Deer Lakes' Begley moves past playoff losses, embraces all-star game
His senior baseball season at Deer Lakes ended on a bitter note 11 days ago, yet Kevin Begley said the loss to Shady Side Academy in the WPIAL Class AA consolation game, which involved a squandered three-run lead, no longer bothers him.
Begley, the Lancers' shortstop and offensive standout, is humble enough to accept playoff losses without bitterness.
That same humility will help Begley enjoy himself when he lines up with some of the region's best Sunday in the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association all-star event.
Begley and teammate Adam Fredley will play for the Class AA all-stars, who will square off with Class A standouts at 1 p.m. at the Burkett Sports Complex in Robinson Township. Class AAA stars will clash with Class AAAA collective at 4 p.m.
“I hope to just get a couple innings and a couple at-bats,” Begley said.
Begley and Fredley, the team's top pitcher, were essential for Deer Lakes, which finished 17-5 after a 4-0 loss to eventual WPIAL runner-up Quaker Valley in the semifinals and a 7-6 setback to Shady Side Academy for a berth to the PIAA tournament.
On Sunday, Begley and Fredley will embrace Jake Pilewicz of Quaker Valley and Paul McCullough of Shady Side Academy as teammates.
“It's in the past,” Begley said of the season-ending loss. “It'd be one thing if we didn't play good and lost. But we played a pretty good game.
“It honestly doesn't hurt that bad because the two teams we lost to, Shady Side and Quaker, (played) each other in the state quarterfinals (Friday). They're good teams, too.”
The Class AA team's opposition in the all-star competition will include Riverview's Anthony Malky, the WBCA Class A Pitcher of the Year, as well as St. Joseph third baseman John Arcuri.
Arcuri earned acclaim as a scorer during the basketball season, when he averaged 25.3 points per game. The Westminster hoops recruit garnered less fanfare during the baseball season but still caught the eye of coaches.
“I was actually pretty surprised,” Arcuri said.
“I'm not really known as a baseball player, but it's something fun to do on the side.”
He has played both sports since adolescence but prioritized baseball through junior high. His preference changed when he transferred to St. Joseph during his freshman year. Hoops became his passion. Baseball became such a minor part that he chose not to play for St. Joseph as a freshman and sophomore.
“At first, I was more of in the mindset that I needed to focus on basketball because I wanted to play in college so bad,” he said. “But when people were playing baseball and I wasn't, I missed it a lot. … Focusing on basketball all year long, it was kind of weird.”
Arcuri, who lives in the Riverview School District, looks forward to the all-star game as a final opportunity to hang in the dugout with Malky, a former baseball teammate and friend since childhood.
“Being able to suit up with Anth one more time will be really cool,” Arcuri said.
“I think this game will probably be the last time I suit up for a baseball game. … I'm just trying to enjoy it. I'm not trying to impress anybody, impress any scouts. I know people don't know who I am as a baseball player.”