Riverview's Malky named WPIAL Class A Pitcher of the Year by coaches association
Riverview senior Anthony Malky noticed his cell phone buzzing as he walked toward PNC Park on May 18, eager to get a bobblehead of his favorite pitcher, National League strikeout leader and Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett.
The man on the other end of the line had good news: Malky had his own collection of admirers.
Malky, an Akron recruit, learned more than a week ago what the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association announced to the public Tuesday: The Riverview standout received the association's Class A Pitcher of the Year award following a regular season in which he struck out a WPIAL-best 101 batters.
“Since the beginning of the season, one of my goals was to be the Pitcher or Player of the Year,” Malky said. “I was thinking and hoping the strikeout total would probably seal the deal.”
Malky, who also started as an infielder, was a key contributor among the Raiders, who shared the Section 4-A title and finished the season with a 15-3 record. Riverview received the No. 3 seed in the WPIAL playoffs and reached the quarterfinals.
“It doesn't surprise me (that Malky won) when he dominates games like that and has 101 strikeouts,” Riverview coach Rich Griser said. “He's very intelligent. He has a lot of baseball smarts ... and he uses a lot of that when he's on the mound, which gives him another edge.”
Because of his batting exploits — he hit .595 and drove in 14 runs — Malky made a strong case for Class A Player of the Year recognition. That honor went to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart senior pitcher/infielder Preston Falascino, another multi-threat standout who ranks among the WPIAL leaders in extra-base hits, home runs and RBI.
“I think it's a nice way to wrap up my career,” said Malky, who signed with Akron as a right-handed pitching recruit.
While he rattled batters with his fastball that reached the mid- to high-80s, Malky attributed much of his success this season to a much-improved curveball and changeup.
“I definitely still was able to keep the power pitcher style,” Malky said. “And I was able to get better strikeout numbers than ever before.”