Prep Baseball Report

2015 Season Preview: PIAA District VII (Class AAA)

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

Continuing to head west on the turnpike, we land back in the WPIAL for the fourteenth installment of our district preview articles, the main component of our season preview content, which is running for three weeks up to the first official competition date for PIAA schools on March 20. Each article includes a list of top prospects from amongst the cohort of schools, as well as write-ups of a number of teams in the cohort.

We have received inquiries regarding how we decide which teams to detail. A team having or not having its own paragraph in the article is less an indication of what type of season we expect it to have and more a function of how much information we are able to compile. For example, if we have not seen a team in person (there are over 600 baseball-playing high schools in the state), stats are not available on-line, and a school district spam filter gobbled up our e-mails to the coach that contained the questionnaire, we might not have enough information to write a full paragraph on that school.

To view all district previews as they are released, please visit our District Previews 2015 page.

Trent Vietmeier

PIAA District VII Class AAA Top Prospects

1. Trent Vietmeier, 2017, RHP, Montour
2. Zach Schultz, 2016, RHP, Indiana Area (Kent State)
3. Joseph Sibeto, 2016, C, Chartiers Valley
4. Dominic Peroni, 2016, 3B, Laurel Highlands
5. Joseph Gunn, 2016, OF, New Castle Area
6. Joe Campagna, 2015, IF, Blackhawk (Slippery Rock)
7. Ty Reginelli, 2015, IF, Mars Area (Wofford)
Dante Parente8. Billy Krull, 2015, C, Montour (Canisius)
9. Colin Claus, 2015, RHP, West Allegheny (Indiana of PA)
10. Dante Parente, 2015, 3B/RHP, Blackhawk (Clarion)
11. Tyler Amedure, 2015, IF/RHP, West Allegheny (Alderson Broaddus)
12. Alex Stobert, 2016, RHP/3B, Knoch
13. Adam Celidonia, 2016, C, Montour
14. Cole Shinsky, 2016, LHP, Knoch
15. Jonathan Pence, 2017, RHP, Blackhawk

Zach SchultzJoe CampagnaAlex StobertAdam CelidoniaJonathan Pence

Class AAA

Section 1
Mark EngelNo team in the state suffered a bigger loss to graduation than Blackhawk did when Brendan McKay took his two-way talents to the University of Louisville. It wasn't just McKay who departed, however, but six other line-up regulars and most of the pitching staff. Parente and all-section selection Campagna are the only returners to log significant playing time last year for the suddenly inexperienced Cougars. Pence and sophomore shortstop Mark Engel (right) will do their best to push coach Bob Amalia for playing time early in their career.

Dillon HorganLincoln (Ellwood City) will once again turn to senior Dillon Horgan (53 IP, 46 H, 42 BB, 55 K; left) and junior Austin Richard (33.2 IP, 49 H, 23 BB, 24 K) to lead its completely intact pitching staff, as the Wolverines reclassify up from AA Section 5. Coach Jeff Fotia will be searching for five new starters on offense to join leading holdovers in senior Jake Varrati (.322 AVG, .394 OBP, 6 BB vs 2 K), junior Colin Roth (.354 AVG, .392 OBP), and Richard (.275 AVG, .367 OBP).

Hopewell graduated two-thirds of its line-up and will rely on senior third baseman Christian Piroli (.288 AVG, .383 OBP), senior outfielder Zeph Kraus (.281 AVG), and junior shortstop Griffin Curry (.309 AVG) for its run-scoring. Coach Mike Shuleski's biggest challenge, however, might be coaxing better command out of his pitching staff, the returning members of which issued more walks than strikeouts last spring. Junior RHP Tim Sabo (15.1 IP, 11 H, 12 BB, 11 K) and Piroli (30 IP, 31 H, 15 BB, 17 K) are the leading candidates to log the most innings.

Other schools and returning all-section players
Ambridge Area - none
Beaver Area - none [reclassified from AA-Sec 5]
Central Valley - senior OF Christian Sepos
New Castle Area - none [reclassified from AAAA-Sec 1]

Section 2
Cole ShafferIndiana Area was dealt a tough blow prior to the spring, as pitcher Trent Ream, a Pitt-Johnstown commit, will miss extended time following labrum surgery. Still, rookie coach Larry Cadile believe he has enough depth to weather the storm, with Schultz, senior RHP Matt Griffith, and senior LHP Evan McAnulty, none of whom logged double-digit innings last spring. Five position players who saw significant playing time return, led by Schultz (.434 OBP, 14 BB vs 9 K), senior shortstop Kevin Jack (.326 AVG, .404 OBP), junior infielder Cole Shaffer (.327 AVG, .448 OBP; right), and senior outfielder Blake Shields (.333 AVG, .458 OBP). Sophomore RHP/Util Bobby Bell appears poised to make an impact early in his career.

