Conference Preview: Schuylkill League

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

Schuylkill League

Returning all-Schuylkill Division I
School (PIAA Class) 1st-team
Blue Mountain (AAA) '14 P Shane Grapsy
Jim Thorpe (AAA)  
North Schuylkill (AA)
'14 IF Matt Smarkanic
'16 OF Bobby Grigas
'14 OF Tom Gallagher
Panther Valley (AA)  
Pine Grove Area (AA) '14 C Steve Zimmerman
Pottsville Area (AAA)
'15 IF Travis Blankenhorn (Kentucky)
'15 RHP Eli Nabholz (Penn State)
Tamaqua Area (AAA) '15 IF Bo Rottet
'14 Util Matt Roberts
'15 RHP Brett Kosciolek


  • Kosciolek stands out from the crowd, not just with his 6-foot-7, 200-pound frame, but also with the numbers he has put up for Tamaqua Area (7-2, 1.48 ERA, 41 H, 25 BB, 81 K in 56.2 IP; .417 AVG, .797 SLG). The reigning district champs also return Rottet (.314 AVG, .400 OBP) and Roberts (.383 AVG, .446 OBP, .555 SLG) at the top of the order. Furthermore, Coach Jeff Reading can feature '15 IF Nate MacDonald (.389 AVG, .511 OBP) and 6-foot-3, 175-pound '16 RHP/Util Matt Minchoff (.296 AVG, .407 SLG).
  • SpherleyHinchliffeBlankenhorn and Nabholz are ranked as two of the top ten 2015 prospects in the state. However, it will likely be the depth around them, including players such as '15 C Connor Hinchliffe (left) and '16 RHP J.J. Spehrley (right), that will ultimately determine Pottsville Area's fate.
  • Smarkanic is the leading hitter (.349 AVG, .438 OBP, .530 SLG) and mound ace (5-3, 2.25 ERA, 43 H, 19 BB, 41 K in 53 IP) for a North Schuylkill team that returns two-thirds of its line-up and nearly its entire pitching staff. Grigas certainly didn't hit like a freshman (.342 AVG, .490 OBP, 17 BB vs 7 K) and even put up solid numbers on the bump as well (4-0, 2.88 ERA, 22 H, 15 BB, 19 K in 24.1 IP).

Returning all-Schuylkill Division II
'15 IF Hunter Bordner, Tri-Valley
'14 Util Aaron Fritz, Minersville Area (Bucknell)
'14 RHP Brendan Miller, Williams Valley (Penn State-Harrisburg)

  • MillerOnly three bats return for a Williams Valley line-up that started virtually the same nine every game on its way to the division title. After starring last season (6-2, 24 H, 40 BB, 59 K in 45.2 IP), Miller (right) is one of only two returners on the pitching staff.
  • Tri-Valley returns six regulars and a number of other platoon and role players from last season. Border was a stud on the mound (7-1, 43 H, 19 BB, 62 K in 48 IP) and with the bat (.453 AVG, .568 OBP, .812 SLG). He will be joined on the pitching staff by a trio of '14 RHPs -- Devin Masser, Jayme Snyder, and Cale Brusso -- while Masser (.366 AVG, .483 OBP, 8 SB) and Brusso (.361 AVG, .494 OBP, .508 SLG) will help power the offense as well.
  • FritzMinersville Area graduated six players from its starting line-up, so it will be up to the multi-talented Fritz (right) to carry the team with his bat (.466 AVG, .656 OBP, .689 SLG, 11 SB) and arm (5-3, 38 H, 22 BB and 58 K in 45 IP). '14 C/OF Luke Heffron and '14 3B/OF Matt Roberts will also help try keep coach Del Hauck's squad near the top of the division.


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