Experienced Leopards expected to contend
TribLIVE Sports Videos
It would be understandable if Daryl Hixenbaugh set the bar low for the Belle Vernon Area baseball team.
After all, four seniors from last year's playoff team are now playing collegiately.
However, Hixenabugh has never been known for setting the bar low.
The veteran coach who is returning for a second stint at BVA is happy to finally get things going after a solid winter full of conditioning in which Hixenbaugh saw the stellar leadership skills of his seniors.
“The leadership shown by the senior class since I was hired has been very impressive,” he said. “The team inside (preseason practices) appears to be very talented and hopefully that talent will translate to wins once we get outdoors.”
The Leps return four starters from a year ago, including a pair of three-year letter winners in senior pitcher Dylan Pietrantoni and senior catcher Parker Lynn.
Pietrantoni could also see time at both first base and third base while Lynn could also see time in the infield and will play collegiately at California University of Pennsylvania.
The other two returning starters are also seniors in right fielder Niko Tasser and Dylan Stark, who could see time at both first and third base as well as on the mound.
Other seniors who will be in the lineup include center fielder Cody Menges, left fielder Matt Bashioum, and shortstop James Amoroso with Adam Holliday seeing some time at first base.
Junior Joe Ruffolo will also play first base; junior Isaiah Engstrom will see time in the outfield; and sophomore Evan Hannan starts the year at second base.
The Leps have depth on the mound.
Joining Pietrantoni and Stark on the mound will be fellow right handers Ruffolo, and junior Noah Stulock and a pair of southpaws in Bashioum and Menges.
What kind of expectations does Hixenbaugh have for the team?
“With the leadership of this senior class, I will be very disappointed if we don't at least compete for the section title and or a playoff berth,” he said. “This team is very talented and has set goals.”
The Leps play in the rugged Section 4 AAA with West Mifflin, Elizabeth Forward, Ringgold, South Park, Thomas Jefferson, and Carrick.
Hixenbaugh, with his 30 years of experience as a Major League Baseball scout and nearly as many as a high school coach, did not hesitate when asked what he felt the keys would be to a successful season.
“Our pitching should be solid as long as no one gets injured,” he said. “We have to get timely hits, and we have lots of speed.”
The Leps open the season Saturday when they head to Uniontown for an exhibition game before hosting three more exhibition contests next week to prepare for section play.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Mother, baby found dead in Millvale apartment
- Whitehall native John Gibson flourishes in goal for Ducks
- Unusual fruiting vines offer tasty options for Western Pennsylvania gardens
- Hyde Park woman, 38, faces sex charge with teen
- Route 422 reopened after serious accident in Kittanning Township
- Polamalu could be next in long line of Steelers greats given unceremonial exit
- 2 found dead in Harrison home
- Steelers sign former ACC Player of the Year Boyd for QB depth
- NCAA suspends Syracuse coach Boeheim, strips victories
- Over the falls — Cucumber Falls that is — go 3 kayakers in Ohiopyle
- Penn-Trafford’s Coy, Franklin Regional’s Brown escape with close wins