Prep Baseball Report

2015 Season Preview: PIAA District X

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

With today's notes on District X, we are now one-third of the way through our district preview articles, the main component 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 X Top Prospects

Casey Vincent1. Zach Guth, 2015, LHP, Franklin Area (Maryland)
2. Carter Cross, 2016, RHP/OF, Cathedral Prep (Nebraska)
3. Casey Vincent (top right), 2016, RHP, Eisenhower
4. Greg Popatak, 2015, 1B, Sharpsville Area (George Mason)
5. Scott Sada, 2015, RHP, Saegertown
6. Logan Snyder, 2015, C, Lakeview
7. Austin Braendel, 2016, C, Cathedral Prep
8. Charlie Fessler, 2015, OF, Cathedral Prep (Northwestern football)
Jake Sniegocki9. Tanner Stanz, 2015, RHP, Warren Area
10. Levi Wright, 2015, LHP/OF, McDowell (Tennessee Tech)
11. Jake Sniegocki (bottom right), 2016, OF/RHP, McDowell
12. Joe Desko, 2015, IF, Franklin Area
13. Tyler Wansack, 2015, OF, Sharpsville Area
14. Chris Vallimont, 2015, RHP, Mercyhurst Prep
15. Steven Kokoski, 2017, C, Lakeview

Class A

Region 1
This region appears to be Rocky Grove's to win, as it has more returning all-region players than the other four schools combined, including the only returning all-star hurlers. Senior 1st-team RHP Adam Kirwin is joined by a quintet of 2nd-team honorees: sophomore first baseman Marcus Swartzfager, sophomore third baseman Dylan Rodemoyer, sophomore OF/RHP Brady Wilson, senior outfielder Shyler Gill, and junior RHP/IF Nate White. Coach Bill Wilson will also be able to plug senior on-base machines Cale Updegrave (.447 AVG, .538 OBP) and Garrett Gannoe (.475 OBP) into his line-up, while possibly getting production from freshman RHP/IF Travis Perry as well.

Other schools and returning all-region selections
Mercer Area [Region 2 last year] - none
West Middlesex [Region 2 last year] - junior 1st-team DH Phil Fusco, senior 1st-team Util Trey Staunch
Jamestown Area - none
Kennedy Catholic - senior 1st-team 1B Hunter Grande

Region 4
As with Rocky Grove in Region 1, Union City Area returns more all-region players than the other four schools put together. Coach Frank Cutshall's pitching staff will be led by the senior right-handed duo of 1st-team selection Schuyler Hopson and 2nd-team honoree Lucas Dougherty. Primary run-production will fall to Dougherty, a pair of senior 1st-teamers in third baseman Quentin Maynard and designated hitter Mason Elias, plus the 2nd-team outfield duo of junior Clay Webster and senior Brody Mangel.

Jake YarnellSenior outfielder Jake Yarnell (.312 AVG, .377 OBP; right) and junior catcher Tristyn Mattern (.353 AVG, .410 OBP) are the top returning hitters for Cochranton (which now co-ops with Commodore Perry). The Cardinals also hope to get additional production from two sophomores who saw significant action as freshmen: outfielder Logan Shreve and infielder Peter Jamieson. Coach John Svirbly will look to coax improved command out a pitching staff that allowed more walks than strikeouts last spring.

Iroquois will turn to a quartet of RHP for the bulk of its innings: seniors Dylan Carpin (who was also an all-region selection as an outfielder) and Ryan Edinger, and juniors Chris Pearson and Lance Bush. First-year coach Byron Moon will also be able to write senior shortstop Ryan Major, junior outfielder Zach Britton, and sophomore catcher Zach Laniewicz into his line-up.

Other schools and returning all-region selections
Eisenhower - 1st-team pitcher and region Player of the Year Vincent 
Youngsville - senior 1st-team OF Bryce Sherard, senior 2nd-team Util/P Aaron Hoover

Class AA

Region 2
Steven KokoskiLakeview returns four 1st-team Region 1 all-stars as they make the move up from class A and into a new region. Snyder (.477 AVG, .574 OBP, .773 SLG, 12 SB) has won back-to-back region Player of the Year honors. Other Sailors 1st-team position players include Kokoski (.409 AVG, 5 HR; right), senior outfielder Jared Coulter (.381 AVG, .435 OBP) and senior DH Derek Slater (.300 AVG, .540 SLG). RHP Slater (25 IP, 19 H, 10 BB, 23 K) will front coach Bill Beith's pitching staff, while Kokoski and junior RHP Kyle McCartney should see their roles increase. Junior 2B/RHP Jake Doddo is expected to contribute as a two-way player as well.

