2015 Season Preview: PIAA District VI
March 1, 2015
By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting
Today marks the fourth installment of our season preview content, which will run for three weeks up to the first official competition date for PIAA schools on March 20. To view all district previews as they are released, please visit our District Previews 2015 page.
PIAA District VI Top Prospects
1. Chad Luensmann, 2015, RHP, Bellwood-Antis (Nebraska)
2. Isaiah Kearns, 2016 RHP/IF, Mifflin County (West Virginia)
3. Peyton Reesman, 2016, LHP, Mifflin County (Pitt)
4. Bailey Ishler, 2016, RHP, State College (Air Force)
5. Brandon Raquet, 2016, OF, State College (William & Mary)
6. Caleb Walls, 2015, OF, State College (George Mason)
7. Trevon Walker, 2015, RHP/OF, Mount Union Area
8. Kyle Peterson, 2015, RHP, State College (Millersville)
9. Zach Skrtich, 2015, RHP/3B, Central Mountain (George Mason)
10. Zack Helsel, 2015, RHP, Altoona Area (Liberty)
11. Bryce Hensor, 2017, IF, Juniata Valley
12. Mike Mock, 2015, RHP, Central (Millersville)
13. Alex Garbrick, 2016, RHP, Central Mountain
14. Will Lozinak, 2017, RHP/IF, Bishop Guilfoyle
15. Chris Adams, 2016, IF, State College
Portage Area returns its top two pitchers in the all-WestPAC right-handed duo of senior Mike Bryja (31 IP, 34 H, 11 BB, 34 K) and junior Luke Dividock (36 IP, 29 H, 3 BB, 33 K), as the Mustangs look to solidify their place among the district elite. Senior catcher Brandon Vocco (.367 AVG, .446 OBP) is an anchor for the pitching staff and coach Larry McCabe's offense. Bryja (.492 AVG, .565 OBP) and Dividock (.452 AVG, .570 OBP) will help provide their own run support, while senior DH/1B Brad Rosemas (.351 AVG, .684 SLG) brings some thump to the line-up. Keep an eye on sophomore infielder Jake Swank (right), who hit .300 with a .452 OBP as a full-time starter his rookie season.
As it reclassifies down from AA, Blairsville returns a large chunk of its roster. Senior catcher Scott Thompson (.400 AVG, .548 OBP, 16 BB vs 4 K, .600 SLG; right), senior Heritage Conference all-star infielder Cameron Livingston (.404 AVG, .493 OBP, 9 BB vs 3 K, 10 SB), and sophomore infielder Ricky Shirley (.413 AVG, .556 OBP, 15 BB vs 11 K) lead an offense that graduated only two regulars. Sophomore Ryan Shirley (43 IP, 50 H, 11 BB, 28 K) returns as the staff ace and will team with Joshua Daugherty (20 IP, 33 H, 15 BB, 15 K) atop the Bobcats rotation.
Seniors Brandon Martinazzi (.429 AVG, .517 OBP, 9 BB vs 3 K) and Scott Lucas (.340 AVG, .467 OBP, 12 BB vs 5 K, 11 SB) return to lead a Bishop Carroll Catholic offense that also got double-digit stolen bases from junior Raymond Watt (13) and senior Dane Woo (11). With more than half of the team's innings to replace, Watt (24.2 IP 31 H, 20 BB, 29 K) and Lucas (11.2 IP, 14 H, 15 BB, 10 K) will look to increase their roles from last spring..
A quintet of juniors will join senior outfielder Joe Olish (.463 AVG, .556 OBP, .791 SLG, 19 SB) in an experienced Northern Cambria line-up, as the Colts look to defend their Heritage Conference crown. Despite graduating his top arm, coach John Bonatesta will be able to call upon four returning pitchers who posted double-digit innings last spring, including Olish (16.1 IP, 7 H, 10 BB, 25 K) and junior RHP Scott Serafin (23.2 IP, 33 H, 14 BB, 18 K), as the team drops down from class AA.
