Hempfield's Martinelli, Greensburg Salem's Oberdorf named Greensburg Tribune-Review baseball, softball players of the year
Hempfield pitcher Zach Martinelli and Greensburg Salem pitcher Jayne Oberdorf are this year's Greensburg Tribune-Review baseball and softball player of the year. They are joined on the Tribune-Review's Terrific 10 by nine other baseball and softball players.
Player of the year
Hempfield, senior, pitcher
Perhaps the biggest reason for Seton Hill University's overwhelming success in baseball in recent years is the precise manner in which coach Marc Marizzaldi recruits.
In a statement announcing his early commitments for the 2014 season, Marizzaldi said: “As it does every year, this process started with getting high character guys that share in our vision of competing for a national championship.”
Hempfield ace Zach Martinelli was among the early signees with the Division II Griffins.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound righthander, who is the 2013 Tribune-Review Baseball Player of the Year, concluded a strong career at Hempfield with 11 victories over the past two seasons, including six in 2013, helping the Spartans to a 20-5 record and a WPIAL Section 2-AAAA title.
Hempfield rode the pitching of Martinelli, among other things, to one of its best seasons in history, capped by its first trip to the PIAA playoffs.
“He was our ace the past two seasons,” Hempfield coach Tim Buzzard said. “He wanted the ball every time out, especially this year, when he took things to another level. He's got great command of his pitches.”
Martinelli was on the mound for many of Hempfield's big games, especially in the postseason. Ultimately, the Spartans were eliminated in the PIAA first round by North Allegheny, 3-1, in a rematch of the Tigers' 3-0 victory in the WPIAL semifinals.
Martinelli is continuing to play in the summer in Johnstown's longstanding All-American Amateur Baseball Association.
What do remember most about your career highlights?
The no-hitter I threw last year against Connellsville was pretty special, and the game (2-0 victory) against Fox Chapel in the first round of the (WPIAL) playoffs this year. Making the type of run that we made in the playoffs is something that we'd never done before.
How important has baseball become in your life?
It's the most important thing behind friends and family. I've been doing it since I was 6 or 7 years old. I'm just used to playing all the time.
Why did you pick Seton Hill?
I wanted to play for a winning baseball team. They have the major (sports management) that I wanted, too. I like Coach Marizzaldi a lot and I've become close to him.
When did you become aware of Seton Hill's current run of success?
I knew they were winning and they were good last year, and it made me want to go there more. I wasn't real worried about Division I or Division II or anything like that. I kind of wanted to go somewhere away from here, but I decided it was best to stay close for my family.
Greensburg C.C., Sr., 2B
Brooks is an all-around athlete who also played football. He led the team with a .590 batting average and had 36 hits, five doubles, five triples, a home run and 27 RBI. The infielder helped the Centurions reach the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
Jeannette, Sr., OF
This three-sport standout had an outstanding season in Section 4-AA. He batted .463 with 25 hits, eight doubles, a triple and 17 RBI. He also started on the football and basketball teams.
Frazier, Sr., SS/P
Fell led Frazier in hitting and pitching. He batted .491 with 26 hits, seven doubles, three triples, four home runs and 23 RBI. He's also one the top pitchers in Section 2-A. He will attend Juniata College to play football.
Belle Vernon, Sr., C
Francia helped Belle Vernon reach the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs by batting .415 with 27 hits, six doubles, seven home runs and 32 RBI in Section 4. He was a four-year starter for the Leopards.
Hempfield, Sr., 1b/P
Martin shined at the plate with a .414 batting average, including 24 hits, nine doubles, a home run and 28 RBI. He also earned five victories on the hill, which included a win against Canon-McMillan in the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals.
Mt. Pleasant, Jr., OF
He led Mt. Pleasant with a .531 batting average, with 34 hits, nine doubles, three triples, a home run and 17 RBI and was one of the top players in Section 2-AAA. He also was a good defensive player.
Franklin regional, Sr., SS
McGrath batted .533 with a team-high 40 hits, seven doubles, two triples and 23 RBI. He also was named the Class AAAA player of the year by the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association.
