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Like Rome, Ringgold won't be built quickly

Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
Ringgold High School pitchers, Justin Rich and Mike Cramer talk to the new baseball head coach Mike Sikorski. On March 26,2013.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn't built in a day.”

And Mike Sikorski wants Ringgold fans to know that the Rams' baseball team won't be either.

Sikorski is starting his first year as coach of the Rams, and while he has a number of seniors he is counting on this season, the team as a whole is short on experience.

“We have a big rebuilding year ahead of us; there is no mistaking that,” said Sikorski. “We lost a lot of key players from last year.”

And last year the Rams only went 3-14 in the final season under former coach Lou Pasquale.

The one bright spot going into the season for Sikorski and Ringgold is a veteran pitching staff that returns four players with experience.

Senior lefthanders Mike Cramer and Justin Rich were both starters a year ago, and junior righthanders Nick Maciejewski and Devin Fallenstein also saw pitching duty as sophomores.

“Mike will be our No. 1 and Rich will be the No. 2,” Sikorski said. “That is pretty much set. The other two have potential and talent to do well, but they don't have as much experience.”

Ringgold's starting lineup is not completely set as the poor weather has kept the Rams from getting outside much.

So far, Sikorski has four players who started all or part of last season.

The returnees are seniors Billy Morris in right field and Jeff Toth on third base and sophomores Alec Varley at shortstop and Connor Maciejewski behind the plate.

“Varley was pretty much a utility player last year and played several positions, but he will be our shortstop this season,” said Sikorski.

Other starters will be senior Matt Varos at second and either Travis Yost, Matt Devenney or Chris O'Brien at first, Fallenstein in center and either Yost or junior Noah Brown in left.

“We're still trying to put things together,” Sikorski said. “I think our strength is that we do have several seniors to rely on. The problem is that our weakness is definitely a lack of overall experience.

“It's going to take a lot of hard work for us to be successful. The kids are going to want to have to learn. So far, things have gone pretty good. But we haven't been on the field yet.”

Ringgold is scheduled to play its first game Thursday at Yough, a non-section contest.

The Rams will compete in Section 4 AAA along with 2012 WPIAL finalist Belle Vernon Area, Thomas Jefferson, West Mifflin, Carrick and South Park.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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