Juniata Valley returns a solid core of five starters, led by Hensor (.494 AVG, .523 OBP, 7 BB vs 4 K, .675 SLG, 20 SB), plus senior infielders Konner Barton (.375 AVG, .471 OBP) and La Roche-bound Kordell Collins (.356 AVG, .410 OBP, 18 SB; right). Barton (47 IP, 26 H, 15 BB, 68 K) is the lone returning member of the Hornets starting rotation, while senior Zach Beam (19 IP, 12 H, 9 BB, 17 K) was the primary bullpen arm last season.
A trio of juniors -- Cody Gill (.356 AVG, .508 OBP, 13 BB vs 10K), Hunter Bizjak (.310 AVG, .459 OBP, 8 BB vs 2 K), and Jake McMonagle (.412 AVG) -- are the leading returning hitters for Conemaugh Valley, which must replace six of its top bats from last season. The Blue Jay are also down their mound ace, with junior Jacob Kitner (24.1 IP, 24 H, 14 BB, 20 K) the only returner who logged more than eleven innings last spring.
Homer-Center brings back an experienced pitching staff in the trio of junior LHP Stephen Novak (44.1 IP, 42 H, 19 BB, 35 K), junior RHP Alex Arone (32.2 IP, 27 H, 19 BB, 29 K), and senior LHP Stephen McLoughlin (24.1 IP, 29 H, 13 BB, 20 K). Untested players like sophomore shortstop Matt Alexander, who got his feet wet on varsity as a freshman, will be needed to step up and replace the lost offensive production of six graduated line-up regulars. Senior second baseman Ean Lee (.395 AVG, .481 OBP, 16 SB) is the only one of coach Scott Bauer's returners to hit over .225 last year.
Saltsburg lost five position player starters and its 1-2 punch atop the rotation to graduation. Junior outfielder/catcher Tanner Yard is the lone returning position player (.326 AVG, .507 OBP, 8 BB vs 3 K, 21 SB) to hit better than .227, while also being the only pitcher (14 IP, 12 H, 7 BB, 8 K) who logged more than four innings last year.
Penns Manor Area welcomes back a quintet of juniors who toed the rubber last spring, led by Heritage Conference all-star Gavin Grimaldi (53.1 IP, 66 H, 27 BB, 45 K) and Clayton Stupic (21 IP, 25 H, 26 BB, 16 K). Following the graduation of four line-up regulars, primary run-production will fall on the shoulders of shortstop Grimaldi (.377 AVG) and junior first baseman Zach Hnatko (.350 AVG, .447 OBP).
Following a down season in which it lost eight one-run games, virtually the entire roster returns for Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic, as it looks to push its way back into contention for an LHAC title. 2014 all-LHAC performer Derek Cursio (34 IP, 24 H, 29 BB, 47 K), an Indiana of PA commit, and Lozinak (28 IP, 25 H, 10 BB, 35 K) will once again front the Marauder pitching staff. They also will be joined in powering coach Mel Kepner's line-up by senior utility Matt Gormley and toolsy sophomore outfielder Frankie Montecalvo (right).
After playing last season with zero seniors recording a single at-bat or inning pitched, Blacklick Valley returns an experienced club, led by two senior all-WestPAC selections: Luke Galko (.339 AVG, .500 SLG) and Nick O'Toole (.367 AVG, .558 OBP, 8 BB vs 7 K). The Vikings pitching staff will once again be fronted by junior Dakoda Sheesley (32 IP, 38 H, 24 BB, 39 K) and senior Cory Villa (28 IP, 48 H, 17 BB, 28 K).
Claysburg-Kimmel brings back five line-up regulars, led by senior Kory Moses (.292 AVG) and sophomore Dakota Chamberlain (.320 AVG), who were the only ones among the group to hit better than .222 last year. Chamberlain (18.2 IP, 29 H, 7 BB, 7 K) looks to build off his freshman experience and should join junior Lucas Eberhart (31 IP, 32 H, 11 BB, 37 K) atop the Bulldogs rotation.
