ShareThis Page

Penn-Trafford hurlers giving Warriors chance to compete

| Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 11:56 p.m.
Penn-Trafford's Ross Orgera delivers a pitch during a game Monday, April 8, 2013, at Hempfield.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford's Ross Orgera delivers a pitch during a game Monday, April 8, 2013, at Hempfield.

The Penn-Trafford baseball team's calling card this season is its potentially potent pitching staff, led by a pair of righthanders — senior Ross Orgera and junior Tyler Smith.

“We said going into the season that we will go as far as Ross and Smitty will take us,” Penn-Trafford coach Ron Evans said following Monday's 9-5 WPIAL Class AAAA victory over Latrobe.

Evans' enthusiasm for the team's 1-2 pitching punch was tempered Sunday, when Orgera sustained a separated left shoulder in an ATV accident and is expected to miss at least a week.

“We'll just find someone else to put in there while he's out,” Evans said.

Against Latrobe, Smith wasn't as sharp on the mound as he would have liked, but it was his two-run homer that ignited a continuation of Penn-Trafford's unexpected offensive surge.

Now, if the Warriors' defense can pull together, Evans might find a solid situation forming.

“The kids know that when Ross or Tyler are on the mound, if we score some runs, we have a very good chance to win the game,” Evans said. “We should be able to compete with anyone with those two.”

The Penn-Trafford (4-4, 3-2 in Section 2) defense has been shoddy at times, leading to one-run losses to Hempfield and Connellsville after leading both games for much of the way.

“We were one out from winning both games and starting the season 4-0,” Evans said.

Hempfield, an early favorite to contend for the Section 2 title, beat Penn-Trafford, 7-6, taking advantage of errors by the Warriors' defense.

“They are very good,” Hempfield coach Tim Buzzard said. “They're the best team we've seen so far. They mixed their pitches well.”

Penn-Trafford's lineup at times does not include a senior starter, yet the Warriors are learning to win. It's no surprise to Smith or any of his teammates. A handful of the players have experience in summer leagues as part of AAU and American Legion teams.

“High school-wise, we're a very young team,” Smith said. “For the most part, though, we're all extremely experienced. There are 3-4 kids who've been playing above their age group for a number of years now.”

Smith said it's comfort knowing the team is learning to hit with authority.

After the Latrobe victory, he said: “If we continue to swing the bats like we did today and if we can get solid pitching, we'll definitely contend for the section, and our chances of making the playoffs would be real good.”

Sophomore catcher Scott Koscho had two hits, including a double, that produced three runs. Sophomore infielder Shane Churma was leading the team in hitting with a .429 average.

Perhaps the biggest example of youthful hitting for Penn-Trafford came when freshman outfielder Josh Brammell, making just his second start, hit a two-run homer.

“We're inexperienced, and we've made some inexperienced mistakes,” Evans said. “Yet the kids realize already that we were able to play with Hempfield, and if that's the case, we should be able to play with anyone.”

It seems to have convinced Evans, too.

“I honestly believe we have the potential to battle for that first or second spot in the section. It's a big task.”

Meanwhile, with Orgera sidelined, Evans is looking to the rest of the pitching staff for support.

There is a promising bunch to choose from, led by seniors Danny Owoc and Zak Right. Owoc entered the lineup against Latrobe in relief with the bases loaded and nobody out and did not allow a run.

“Strikeout, popup, groundout,” Evans said. “He came in and did the job.”

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.