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Fox Chapel baseball team seeks to continue success from last season

Jan Pakler | The Herald - Fox Chapel varsity catcher Josh Kieffer throws ball back during an early season scrimmage.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Jan Pakler | The Herald</em></div>Fox Chapel varsity catcher Josh Kieffer throws ball back during an early season scrimmage.
Jan Pakler | The Herald - Fox Chapel high school baseball varsity coach Mike Frank helped guide the Foxes to the WPIAL playoffs last year for the first time in six years. With a strong group returning, he has high hopes again this year.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Jan Pakler | The Herald</em></div>Fox Chapel high school baseball varsity coach Mike Frank helped guide the Foxes to the WPIAL playoffs last year for the first time in six years. With a strong group returning, he has high hopes again this year.
Jan Pakler | The Herald - Fox Chapel junior Megan Walkowski plays shortstop in scrimmage against Freeport.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Jan Pakler | The Herald</em></div>Fox Chapel junior Megan Walkowski plays shortstop in scrimmage against Freeport.

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Top high school sports
Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Last season, the Fox Chapel baseball team finished 12-8 overall and was 6-4 in section play.

The Foxes made it to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time in six years, but their stay was a short one as they fell to Hempfield in the first round.

Coach Michael Frank must replace eight seniors from last year, but he's optimistic about the season.

“We have a strong corps of returning players from last year, and we've got some good pitching depth,” he said.

Key returning players are seniors Chad Bartlett, Connor Duquette and Anthony Veltri; juniors Greg Yaksich, Josh Dunlap, Daniel Vargo and David Brown; and sophomores Josh Anderson, Jacob Pilarski and Zach Burkhart.

Bartlett, a pitcher, is a four-year starter who was 4-3 last year with a 3.36 ERA.

Duquette, an outfielder, had a pair of home runs, scored 14 runs and had 10 RBIs.

First baseman Veltri hit .277 with a pair of homers, 11 runs scored and 10 RBIs.

Yaksich, a center fielder, batted at a robust .372 clip along with a pair of homers, 11 runs scored and 10 RBIs.

Dunlap, a pitcher and left fielder, pitched in 10 games last year and had a 2.50 ERA.

Third baseman Vargo hit .300 with 11 runs scored and seven RBIs.

Brown, a first baseman and pitcher, is looking to bounce back from an injury that derailed his 2013 season.

Anderson, a shortstop, hit .300 and was a slick defender.

Pilarski went 5-0 with a 2.82 ERA.

Burkhart, a catcher, was an all-section selection as a freshman and had one home run and 10 RBIs.

The Foxes also will be counting on senior outfielder RJ Walkowski; juniors Alex Massalski, an outfielder and third baseman, and Trent Rothert, an outfielder; sophomores Patrick Monteverde, a pitcher and first baseman, and Brian Coglin, a second baseman; and freshman shortstop and second baseman Jake Hughes.

“We still have a young team that will need to develop and gain experience,” Frank said. “Our section will once again be one of the strongest, top to bottom, in the WPIAL. North Allegheny and Seneca Valley will again be very strong. For us to return to the playoffs, every player needs to do their part to help the team as a whole.”

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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