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BVA's Francia headed to Buffalo

| Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Aubrey Holliday / For the Valley Independent
Belle Vernon Area's Dom Francia verbally committed to attend the University of Buffalo to play baseball.

For a while, the WPIAL's leader in both home runs and RBI in baseball was thinking about going to a junior college to continue his academic/athletic career.

Then came a chance workout for the University of Buffalo.

And both Buffalo coach Ron Torgalski and Belle Vernon Area standout Dom Francia liked what they saw of each other.

So, Francia put away the junior college plans and gave Buffalo a verbal commitment. He said he expects to sign officially within a week.

“I had a workout with Buffalo (on June 11) and they asked me how soon I could come up for a visit,” said Francia, who hit .435 with 8 home runs and 34 RBI for the Leps as a senior. “I talked to my dad and we told them we could come up last Thursday and we did.”

Francia (6-1, 205) said he fell in love with the campus and Coach Torgalski.

“He is a great guy, a great coach,” Francia said. “They like me at catcher, third base and pitcher and (Torgalski) told me I could compete for a spot right away. I really loved the campus and the facilities. I knew right away.”

Buffalo is a Division I school that plays in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The Bulls were 33-24 the past season and finished second behind Kent State.

“They have a good program and I think they are going to get better,” Francia said.

Another reason for him going to Buffalo is a connection he has with one of the university's players, Ben Hartz.

Hartz, a freshman pitcher out of Shady Side Academy, plays with Francia on a Palomino Baseball team, the Diamond Dawgs out of Pittsburgh.

“Ben is a good friend of mine and we are going to room together,” Francia said.

Francia said he had offers from seven colleges in the southern section of the country, but was leaning toward going the junior college route before Buffalo came into the picture.

Along with playing for the Diamond Dawgs, Francia is also playing for the West Mifflin Mud Cats in the McKeesport Daily News League.

He's the son of Frank and Erin Francia of Rostraver Township.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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