Ferndale Area employed a pitching staff in the truest sense of the word last year, and it now returns six arms (two seniors, two juniors, and two sophomores) who logged between 10.1 and 20.2 innings. The starting line-up returns seven regulars of its own, led by junior Trey McGough (.342 AVG, .479 OBP, 9 BB vs 5 K), senior Taylor Kinsey (.396 AVG, .483 OBP, 8 BB vs 6 K, 10 SB), and junior Luc Kulback (.356 AVG, .442 OBP).
Class AA (forms sub-region with District V)
The train just keeps on rolling for Central, which ran the table in 2014 until being felled by repeat state champion Loyalsock Township in the AA state title game. First-team Mountain League all-star Mock (69 IP, 36 H, 38 BB, 86 K) is the ace of a Dragons staff that will look to a group of inexperienced sophomores and juniors, including RHP Joe McKnight (6.1 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 10 K) to fill vital roles. Coach A.J. Hoenstine welcomes back four line-up regulars who hit over .400 last spring: 2nd-team third baseman Mock (.427 AVG, 16 XBH), McKnight (.500 AVG, .646 OBP, 14 BB vs 4 K), 1st-team second baseman Nick Hoenstine (.467 AVG, .611 OBP, 23 BB vs 6 K, 14 SB), and 1st-team first baseman Jay Stern (.423 AVG, .535 OBP, 16 BB vs 7 K). Outfielder Chase Smith (right) and IF/RHP Alex Hoenstine will push to make an impact early in their sophomore year.
Bald Eagle Area lost two-thirds of its starting line-up to graduation, leaving junior Ryan Guenot (.301 AVG), plus seniors Brandon Gettig (.352 AVG, .527 OBP, 16 BB vs 8 K) and Jason Jones (.292 AVG) as the only experienced bats. Senior Colton Comly (49 IP, 69 H, 22 BB, 34 K) is the top returning innings-eater for the Bald Eagles, while Guenot will look to increase his usage as the only other returning hurler to log double-digit innings last spring.
With draft prospect Luensmann (57.2 IP, 30 H, 13 BB, 60 K) back to lead the staff, Bellwood-Antis could be dangerous this spring, if the Blue Devils can find someone from among junior LHP Corey Parson, senior RHP Randy Zitterbart, and sophomore RHP Jordan McCracken to consistently throw strikes behind their high-profile ace. Senior Trenton Creppage (right) is a stalwart behind the plate and at the dish (.458 AVG, 15 XBH) for coach Steve Conlon, who returns six members of his batting order, including Luensmann (.385 AVG, .518 OBP, 19 BB vs 10 K). Outfielders Sawyer Kline and McCracken saw valuable time as rookies and look to make an even bigger impact as experienced sophomores.
Richland will be breaking in an almost entirely new pitching staff after losing 80% of its innings to graduation. Strike-throwing junior Jacob Buchanan (18.2 IP 21 H, 8 BB, 24 K) is the lone holdover to log more than three innings last spring. The line-up saw its own attrition as well, with three players who hit over .400 last season no longer in uniform for the Rams. Junior Andrew Frear (.333 AVG, .449 OBP, 10 BB vs 6 K) and Marist-bound shortstop Jack Shirk (.607 AVG, .676 OBP, 9 BB vs 1 K, 11 XBH; right) are the catalysts at the top of the line-up.
In order to extend its four-year run of reaching the state tournament, Bishop McCort is going to have to overcome not only having just one senior on the roster (only one player with significant at-bats returns), but also moving up from class A to AA. Senior OF Nick Gjurich (.394 AVG, .474 OBP, 10 SB) will be expected to ignite a revamped Crushers offense, that also hopes to get big seasons from juniors Blake Wade and Logan Wade. Coach Chris Pfeil has four returning pitchers (who combined to throw only 18.1 innings last spring), led by junior RHPs Billy Wilson and Nick Beblar. Athletic sophomore RHP/Util Boston Bradley should have an opportunity to make an impact on the mound and with the bat.
