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Sikorski excited about young Rams

Ronald Vezzani Jr. / For The Valley Independent
Ringgold short stop Alec Varley is one of the key players coach Mike Sikorski will be counting on this season.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Playing in rugged Section 4-AAA and having lost nine seniors from last year's team, it would be understandable if Ringgold baseball coach Mike Sikorski was not looking forward to this season.

On the contrary, the second year mentor is motivated by his young team.

“We have young guys trying to step up,” he said. “We have to learn to be a team and we know that we have a lot of work to do to get where we need to be.

“But we are taking steps in the right direction, and we have to with our section.”

Ringgold's section foes include West Mifflin, South Park, Thomas Jefferson, Elizabeth Forward, Belle Vernon Area, and Carrick.

“It is a tough section across the board and one of the toughest in the WPIAL,” Sikorski added.

Sikorski is looking at a pair of juniors for leadership in catcher Conor Maciejewski and shortstop Alec Varley.

This will be Maciejewski's third year as the starting catcher while it is Varley's second year at short and third year in the lineup.

Junior Jonathan Simmons is the first baseman, sophomore Zack Byczynski will handle third base, and the junior duo of Nick Fowkes and Weston Homa will both see time at second base.

Five players are vying for the three outfield spots and they include senior Noah Brown, juniors Gage Downer and Austin Drusbasky, and sophomores David Carpenter and Connor Garry.

Senior Nick Maciejewski is the top pitcher for the Rams, and also seeing time on the mound will be Byczynski, Simmons, and Carpenter.

Despite losing so many contributors to graduation, the Rams have eight players back with experience and Sikorski says it will help.

“We have guys who have played before, but as far as expectations, it is hard to tell,” he said. “We are so young right now and only have two seniors on the roster.

“We have made upgrades at certain positions and it will depend on how bad they want it. We have some talent. But overall it will be the desire and will to be good and what they make of it.”

Sikorski feels that pitching will be a big key as the team lost six one-run games a year ago.

“Our pitchers will have to keep the walks down,” he said. “A lot of those one-run losses were because of mental errors. We lost two games in the bottom of the seventh.”

Ringgold opens up the season with three road games, beginning with its non-section opener Friday at Steel Valley.

Bill Hughes is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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