Fox Chapel's success ends in baseball playoffs
The Fox Chapel High School baseball team saw its season come to a close on May 13 with a 2-0 loss to Hempfield in a first round WPIAL Class AAAA playoff game at Gateway High School.
Chad Bartlett, who threw a complete game and struck out six, took the loss as the Foxes were held to an infield single by Hempfield's Zach Martinelli, who struck out 18 batters.
“It turned into a pitcher's duel,” FC coach Mike Frank said. “Chad only gave up four hits and one earned run. Martinelli was one of the best pitchers we faced this season, and he was dominant. I thought we played a solid game, but we just couldn't seem to put any offense together. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap when a kid throws that well.”
The Foxes finished with a 12-8 record and Frank feels that his team turned the corner this season.
“I was very proud of the strides we made this year,” Frank said. “We had a great group of guys that bought into the team-first mentality and worked hard day in and day out. Our successes are a testament to the players' attitude and devotion to the team.”
The Foxes will lose eight seniors to graduation.
“That will create some holes and take away from the depth that we had this season,” Frank said. “Joe Palumbo, Taylor Huber, and James Sirio were three-year starters for us, so losing them takes away some of the leadership and experience we had this year. Bobby Killian was one of our go-to pitchers and a third baseman, so that's another spot that we'll need to address.
“Nathaniel Olbrich served as a backup catcher. Joe Lisowski was injured most of this season, but he added to our depth as an infielder. Andy Marsh was a pitcher and backup first baseman, and Jake Gerger was a backup outfielder.”
Losing so many seniors is difficult, Frank said. But, he added, the team did have a lot of young guys playing throughout this season.
“Chad Bartlett, Jacob Pilarski, Josh Dunlap and David Brown all pitched a significant amount of innings, and threw for us in important games.” Frank said. “They'll be the core of our pitching staff for next season.”
Dan Vargo, Anthony Veltri and Josh Anderson will return in the infield. “So we gained a lot of experience there this season as well,” Frank said.
“Zack Burkhart carried the load for us at catcher as a freshman this year, so we're expecting him to continue to develop and be a strong part of the lineup. Connor Duquette returns in the outfield, and Greg Yaksich looks to take over centerfield with Huber graduating, and he'll be the key to our outfield next year.”
Frank said the team members are excited about their accomplishments this season and they know, moving forward, they can continue to build on the success.
Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.