Sharon will field an experienced, yet still fairly young, line-up. The Tigers top returning hitters include junior infielder Andrew Tomko (.453 AVG, .592 OBP, 12 BB vs 5 K), junior OF/C Jonathan Williams (.364 AVG, .481 OBP, .545 SLG), sophomore infielder Dante Dellibovi (.355 AVG, .447 OBP), senior infielder Matt Wallace (.341 AVG, .481 OBP), and junior utility Noah Nichols (.320 AVG, 9 SB). RHP Tomko (24.1 IP, 48 H, 7 BB, 14 K) and senior RHP Joe Rahn (24.2 IP, 42 H, 15 BB, 17 K) are the only staff members to have logged double digits innings for coach Mike Tomko last spring.

Hickory welcomes back two senior all-region outfielders in 1st-teamer Jake Andrzejewski (.408 AVG, .508 OBP) and 2nd-teamer Patrick Moldovan (.391 AVG, .434 OBP), in addition to junior catcher Tyler Cannon (.340 AVG, .467 OBP, 9 BB vs 4 K). Coach Gary Hinkson hopes he can coax more strike-throwing out of a returning group of pitchers, including Moldovan and Cannon, that walked more than they struck out last season. Sophomore IF/RHP Joey Gasior will look to make an impact as a two-way player for the Hornets.

Nick FuchsDespite graduating only three line-up regulars, Reynolds will field another young team team this spring. Point Park-bound RHP Nick Fuchs (32.2 IP, 40 H, 20 BB, 22 K; right) returns to front a Raiders pitching staff that will look for increased contributions from sophomore RHP Grey DiCiancio, junior RHP Dustin Reimold, and junior LHP Brandon Blair. Junior utility Jakob Palmiter (.429 OBP, 12 BB vs 6 K, 7 SB) provides a spark for coach Bob Foust's offense, while junior 2nd-team all-region third baseman Jacob Reimold (.500 AVG, .578 OBP, 12 BB vs 8 K, .820 SLG) provides some pop. 

Tyler WansackOther schools and returning all-region selections
Sharpsville Area - 1st-team 3B Popatak, 1st-team OF Wansack (right), senior 2nd-team SS Mitch Fyffe, senior 2nd-team P George Keck
Wilmington Area - senior Region Pitcher of the Year & 2nd-team Util Travis Brumbaugh
Greenville - [none]

Region 3
Zach GuthThere's being dominant, and then there's what Guth (right) did for Franklin Area last season. The Region 4 Pitcher of the Year gave up only 18 hits, 17 walks, and five runs (four earned), while racking up 108 strikeouts in 50.1 IP. If junior RHP Mike YaSenka (14.2 IP, 11 H, 9 BB, 14 K) can step up to be Robin to Guth's Batman, the Knights could repeat their run to the state quarterfinals, or beyond. Coach Brian Schmidt's line-up will be highlighted by junior 1st-team second baseman Alex Huff (.353 AVG, .476 OBP, 16 BB vs 10 K), 2nd-team selection Desko (.500 AVG, .708 SLG, 12 SB), and Guth (.365 AVG, .481 OBP, 14 BB vs 9 K).

Following the graduation of six line-up regulars and three of the four pitchers who logged the most innings for Saegertown, a large weight will be placed on the bat (.547 AVG, 14 XBH, 10 SB) and arm (24.2 IP, 18 H, 14 BB, 33 K) of Sada this spring. Senior outfielder Trey Reagle (.442 OBP, 13 BB vs 11 K) will provide some offensive support, while no other returning pitcher threw more than four innings last season.

Titusville suffered perhaps the biggest loss in the state...and graduation had nothing to do with it. Junior LHP/OF J.J. Bleday, a Vanderbilt commit, has relocated to the state of Florida and will compete there this spring. Senior 2nd-team second baseman Seth Mehlenbacher and junior 2nd-team third baseman Zach Richards return to lead the Rockets.

Five starters return for Maplewood, led by junior Kyle Nuhfer (.378 AVG, .510 OBP, 9 BB vs 6 K) and senior Noah Marvin (.325 AVG, .438 OBP, 8 BB vs 6 K). In addition, virtually the entire pitching staff is back, including four pitchers who logged double-digit innings: Nuhfer (23 IP, 23 H, 16 BB, 22 K), senior Zachary Eimer (21.2 IP, 32 H, 17 BB, 21 K), junior Wyatt Wright (15.2 IP, 31 H, 11 BB, 10 K), and junior Dalton Fosberg (15.1 IP, 20 H, 13 BB, 16 K).

