Experienced Chartiers Valley baseball team looking to keep strong start going

Nathan Smith
| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

While some baseball teams have been stuck inside to practice and forced to postpone games due to unfavorable weather, Chartiers Valley has been lucky and is already off to a 3-0 start.

“You never not want to play,” Chartiers Valley coach Jim Jaskowski said. “Getting outside and playing already is a huge plus. We already had a chance to get the jitters out and adjustments have been made.

“We are a step ahead of the teams who haven't been outside and on the field.”

The Colts picked up wins over West Allegheny (2-1), Thomas Jefferson (7-2) and Mt. Lebanon (9-3). It is a strong start to an experienced squad expecting big things in 2013.

The pitching staff is one of the deepest Chartiers Valley has had in recent seasons and is led by seniors Jimmy Palmer and Matt Mulvihill. Palmer finished the 2012 regular season with a 5-2 mark while Mulvihill – a lefty who will fill in at first base when not on the mound – finished with a 4-2 record.

The team added Josh Lapiana to the rotation during the offseason. The junior transferred from South Side Beaver, where he recorded 53 strikeouts and a 5-4 record during the 2012 regular season. Freshman Ryan Reicoff is expected to give Chartiers Valley innings on the mound.

“We are very deep,” Jaskowski said of his pitching crew. “We can throw out seven or rights arms and have a chance to win. That will be a big thing we lean on.”

Whoever is on the mound will be backed up by a strong defense. Senior Jake Horew returns at shortstop and is a four-year starter. Senior Dom Castello will handle catching duties and may even get mixed into the pitching rotation.

Sophomore outfielders Nick Kane and Taner Garis, along with junior third baseman Sam Kisic, will also see playing time.

The Chartiers Valley batting won't be lacking as Horew and Mulvhill both are expected to have big years at the plate and the Colts will be able to count on seniors Chris Salerno and Jonathon Kletzi in designated hitter roles.

The experienced group will be needed for a tough Section 3-AAA.

Keystone Oaks, McGuffey and Trinity all return and South Fayette and Waynesburg will both join after moving up from Class AA.

“South Fayette and Waynesburg are both quality teams,” Jaskowski said. “And Keystone Oaks has always give us tough games and they return a lot of good pitching.”

The daunting section schedule isn't stopping Jaskowski from setting the bar high. If he gets his way, the Colts will be playing well into May.

“We always shoot for everything,” Jaskowski said. “We want a title. We are treating our nonsection games like section games. We want to take a winning streak into the section games and shoot for a title.”

The Colts are scheduled to return to the field today, Thursday, as the play host to McKeesport.

First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 p.m.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at nsmith@tribweb.com or 412-388-5813.

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