Elizabeth Forward baseball team playing well early
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Just like every other high school baseball coach, Elizabeth Forward coach Frank Champ keeps a keen eye on the weather forecast this time of year.
So you can imagine Champ's reaction when 3 to 6 inches of snow was predicted earlier in the week followed be a spell of unseasonably cold temperatures.
“It was great, best news I've heard in a while,” Champ said.
Sure does sound like a guy whose team was at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., set to play two scrimmages and four exhibition games over a six-day span.
“If there ever was a year to emphasize how important this trip is for us, this would be the year,” Champ said. “While everybody else is in the gym, we were able to get on the field for two scrimmages and four games.”
Better yet, the Warriors won all four of their exhibition games, including a 3-1 victory over perennial WPIAL power Shady Side Academy as they headed back north Wednesday evening.
Still, Champ cautioned to not read too much into their southern record.
“On paper, we are 4-0, but two of the teams we played were young, and you could tell were inexperienced,” Champ said. “What is just as important on this trip is how the kids come together. You can't discount that.”
Elizabeth Forward is coming off a surprising 8-6 season a year ago that left them two games short from qualifying for the playoffs.
It was a surprise because every starter from the Warriors' 23-1 WPIAL championship team from the year before was gone.
“We had no experience at all across the board last year and still we had a pretty good season, all things considered,” Champ said. “Just to come in every year and re-load is the ideal thing for the program. But we will see. We have the ability to do that.”
Last year's inexperience is this year's experience, especially on the mound.
Elizabeth Forward returns its entire pitching staff of Mark Adams, Ryan Wardropper and Luke Padezan.
Adams stuck out 52 last year, including 13 in a win over Uniontown; Padezan led the team with four wins, and Wardropper is the Warriors' most experienced pitcher.
“They got some experience last year and pitched pretty well in Florida, so we are going to expect a lot from them,” Champ said. “All three pitched for us last year, so they will be little more experienced and a little more aware on the mound.”
EF also returns all-section infielder Jake Terrick, along with seniors Ryan Thornton and Matt Diehl, giving Champ a group of seasoned players.
“We are not going to make the bonehead plays because of inexperience,” Champ said. “We may not be inexperienced, but we are still young. We are going to have to do everything well. I think we can play with anybody if we do all those things well. That's what it is going to come down to.”
Champ liked what he saw with his team's fielding in Florida.
“We played fairly well defensively,” Champ said. “We really didn't have that many errors, and hopefully, we bring that north with us.”
After a two-year hiatus from its natural rivals, Elizabeth Forward returns to a loaded Section 4-AAA with the likes of South Park, West Mifflin, Thomas Jefferson, Belle Vernon, Ringgold and Carrick.
“We were driving by some of these schools to go to other schools,” Champ said. “These are the teams that we should be playing. They are close to home, and there is a rivalry there with most of the teams in our section. It is not going to be easy, but it is where we belong.”
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.
- Steelers accomplish mission to get younger, faster on defense
- Bubble players get last chance to impress Steelers
- McKeesport council approves mineral rights lease under Renzie Park
- Residents oppose sewage tank plan
- Locke struggles again early, Pirates lose again in Milwaukee
- McKeesport honors ‘message’ bearers
- Electrical cable fire leads to bridge closure
- Ex-Port Vue police chief recognized
- Asking price for Penguins franchise said to be at a record $750M
- Police: Woman faked Mt. Pleasant robbery
- Western Pennsylvania schools’ denial of access to roofers prompts suit