Share This Page

Quaker Valley catcher Utterback to cap busy summer at Keystone State Games

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley's Ben Utterback connects with the ball during a game against Southmoreland Sunday, April 7, 2013, at PNC Park.

While some teenagers might be relaxing next to a pool, Ben Utterback is spending the dog days of summer on the diamond.

After playing the extended Quaker Valley high school season that ended in the PIAA playoffs, the rising senior competed for both the Quaker Valley Colt and Palomino teams as well as for Bucs Baseball in Beaver County.

“It is pretty much what I do all summer,” Utterback said. “It is definitely my favorite sport. All the teams have been very successful and have been a great experience.”

Utterback added an additional team to his resume as he was selected for the 2013 Keystone State Games West Scholastic squad.

Nearly 100 players tried out for the team with the top 20 players making the cut.

The scholastic squad is designed for players entering 11th or 12th grade.

The West squad is competing in Harrisburg at the Keystone State Games this weekend, along with Blue Mountain, Capital, Delaware Valley, Lehigh Valley, Nittany Region, Metro and Pocono.

Brian Dzurenda — the head coach at Serra Catholic — is the West manager for the fifth straight year and said the squad could find success in Harrisburg. Dzurenda coached the West to a silver medal at the 2012 event after dropping a 3-2 extra-inning thriller to the Capital squad.

“We have 20 great kids committed to the team,” Dzurenda said. “It is probably the strongest team in my five years as coach. We have a nice chance to do something special.”

The roster also includes players from Belle Vernon, Bethel Park, California, Franklin Regional, Hempfield, Moon, New Brighton, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Plum, Rochester, Serra Catholic, Thomas Jefferson and Upper St. Clair.

“It is mostly of bunch of strangers,” Utterback said. “I have played against a couple of the guys but haven't seen most of them before. They must be really good though because they made the team.”

The team had several practices before the tournament got under way, which will be beneficial for Utterback. He is one the West's three catchers, and building a relationship with the other members of the team is key.

“It is very good to get a chemistry with the other players,” Utterback said. “Catcher is my preferred position. It keeps me involved in every play, which I like.”

In addition to playing the tournament, each team had a showcase on the first day of the event which was attended by both college coaches and MLB scouts.

“It is nice for kids on this side of that state to get noticed by a college coach on the eastern side,” Dzurenda said.

Pool play will start Thursday and run through the championship game Sunday.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.