Four of the six pitchers who logged double-digit innings last year return for Mount Pleasant Area, although the Vikings will likely need to see a collective improvement in their command (the quartet combined to walk more that they struck out) in order to make a strong playoff push this spring. Juniors Jake Adamrovich (.327 AVG) and Jeremy Paul (.328 AVG) are the only returning line-up regulars for coach Tom Hudzema, who will turn to junior Jared Kristoff, senior Nathan Pieszak, and sophomore Jason Beranek to replace some of the production lost to graduation.

Yough welcomes back four starters on offense -- junior outfielder Eric Borkovich, sophomore infielder Dom Charletta, senior infielder Ben Sabljak, and junior utility Nolan Kosh -- who will be joined in the line-up by junior first baseman Matt Huss and senior utility Hunter Mains. After graduating two of his top arms, coach Jeremy Zufall will turn to the junior trio of Kosh, Shane Fajt, and T.J. Lux to lead the Cougars pitching staff.

Other schools and returning all-section players
Derry Area - none
Greensburg Salem - none
Kittanning - none [realigned from Sec 5]
Southmoreland - junior IF Russ Ritenour [reclassified from AA-Sec 4]

Section 3
Billy KrullDespite graduating its top innings-eater, the Montour pitching staff is still in solid shape. Hard-throwing Vietmeier (12.1 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 18 K) could be in line for a larger role after racking up six saves as the closer his freshman year. Senior RHP Charlie Placek (26.1 IP, 12 H, 17 BB, 42 K) and junior RHP Chris Hanlon (30.2 IP, 30 H, 7 BB, 25 K) will also continue to see significant action as the Spartans realign from section 1. Krull (.303 AVG; right) and senior outfielder Todd Police (.380 AVG, .600 SLG) will power coach Glenn Vietmeier's offense.

The bulk of South Fayette's roster returns, led by Penn State Behrend-bound all-section infielder Justin Foreman. He will be joined as a primary run-producer in first-year coach Ken Morgan's line-up by senior outfielder Brian Coyne, sophomore outfielder Tristan Tinney, and senior first baseman Logan Sharp. Logging the bulk of the innings on the pitching staff will be LHP Tinney, RHP Foreman, and senior LHP Drake Bower, a St. Bonaventure commit.

Virtually the entire starting line-up is back for Trinity in coach Matthew McCartney's first season. Two all-section honorees -- junior infielder Evan McDaniel and senior outfielder Dom Neff -- will be joined by senior infielder Zach Cain, junior infielder Garret Briant, and junior catcher Blake Rohrbacher to power the Hillers offense. Sophomore LHP Kyle Kelly will provide balance on a pitching staff that also featuring RHPs Neff, Briant, and McDaniel.

Colin ClausSimply put, defending WPIAL champ West Allegheny remains loaded as it realigns from Section 1. All-section selection Claus (67.2 IP, 53 H, 19 BB, 81 K; right), Amedure (24.1 IP, 17 H, 10 BB, 25 K), and California of PA-bound RHP Tyler Eritz (24 IP, 22 H, 12 BB, 27 K) provide enviable mound depth for coach Bryan Cornell. Two all-section honorees -- shortstop Amedure (.284 AVG, .364 OBP, 7 BB vs 4 K, .448 SLG, 7 SB) and senior catcher Brandon Pouch (.311 AVG, .442 OBP, 12 BB vs 11 K) -- will team with senior outfielders Mike Cummings (.371 AVG, .500 SLG, 9 SB) and Nick Wiethorn (.343 AVG, .500 OBP, 12 BB vs 2 K) to lead an offense that remains largely intact.

Nicholas JenningsChartiers Valley welcomes back seven of nine line-up regulars, including two all-section honorees in Sibeto (.356 AVG, .513 OBP) and senior outfielder Tanner Garis (.418 AVG, .507 OBP, 16 SB). Also back off strong offensive seasons are senior Brady Gulakowski (.439 AVG, .506 OBP, 11 BB vs 10 K), senior Jake Ritson (.323 AVG, .417 OBP), and junior Eddie Flohr (.364 AVG, .408 OBP, 9 SB). The Colts graduated their top two starters, leaving room for seniors Nick Jennings (19.2 IP, 23 H, 9 BB, 21 K; right) and Nick Kane (13.1 IP, 16 H, 3 BB, 15 K) to assume larger roles.

