Senior stars given 1 last chance to shine
A pair of local high school baseball coaches will guide some of their top players one last time.
Deer Lakes first-year coach Jon Pedrosky and 10th-year Riverview coach Rich Griser will help manage the Class AA all-stars in the seventh annual WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association senior all-star games Sunday at the Burkett Complex in Robinson.
Pedrosky will coach Lancers second baseman/shortstop James Valette, while Griser works with two of his senior infielders, Nick Shook and Ken DiBucci.
"It's pretty exciting," Pedrosky said. "To go in there with Jim means something special. And the caliber of players in these games is tremendous. It will be neat to be a small part of those kids' experiences."
Valette said Pedrosky brought a unique coaching style to the Lancers this season.
"He had a different mindset than any coach I've had," said Valette, who plans to attend Case Western, where he may walk on to the baseball team. "He allowed his players to shine. In our playoff game, he wasn't nervous; he was completely collected. Before the game, we had a team prayer and he said if anyone was nervous, they were just hurting our chances to win."
Deer Lakes and Riverview have some recent history.
Both teams made the WPIAL Class AA playoffs this season, and played each other in the preliminary round with Riverview winning, 8-7.
Riverview upset No. 1 seed South Fayette, 6-4, in the first round before losing to Burrell, 5-4, in the quarterfinals.
Burrell, the only local baseball team to reach the PIAA playoffs, did not have an all-star selection.
Griser sees the all-star game as a chance to honor the efforts of all of his senior players.
"They were hard workers and led by example," said Griser, who also coached in the all-star event in 2004. "Both Nick and Ken were team captains. We had a superb senior class. It'll be fun to keep the show going."
Riverview's seniors won 48 games and made the WPIAL playoffs all four years.
"It's nice to make this game, but it's even better to have coach Griser coach us," said DiBucci, a first baseman/designated hitter. "Our season ended abruptly. You wish you could have played longer, but if you don't win the championship, this is the next-best-thing."
DiBucci, whose father, Ken, played baseball at Pitt, will continue his career at Thiel.
The A-K Valley will be also represented in the Class AA-A game. Five local players are on the Class AA roster, including Ford City's Rory Lockhart, a third baseman.
Freeport center fielder Ryan Siegel may miss the game with a pulled muscle in his back. The Coastal Carolina recruit sustained the lingering injury during the high school season.
Springdale standout shortstop Bret Basilone, a Notre Dame recruit, will play for the Class A team.
A banquet to recognize the all-stars was held Friday night at the Airport Mariott.
A showcase for underclass players is set for 8 a.m. today. Players will be timed in running and throwing drills.Additional Information:
7th annual WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Games
• Sunday, Burkett Complex, Robinson Township
• Class AA vs. Class A, 1 p.m.; Class AAAA vs. Class AAA, 4 p.m.
• Underclassmen showcase, 8 a.m. today.
• Local all-stars: Class AAAA - - Tyler Garrone (Kiski Area), C.J. Stotler (Plum); Class AAA -- Colin Hinderliter (Knoch); Class AA -- Ken DiBucci (Riverview), Rory Lockhart (Ford City), Ryan Siegel (Freeport), Nick Shook (Riverview), Jim Valette (Deer Lakes); Class A -- Bret Basilone (Springdale).