Brentwood baseball aiming for fast start in 2013

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Brentwood's varsity baseball team is looking forward to a strong start in 2013.

Whenever the weatherman permits teams to play some games this season.

“With five players returning who batted over .300 last year, (it) should give us a good chance to get off to a good start offensivly,” said Greg Perdziola, the Spartans' veteran head coach. “We have a good group of players returning.”

Key returning players include Jason Pilarski (.354), a senior second baseman; Justin Bauer (.313), a senior outfielder; Derek Hogue (.355), a junior designated hitter/catcher; Justin Vickless (.320), a junior outfielder; and Connor McWilliams (.304), a sophomore middle infielder.

Also, senior pitcher/shortstop Chris Shortley (.263), senior first baseman Jake Held, junior corner infielder Jeremy Cenci and senior outfielder Brian Jowers all saw varsity playing time last year.

Shortley is expected to be the workhorse again on the Spartans' pitching staff.

He finished with a 4-4 record in 2012, with 48 strikeouts in 48 innings and a 2.19 earned run average. He was 3-1 in 2011 with 30 strikeouts in 26 innings.

“Chris is a two-year starter. He will be our go-to guy,” Perdziola said. “Chris has a chance to have an outstanding year. He is a hard thrower, and has developed a good slider and curveball. When he is on, he is very hard to hit.”

The rest of the team's pitching rotation is still a work in progress.

Looking to earn a spot in the rotation are juniors David Bushman, Cenci and Vickless, along with sophomores Tyler Paranzino and McWilliams.

“I like what I have seen so far, but the real test will be to see how they do in game action,” Perdziola said. “The problem we run into is I am not sure how many nonsection games we will get in due to the weather; and they won't be able to get that much-needed game experience prior.”

Defensively, the Spartans have experience in the middle infield with Shortley, Pilarski and McWilliams, as well as with Vickless in center field.

Hogue appears ready to take over as the team's starting catcher.

“Due to the weather, we have not been able to practice outside on the field, which makes it difficult to evaluate players,” Perdziola said. “Most teams are in the same situation, but there is only so much you can do in a gym.”

Other players trying to earn varsity playing time in 2013 include juniors Sean Cloonan (infield) and Brent Pavlik (outfield); along with sophomores Nick Balkovec (C/OF), Nathan Christopher (IF/P), Andrew Gazzam (IF/P), Tyler Jorgonson (C/OF) and Brendan Mulholland (IF).

Top freshman prospects include Nick George (IF/P), John Fox (IF/C), Sean McGlaughlin (IF/P), Ryan Yarsky (IF) and Brandon Mayfield (IF/P).

Brentwood lost four senior starters to graduation from last year's 11-7 squad, which just missed out on a WPIAL playoff spot. They are catcher/pitcher Steve Krzyzanowski, shortstop Spencer Hubsch, first baseman Matt Stein, and outfielder Trevor Wosko.

Krzyzanowski was one of the better hitters in the WPIAL for the second straight season. He led the Spartans with a .556 batting average and 22 RBI.

Krzyzanowski paced the team's pitching corps with a 5-0 record and 2.03 ERA.

“He led the team in batting, and was solid behind the plate,” Perdziola said.

Hubsch complemented Krzyzanowski offensively thanks to his .448 batting average and team-leading 20 runs.

The Spartans are competing in a new section this season. Section 1-AA opponents consist of Avonworth, Carlynton, Freedom, New Brighton, Quaker Valley, Seton-La Salle and South Side Beaver.

“I am looking forward to playing in a new conference,” Perdziola said. “All the teams seem to have a history of being pretty good teams.

“Our goals are always the same, to make the playoffs and win the section.”

Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5820 or

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