Senior Storm Vaughn (46.2 IP, 49 H, 28 BB, 47 K) returns to front an otherwise inexperienced Southern Huntingdon County pitching staff that will search for some consistency behind him (the other returning members combined to walk more than they struck out last spring). An offense that graduated three regulars welcomes back its leading hitter in senior Brandon Beam (.489 AVG, .571 OBP, 9 BB vs 4 K), top power threat in senior Josh Welch (.390 AVG, .478 OBP, 11 XBH) and best base stealer in senior Quinton Whitsel (.333 AVG, .443 OBP, 11 SB).
Senior RHP/OFs Josh Serafin (35.2 IP, 33 H, 26 BB, 49 K) and live-armed Eric Ford (19.1 IP, 20 H, 25 BB, 26 K; right) return to anchor the Cambria Heights pitching rotation. Coach Adam Sowers will also call on junior LHP Jimmy Bassett and senior RHP Eddie Link to increase their role on the staff. Serafin will set the table with his approach at the plate (.474 OBP, 11 BB vs 3 K) for a Highlanders line-up that is generally short on experience.
Penns Valley Area has a lot of innings and at-bats up for grabs after graduating two-thirds of its line-up and starting rotation. Senior L.J. Johnson (26.1 IP, 32 H, 19 BB, 12 K) is the lone returning member of the pitching staff to log more than eight innings last season, while senior 2nd-team Mountain League all-star Wyatt Sharp (.386 AVG, .444 OBP, 6 BB vs 4 K) is the catalyst of the offense.
Junior LHAC all-star Will Seymour (right) leads the way for Central Cambria with his arm (29.2 IP, 21 H, 16 BB, 55 K) and his bat (.333 AVG, .436 OBP, .515 SLG). Based on his pitching (11.2 IP, 19 H, 3 BB, 12 K) and offensive (.296 AVG, .424 OBP) performance as a rookie, sophomore Jacob Rupp could be positioning himself as Seymour's heir apparent. Senior Tom Howell (.262 AVG, .428 SLG) also returns after leading the Red Devils in extra base hits last spring.
Penn Cambria welcomes back all but one contributor from last season. Senior all-LHAC honoree Zane Itle (47 IP, 47 H, 16 BB, 40 K) fronts a Panthers pitching staff that got a solid performance from sophomore Gavin Martynuska (23.2 IP, 30 H, 9 BB, 18 K) as a rookie. Senior Jake Hurley (.395 AVG, .490 OBP), Martynuska (.292 AVG, .453 OBP), his twin brother Garrett (.292 AVG, .377 OBP), and senior Mark Mardula (13 SB) make the offense go.
Following only its second losing season in the past 25 years, Philipsburg-Osceola looks to right the ship this spring. Strike-throwing was an issue for coach Doug Sankey's staff last year, but the hopes are that sophomore RHP Logan Williamson and the return of junior LHP Isaac Knepp from a 2014 injury will aid the cause. Williamson, who doubles as the Mountaineer shortstop, had a stellar rookie campaign with the bat (.420 AVG, .559 OBP, 15 BB vs 7 K, .740 SLG), while junior catcher Derek Shaw showed excellent on-base skills as well (.472 OBP).
Junior RHP/SS Kohl Henry, a returning all-conference selection, will team with his battery-mate, sophomore Michael Roper, to help Westmont-Hilltop push its way up the LHAC standings.
Class AAA (forms sub-region with District V)
Bellefonte Area will field an experienced, senior-heavy offense with all but three starters returning, led by first baseman Taylor Butts, catcher Trent Fortney, and outfielder Jonny Glunt. Junior RHP Dom Masullo is in position to take over the role of ace for coach Jeremy Rellinger, with RHP Butts, junior LHP Kyler Mellott, and sophomore LHP Logan Mathieu also slated to log innings.
