4 WPIAL baseball players selected for elite showcase
TribLIVE Sports Videos
While pitchers and catchers won't be reporting to Major League Baseball training camps for more than month, some of the sport's future stars will begin competition in January at the 2013 Under Armour All-America Preseason Tournament.
The roster is composed of the top high school talent across the country, and four WPIAL players will be among them. The event is sponsored by Baseball Factory, a scouting group that hosts such showcases nationwide.
Selected for the tournament, to be held Friday through Sunday in Tucson, Ariz, are South Park senior Randy Dobnak (P/3B), Belle Vernon senior Dominick Francia (P/C), Franklin Regional junior Brandon Nania (3B/C) and Mars sophomore Ty Reginelli (2B).
“It's an honor,” Francia said. “It just goes to show how much time and effort I've put into everything, and I'm really excited.”
Francia, who led his Belle Vernon team to a 19-6 record and a trip to the WPIAL Class AAA championship game last season after bouncing back from a gruesome ankle injury, is looking forward to competing at a high level against some of the premiere high school talent in the nation in the wooden-bat tournament.
“I'm the type of player that's a very competitive athlete,” he said. “So if I go out there and see these kids giving 110 percent, that's just going to push me to give 120 percent.”
Dobnak, who has committed to Alderson-Broaddus College and is a three-year letter winner for South Park, has a fastball that reaches the upper 80s and is working on refining his changeup and knuckleball as well as his hitting approach.
“It will be nice to get some actual work in besides hitting off tees,” Dobnak said.
Reginelli's athletic ability is noted by his being selected for the tournament as a sophomore. His Mars team finished 15-5 last season but fell to Belle Vernon in the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals.
Nania will not join his WPIAL peers in Arizona because the game conflicts with a recruiting visit he's scheduled to take at the University at Buffalo, he said.
He is a United States Specialty Sports Association All-American.
The tournament field is based on performance and recommendation from professional scouts. Teams will be assigned by region, and numerous MLB scouts are expected to be in attendance.
“I hope to show them I have what it takes to maybe get drafted, and that I have the determination to work harder and be the best I can be,” Dobnak said.
The tournament will be held at the Kino Sports Complex, the former spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox.
Baseball Factory has been hosting the tournament since 1999. Former Baseball Factory High-School All-Americans include MLB players David Wright (N.Y. Mets), B.J. Upton (Atlanta Braves) and Delmon Young (Detroit Tigers).
While the WPIAL is known around the country more for football than baseball, the local players are hoping to show everyone what Western Pennsylvania baseball has to offer.
“I hope when the scouts see the quality of player that comes out there from Southwest Pennsylvania and the WPIAL, it will kind of put us on the map,” Francia said.
“I'm going for the experience, and at the same time I'm going there to show some of these coaches that have overlooked our area what there is to offer.”
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Kobani emerges as pivot point
- Steelers notebook: Ex-Steeler Sanders living up to his word
- Georgia Tech runs all over mistake-prone Pitt
- Play to watch: Colts, Luck like to confuse defenses
- Motorcyclist flown to Pittsburgh hospital from Tarentum wreck
- West Virginia whips Oklahoma State for 4th straight win
- Frye: Chronic wasting disease news and hunter trends
- New rules may be in offing for some special trout streams
- Predators GM Poile: Penguins’ firing of Shero not fair
- Wolf in Leechburg: ‘Get it right this time’ in the election for Pa. governor
- High school roundup: Springdale football wins 4th in a row