Other schools and returning all-region selections
Cambridge Springs - [none] 

Region 5
Mercyhurst Prep brings back only one pitcher who tossed varsity innings last spring, but senior RHP Chris Vallimont (48 IP, 21 H, 12 BB, 82 K) is a nice cornerstone to have for a revamped staff that will also include junior RHPs Fred Gillespie and Kevin O'Connell, plus sophomore RHP Nick Tyler. 1st-team third baseman Joe Turano (.397 AVG, .485 OBP) and 2nd-team catcher Josh Irwin (.246 AVG, .328 OBP) return to lead coach Randy Durkoske's offense, which anticipates increased production from first baseman Vallimont, shortstop Tyler, and outfielder O'Connell.

Coming off a state semifinal appearance, Northwestern will be looking to integrate a new crop of talent, as it tries to replace nine graduates, including seven starters. Senior 2nd-team second baseman Griffin Hites will spark an otherwise predominantly junior line-up, including catcher Jarret Bird, outfielder Ben Smith, and third baseman Sam Dreistadt. Senior RHPs Corey Ulrich and Spencer Mullen will look to establish themselves on coach Craig Miller's staff, along with junior RHP Pete Buckoski.

Seneca boasts a quartet of two-way contributors -- junior RHP/IF Jesse McGee (29 IP, 37 K), senior RHP/IF Garrett Duda (23 IP, 25 K), sophomore IF/RHP Dominic Rupp (.402 AVG), and sophomore IF/RHP Adam Hanes -- on a roster that only lost one player to graduation. Senior catcher Zach Muye and junior outfielder Adam Fish will join coach Roy Schweitzer's line-up, which could see a number of freshman push for playing time.

North East brings back an experienced crew, as it had zero seniors on the roster last season. Senior RHP Mike Macaulay, junior RHP Nathan Mayes, who got off to a hot start last year (15.1 IP, 6 H, 10 BB, 25 K) before being shelved by mono, and junior LHP Jarett Scotch are all slated to log significant innings for the Grape Pickers. Scotch, a 2nd-team all-region honoree at first base, Mayes, Macaulay, and junior second baseman Kevin Cooney will be the primary run-producers in coach Dave Scotch's line-up. 

As it transitions down from class AAA, Girard will turn to senior RHP Zach Barrett and sidearming junior RHP Nathan McKenrick to front its pitching staff. Coach Chip Gorzynski's young offense will be led by junior shortstop Vince Monico, sophomore catcher Shane Boyles, and junior utility Brendan Kohan.

Other schools and returning all-region selections
Fairview - senior 1st-team Util Scott Klemm, junior 2nd-team OF Nolan Green

Class AAA
Class AAAA (forms sub-region with Districts VI, VIII & IX)

Region 6
Kyle ShingledeckerGrove City may employ a committee approach to replace region co-Pitcher of the Year Matt Gordon, with senior RHPs Jesse Hodge and Zack Reddick, and senior LHP Brandon Grace the leading candidates to log innings in front of junior closer Austin Wilson. Coach Billy Herman needs to replace four line-up mainstays, but welcomes back senior 1st-team outfielder Jordan Anderson, speedy senior shortstop Jesse Hodge, outfielder Wilson, junior catcher Brandon Dennis, and sophomore infielder Kyle Shingledecker (right), who started the majority of the season as a freshman.

After working with a senior-laden roster in 2014, Conneaut Area will roll with predominantly juniors and sophomores this spring. Junior RHPs Colt Fairbanks and Mason Schell, plus sophomore LHP Jesse Richards, will all see their first varsity action for coach Todd Greenawalt. Coming off a 2nd-team all-region campaign, junior first baseman Taylor Williams (.428 AVG, .508 OBP) will spearhead an inexperienced Eagles offense that will also feature third baseman Fairbanks, junior outfielder Kris Norris, as well as sophomore OF/C Jeff Millin and sophomore catcher Travis Kerr.

Jake ArienzoSenior 1st-team outfielder Travis Lauster leads a group of all-region performers who return for Slippery Rock, including four 2nd-teamers -- junior catcher Josh Bowser, junior shortstop Ryan Lauster, senior outfielder Jake Arienzo (right), and senior utility Jason Rockburn. Coach Nathan McCollough comes into the season without a locked-in ace on the hill, but Clarion-bound LHP Arienzo, junior RHP Jackson Kerchis and sophomore RHP Gunner Becker should be among the first to get a crack at staking their claim to a large role.