Seven starters return for Greater Johnstown, with only one senior among them, however. A trio of juniors -- catcher/shortstop Jeremy Updyke, catcher/infielder LesPaul Buchko, and utilityman Connor Kobal -- will team with sophomore infielder Isaiah Keller and sophomore utilityman Tyler Fraska to power the Trojans offense. Coach Kerry Pfeil will turn to a quartet of RHP to log innings, including Keller, senior Nate Litvin, Buchko, and sophomore Ray Ray Johnson.
Following its first winning season in a decade, coach George Zanic has the Huntingdon Area program on the upswing. The Bearcats pitching staff will be fronted by senior 1st-team Mountain League all-star RHP Hunter Price, with senior RHP Nate Gearhart and junior RHPs Jon Wagner and Dan Kyper behind him. Wagner, the team's shortstop, and Price, who was also a 2nd-team all-star at catcher, will spark the offense.
Class AAAA (forms sub-region with Districts VIII, IX & X)
Senior RHPs Trentin Martin (38.1 IP, 36 H, 15 BB, 34 K; right), Pitt-Johnstown commit Ben Foose (35.1 IP, 38 H, 17 BB, 24 K), and closer Helsel (11 IP, 4 H, 8 BB, 14 K) form the backbone of a strong Altoona Area pitching staff. In order to compete in the Central Penn League and the PIAA sub-regional, an offense that hit a combined .253 last year will need to take a step forward. Coach Tom Smith will look to senior shortstop John McGinley (.350 AVG, .451 OBP, .550 SLG) and junior catcher (no, really) Catcher Cumming (.303 AVG, .484 SLG) to lead the charge.
Central Mountain will feature a veteran team as it transitions to its first year in the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference (with predominantly schools from District IV). The Wildcats return their top four pitchers, led by Skrtich (19.2 IP, 10 H, 17 BB, 32 K) and Indiana of PA commit Caleb Seyler (36 IP, 34 H, 11 BB, 31 K). Coach Michael Kramer's deep line-up returns seven starters, including hard-nosed Pitt-Johnstown-bound infielder Dylan Kerstetter (.339 AVG, .397 OBP) and physical Skrtich (.362 AVG, .492 OBP), plus two other senior power threats in Penn State DuBois-bound Clayton Butler (.464 AVG, .589 SLG) and Kenny Heverly (.319 AVG, .510 SLG).
Mifflin County doesn't return much, but what it does return is pretty darn talented. Quick-twitch athlete Kearns (.426 AVG, .508 OBP, 10 BB vs 6 K, .703 SLG) is the only remaining position player who received regular playing time. Senior infielder Max Remy (.360 AVG, .543 OBP, 9 BB vs 5 K) and senior outfielder Hunter Walker (.300 AVG) were part-time players last year who likely will need to step into full-time roles this spring. It is on the mound, however, where the Huskies could be really dangerous. If Kearns (25.2 IP, 23 H, 21 BB, 20 K) can harness his electric arm, and and Reesman (30.2 IP, 15 H, 29 BB, 53 K; right) can sharpen his command as well, they could go toe-to-toe with any pitching combo in the state.
Ishler (40 IP, 29 H, 23 BB, 26 K) and Peterson (37 IP, 26 H, 4 BB, 24 K; right) give State College its own formidable starting duo. A couple of athletic, left-handed hitting outfielders in Walls (.393 AVG, .452 OBP) and Raquet (.340 AVG, .435 OBP, 12 SB) return to lead a line-up that lost five starters to graduation, while Adams should provide solid defense and his usual good eye (8 BB vs 5 K) at the plate.
Season Preview Schedule:
2/27 - PAISAA
2/27 - District V
2/28 - District IX
3/1 - District VI
3/2 - District IV
3/3 - District X
3/4 - District III (Class A & AA)
3/5 - District VII (Class A)
3/6 - District VII (Class AA)
3/7 - District II
3/8 - District XI
3/9 - District I (Class A, AA, AAA)
3/10 - District III (Class AAA)
3/11 - District VII (Class AAA)
3/12 - District I (Class AAAA)
3/13 - District III (Class AAAA)
3/14 - District VII (Class AAAA)
3/15 - District XII