junior Ty Loughlin and sophomore Luke Migely are expected to man the middle infield. Gras said both also will pitch.
Senior Ryan Aber will get time at shortstop, Gras said. Aber had returned to top health last spring after missing half of his freshman season because of a broken ankle.
First base, Gras said, will be a platoon of Lio and sophomore Cam Shane, while senior Dom Scassera and junior Jonathan Meising are getting opportunities to man the third-base bag.
Gras said Riverview could have one of the faster outfields in the area by putting Migely and Scassera out there with Patsey.
Riverview is scheduled to kick off its season March 31 at Shady Side Academy. Section play begins April 6 and 7 with a home-and-home series with St. Joseph.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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