Quaker Valley's Pilewicz enjoys all-star contest despite sitting
While Jake Pilewicz would've enjoyed playing in the 10th annual WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association all-star game Sunday, he couldn't really complain about the reason why he was unable to do so.
“It would of been cool to play but it is even cooler to not be able to because (Quaker Valley) is still playing,” the senior said. “It is really cool to represent Quaker Valley at the game. There are a lot of great players out here and they are all here for a reason.”
While he had to watch the Class AA squad battle Class A to a 4-4 tie, it was just another chapter to a great senior season for Pilewicz. The Quakers finished the regular season 18-0 and claimed their first section title and playoff berth since 2006. They then rattled off wins over Burrell, Freeport and Deer Lakes to reach the WPIAL Class AA title game for the first time since 1984.
“It is a great way to end my high school career,” Pilewicz said. “We haven't always been the best team, but we have been really hard working. We would have liked to win WPIALs, but hopefully we can end this season the right way.”
Quaker Valley suffered its first loss of the season in the title game, falling to Beaver, 7-1. The Quakers defeated Saegertown, 6-5, and Shady Side Academy, 7-3, in the opening rounds of the PIAA playoffs last week.
“To go from three hits in the WPIAL title game to over 20 combined hits in the last two games show how much of a bounce back there has been,” Pilewicz said. “It is a great way to go into the semifinals with some good momentum.”
While Pilewicz said he couldn't point to one thing in his game that improved during his senior year, he did say the entire Quakers roster has stepped their game up to lead to the historic season.
“Everyone is playing a lot better and we have a lot of good pitchers this year,” Pilewicz said. “That is helping me, the other guys and the whole team win.”
Pilewicz will look to continue his playing career next year as a walk-on on the Penn State baseball team. He is currently on the 40-man roster but will need to try out to remain a Nittany Lion.
“I come from a big Penn State family,” Pilewicz said. “I grew up going to football games there. It is a school with good academics that I was always interested in going to.
“Just to have a shot to be on the baseball team made it that more special.”
But before he heads to State College, Pilewicz will have a busy summer. He will be working with a pitching coach and also competing for the Quaker Valley Palomino baseball team as well as the Sportszone Express squad in the Western Pennsylvania Elite Baseball League.
Pilewicz said he has been competing with the Sportszone squad since he was 13. The WPEBL features many of the top players in Western Pennsylvania, many of which continue playing at the collegiate level.
“You play great teams day in, day out,” Pilewicz said. “You need to be on top of your game every day or you will be beaten pretty bad. Last year, we played against John Sansone who is now playing second base at Florida State. It is really fun playing against and with some great players.”