Andrew PiknaOil City Area lost two-thirds of its starting line-up to graduation, leaving junior Andrew Pikna (.361 AVG, .467 OBP; left) to lead an otherwise untested offense. The pitching staff had some attrition of its own, but senior Tanner Beshaw (21.2 IP, 23 H, 24 BB, 28 K) and Pikna (16.1 IP, 13 H, 18 BB, 14 K) return with experience.

Dominik PruskowskiMeadville Area will be looking to replace the lost production from its top two hitters, including region Player of the Year Ted Williams. Senior second baseman Brock Biggs (.314 AVG, 4 BB vs 3 K) and junior 1st-team all-region third baseman Trevor Smith (.333 AVG over the first month of the season before breaking a bone in his hand) will lead an offense looking for a number of sophomores, including Kirk Mumau, Antonio Ferraro, and Tyler Redding, to build on the experience they got as rookies. Junior RHP Dominik Pruskowski (26 IP, 15 H, 14 BB, 21 K) will team with 2nd-team selection Smith (39.2 IP, 32 H, 12 BB, 23 K) atop coach Bruce Stewart's rotation, which should also have innings available for sophomores Matt Burchard and Mumau.

Region 7
Sean RutkoskyIn order for Harbor Creek to replicate its winning ways from a season ago, it will have to figure out a way to replace departed Region 7 Pitcher and Player of the Year Isaac Mattson. Senior RHP Sean Rutkosky (46 IP, 41 H, 12 BB, 61 K), a 2nd-team selection, and junior LHP Connor Needham (20.2 IP, 15 H, 8 BB, 22 K) will each take a step up the depth chart for coach Tim McQueeney. The Huskies offense will be led by Rutkosky (right), senior 1st-team outfielder Ryan Kaschalk, sophomore infielder Tyler Passmore, plus the junior duo of C/OF Zachary Mattson and OF/1B Joey Shotts.

With almost the entirety of its major contributors departed via graduation, Corry Area is left with senior Joe Sonntag (12.1 IP, 18 H, 6 BB, 6 K) and senior Kyle Scouten (.341 AVG, .449 OBP) to lead what will be a very inexperienced group of Beavers for coach Eric Brumagin this spring.

Tanner StanzOther schools and returning all-region selections
Fort LeBoeuf - junior 1st-team SS Josh Greggs
General McLane - senior 1st-team OFs Evan Dillen & Peter Solberg, senior 2nd-team 1B Paul Jones
Warren Area - junior 1st-team DH Derek Reagle, 1st-team P & 2nd-team SS Stanz (right), senior 2nd-team 3B Matt Hultquist

Region 8
Austin BraendelComing off a run to the state semifinals, Cathedral Prep will look to ride its pitching back to the post-season. Cross, voted 2nd-team all-Region 8 as an outfielder and pitcher, returns as the staff ace. He will be joined by junior RHP Kye Hopkins, and sophomore LHPs Mark Majewski and Nick Hess, each of whom got a smattering of varsity innings last year. Coach Dave Hess' offense will be powered by Cross and four other all-Region 8 performers: 1st-teamers Braendel (right), Fessler, and senior outfielder Billy Snider, plus 2nd-teamer shortstop Dillon Wolbert.

Matthew SilayDespite losing twelve graduates, McDowell, the only class AAAA school in the district, may just have enough young talent in place to make a run at its first state tournament berth since 2012. Wright (31 IP, 17 H, 24 BB, 45 K) has the stuff to step into the role of ace, while strike-throwing senior RHP Jonathan Polanco (18.1 IP, 13 H, 4 BB, 21 K) and sophomore RHP Chase Barricklow should pick up a chunk of the available innings behind him. Senior catcher Vinny Carone, a 1st-team all-Region 8 selection, will be charged with shepherding the staff. He is joined as a returning starter by fellow 1st-teamer Wright (.400 AVG, .474 OBP) and physical, toolsy outfielder Sniegocki (.389 AVG, .519 SLG). Juniors Matt Silay (right) and Nick Doolittle are expected to fill holes on the infield for coach Nick Leslie.

Central Tech is looking for senior RHP Nate Fuhrman to lead an inexperienced pitching staff that should see sophomore RHPs Nick Hoffman and Justin Finke vie for large roles. Infielder Fuhrman will team with senior utility player Tyler Gleba and senior catcher Kyle Rapela in a rebuilt line-up for coach Rich Kolash.

Other schools and returning all-region selections
East - [none]
Strong Vincent - [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