Other schools and returning all-section players
McGuffey - none

Section 4
Dominic PeroniAs it realigns from section 2, Laurel Highlands will turn to three juniors -- fast-rising Peroni (.400 AVG, .441 OBP, 4 BB vs 3 K; right), catcher Zach Uhazie (.324 AVG, .381 OBP), and shortstop Troy Kiefer (.311 AVG, .380 OBP) to spark an offense that graduated two-thirds of its regulars. Uhazie (31.1 IP, 30 H,  9 BB, 34 K) is the only returning pitcher to log double-digit innings for coach Scott DeBerry, who will turn to senior RHP Dom Kumor, plus junior RHPs Luke Paull and Mitch Gauden for increased roles.

The script has flipped for Ringgold, which last year started six players with no previous varsity playing time, but now brings back a more experienced line-up. Junior third baseman Zack Byczynski (.351 AVG), senior catcher Conor Maciejewski (.313 AVG), as well as shortstop Alec Varley (.310 AVG) and outfielder Nick Fowkes (.333 AVG), both Thiel commits, are expected to be the primary run-producers. RHPs Fowkes, Byczynski, and closer Maciejewski will slot in behind freshman LHP Bo Haines on coach Mike Sikorski's pitching staff.

Following a solid debut season, sophomore OF/1B Adam Morris will team with senior shortstop Josh Coursey, senior outfielder Brad Collas, junior catcher Anthony Winkler, and junior outfielder C.J. Mattis as the primary run-producers for South Park. A balanced Eagles pitching staff will be fronted by RHPs Winkler and Collas, and senior LHP Brian Yost, while LHP Morris may force coach Steve Bucci to find innings for him as well.

Despite some significant attrition due to graduation, Uniontown Area will have a few veterans powering its offense in senior infielder Tyler Frazee, junior utility Colby Simmons, and senior C/1B Dan Sparrow. RHP Frazee will also front the pitching staff, with junior RHP Mark Fike and sophomore LHP Aaron Skinner also slated to log inning for coach Ken Musko, as his squad realigns from section 2.

Belle Vernon Area welcomes back junior Evan Hannan (.366 AVG, .525 OBP, 16 BB vs 8 K) to spark an offense that graduated four regular starters. Sophomores Tim LaBuda (.308 AVG, .419 OBP) and Jacob Callaway (.308 AVG, .419 OBP) could be in line for larger roles after performing well in limited opportunities as rookies. Senior Nolan Stulock (25 IP, 20 H, 6 BB, 27 K) is the only returning Leopards pitcher to log double-digit innings last spring.

Other schools and returning all-section players
Elizabeth Forward - none
Thomas Jefferson - none
West Mifflin Area - none

Section 5
In a clear case of adding insult to injury, Deer Lakes reclassifies up from AA section 3 immediately following the graduation of eleven players, including eight starters. Junior all-section LHP Ryan Petrone will team with sophomore RHP Zach Lubick to front coach Jon Pedrosky's pitching staff. Senior infielder Scotty Ventura (.456 AVG) will be the leader of a young offense that will also feature first baseman Lubick (.380 AVG), sophomore catcher Jake Spirnoch, and sophomore second baseman Shaun Logan.

Freeport Area welcomes back the bulk of its pitching staff, as it too reclassifies up from AA section 3. Seniors Matt VanTine (29.2 IP, 27 H, 16 BB, 25 K) and Ryan Eshenbaugh (14.1 IP, 16 H, 8 BB, 16 K) will team with junior all-section LHP Nathan Pastorek (27.2 IP, 26 H, 9 BB, 28 K) to once again soak up the bulk of the innings. Coach Chris Graczyk has some huge line-up holes to fill (all four graduates hit between .390 and .468 last spring), but can turn to junior third baseman Josh Beale (.395 AVG, .462 OBP), junior outfielder Kris Keppel (.476 AVG in limited at-bats), and junior catcher Frank Stefko (.275 AVG, .370 OBP) to keep the offense humming, while junior shortstop Justin Brestensky could be in-line for a breakout year.

Ty ReginelliTime to reload offensively for Mars Area, which is faced with all-section infielder Reginelli (.490 AVG, .587 OBP, 12 BB vs 8 K; right) as its only returning line-up regular. John Carroll-bound catcher Jake Swiatek (.444 AVG) is expected to move from a time share into a full-time role behind the plate. Coach Andy Bednar's pitching staff isn't quite as decimated with Pitt-Greensburg-bound RHP Cam Smith (42.1 IP, 28 H, 21 BB, 41 K) back to front the rotation. Senior LHP Zach Haines, senior RHP Matt Derouin, junior RHPs Zarek Simkovich and David Anderson, and junior LHP Luke Rouda will jockey for innings behind the Fightin' Planets ace.

Brandon OlszewskiOther schools and returning all-section players
Hampton - senior C Brandon Olszewski (right)
Highlands - none
Knoch - none
Valley - none

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