Springdale Legion team off to strong start
Despite a couple of impressive wins in Allegheny River Division play, Springdale American Legion Manager Frank Sweeney isn't ready to anoint his team as the one to beat. "It's too early in the season to tell," he said. "There's a lot of baseball to be played yet."Springdale opened the season on May 16 with a 9-4 win over Kiski Valley, and then walloped division foe Penn Hills by a 12-0 score on May 20 with CJ Smith picking up the win. Over the Memorial Day weekend, the team traveled to Uniontown and split a pair of games, winning the first by 4-2 and then losing the nightcap by the same 4-2 score in extra innings.On May 30, Springdale vanquished another division rival, Monroeville, by a 14-1 score. Brandon Koglin picked up the win while Mike Pistorius and Joe Palumbo each collected three hits. "Monroeville and Penn Hills are pretty good teams," Sweeney said. "Penn Hills has three college kids on their pitching staff."Sweeny said he has been surprised with how well his team has been hitting. "But I did warn the kids that they better not think that every game is going to be a blowout win. "Monroeville and Penn Hills could turn around and do that to us next time," he said. "Our division has a lot of good teams. Plum and Shaler are going to be up there, too. Swissvale is a good team. The division is going to be a battle."Springdale has seven players returning from last year and there are nine new faces on the team. Along with Smith, Pistorius and Palumbo, James Serio, Steve Snowball, Anthony Brooks and Taylor Huber bring experience.Last year, Springdale's pitching staff became arm-weary at the end of the season due to an avalanche of makeup games. Sweeney believes that things will be different this year. "We have some nice pitching depth this year," he said. "Smith, Koglin, Joe Hoffman and Bobby Killian all have good arms. Serio, our centerfielder, will also do some pitching along with Eli Fedele."The infield is an experienced one with Brooks behind the plate, Pistorius at first, Koglin at second and Palumbo at short. Snowball, Huber and Serio will man the outfield. Sweeney hopes the youthful squad develops quickly. "These kids are young and a lot of them didn't see too much playing time on their high school team," he said. "They'll be facing a lot of tough competition so we'll see how things go during the season. "We're looking pretty good right now."