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Connellsville baseball hopes to improve on 5-13 mark

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Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Trevor Farrell, seen here during practice Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at Connellsville High School, will be one of the key pitchers for the Connellsville baseball team this season.

• New Connellsville coach Rob Orndorff will be assisted by Ray Orndorff, Clint Weibl and Mark Riggin.

• The Falcons will leave Friday to spend four days practicing and playing scrimmages at the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

• Connellsville opens the season with an exhibition game at home against Mt. Pleasant on March 27.

Top high school sports
Thursday, March 14, 2013, 1:06 a.m.

Rob Orndorff certainly isn't new to the Connellsville baseball program, although he is taking on a new role this year. Orndorff, who was hired as the team's coach this past fall, worked as an assistant with the Falcons in each of the previous three seasons.

Orndorff is replacing former coach Joe Bonadio, and he has made it known to his players that every pitch in every game could make the difference between a win and a loss.

“We're trying to get our kids to be one-pitch warriors,” Orndorff said. “We're not going to take it a game at a time or even an inning at a time. We're taking it one pitch at a time. We'll learn from our mistakes, and we'll look to make adjustments. We want to take the players we have and make them the best possible baseball players that they can be. We want to go out and play our best every game. Our goal is to win every game we play.”

The Falcons are coming off a 5-13 season that included only three wins in Section 2-AAAA. But Connellsville could be primed for a better season considering that only four lettermen were lost to graduation and 10 are returning.

“We're returning some experience,” Orndorff said. “We have very few guys that we lost, and we have a lot of underclassmen that played. That's probably our biggest asset.”

Connellsville, like many baseball teams, will rely on pitching to be a catalyst for success. Orndorff is excited about the prospects of a solid one-two punch that features senior Trevor Farrell and junior Ryan Huey. Both are right-handers.

“They both have experience, and both have been working since mid-December with (assistant coach) Clint Weibl on a weekly basis trying to improve,” said Orndorff

Orndorff also noted that senior Cameron Bernhardt, junior Jacob Wiltrout and sophomores Brock Bonadio and Darrell Ross will see time on the mound. Doing the catching will be junior Michael Parlak, who is making the switch from third base. Senior Zac Swift also should see time behind the plate.

The infield is an experienced one as senior Grant Wortman returns to first base, Bonadio stays at second base and Bernhardt mans shortstop.

Junior Evan Onusko played middle infield with the junior varsity last season but likely will see time at third base. Senior Ty Adey is a utility player who can be slotted anywhere — especially on the infield.

Seniors Grant Witt and James Stevenson will see time in left field. Junior JR Blocker and Ross will play center and right, respectively.

Although many positions are filled with experienced players, Orndorff noted that many things can change as the season progresses.

“I wouldn't say they are all set in stone because there will be opportunities,” Orndorff said.

Farrell was one of many players on the roster who went through growing pains last season. He's hopeful that this season is a step on the road to improvement.

“This is a different year, and we want to play our best,” Farrell said. “I think we have a shot at going to the playoffs and at least having a winning record.”

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