Penn-Trafford, Jr., P
Smith was one of the top pitchers in Section 2-AAAA. He earned four victories and struck out 50 batters. He also played third base when he wasn't on the mound for the Warriors.
Indiana, Jr., P
Thompson helped Indiana to the Section 4-AAA title and a berth in the WPIAL Class playoffs. He was the team's top pitcher, winning four games and striking out 51. He also batted .414 with 24 hits, two doubles, two triples, a home run and 15 RBI.
Player of the year
Greensburg Salem, senior, pitcher
Jayne Oberdorf and her Greensburg Salem teammates performed with a passion derived from their early union, making a pact to play for a state championship by the time their high school careers had concluded.
With Oberdorf on the mound, they almost did.
The WPIAL Class AAA-champion Golden Lions' 22-3 season ended in the PIAA semifinals with a 1-0 loss to District 10 champ Fort LeBoeuf.
Oberdorf, the WPIAL strikeouts leader who is committed to attend Marist, finished with seven punchouts but walked three and hit a batter in her final high school game.
“It was hard to walk away,” she said, “but after a couple of days, it was all right.”
It might be difficult, too, for coach Jody Morgan to carry on with another run at a title. She said she's confident in her remaining players but Oberdorf and the other seniors will be missed.
“Jayne is the best pitcher in the area, maybe in the state,” Morgan said.
Oberdorf, a right-hander who logged 235 strikeouts to go with 21 of the team's 22 victories, is the repeat winner of the Tribune-Review Softball Player of the Year.
“Jayne is such a smart person, a very, very good softball pitcher,” Morgan said. “Her ball has such movement. She was like my little coach on the field, and the team really looked to her for leadership.”
Your coach said you might be the best high school pitcher in Pennsylvania this year. How do you react to that?
Oh, I don't know. I've just worked really hard to be where I'm at. It's been a long journey, years of practicing and practicing.
What is the reaction from folks when you tell them you'll be playing softball at the Division I level — in the Metro Atlantic Athletic, at Marist?
I always have to say, ‘Marist College, that's in New York.'
What do remember most about your high school career?
Definitely winning the WPIAL championship this year was awesome. One of the best parts were the long bus rides to and from games, too. It was hilarious. I had the best teammates.
What were your first thoughts when Greensburg Salem's season ended with that 1-0 loss to Fort LeBoeuf in the PIAA semifinals?
Well, we should have won that one, but what are you going to do? It was a good season; nothing to hang our heads about.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
For my senior project, I made a line of clothing. I like to make clothes and scarves and do crafty stuff, like that.
Ligonier Valley, Sr., SS
The Kent State University recruit batted .585, scored 32 runs, had seven home runs and added 25 RBI. She helped Ligonier Valley to a runner-up finish in the PIAA District 6 Class AA tournament. Grimm played four sports in high school.
Hempfield, Jr., OF
Kolick was a key player who helped Hempfield reach the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals and the PIAA playoffs. She batted .387, drove in 23 runs and had 24 hits, including three doubles, a triple and four home runs.
Greensburg C.C., Sr., 1B
Lang was Greensburg Central Catholic's power hitter, with five home runs and five doubles. She finished with a .509 batting average with 27 hits and 31 RBI. She helped the Centurions reach the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
Frazier, Sr., SS
Livingstone helped Frazier reach the WPIAL Class A semifinals for the first time. She drove in 42 runs and had a .557 batting average. She finished with 34 hits and more than half were for extra bases. She had 12 doubles, three triples and four home runs.
Greensburg Salem, Jr., CF
Mellinger led Greensburg Salem with a .513 batting average and helped the Golden Lions win the WPIAL Class AAA title. She had 16 RBI and 41 hits, including four doubles and a triple.
Latrobe, Jr., 1B
One of the top players in 1-AAAA, Noel helped Latrobe claim the section title and qualify for the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs. She batted .460, had 27 RBI and finished with 29 hits, including seven doubles and four home runs.
Greensburg Salem, So., SS
Oberdorf hit eight home runs and drove in 23 RBI to help Greensburg Salem win the WPIAL Class AAA title and advance to the PIAA quarterfinals. She hit .463 with 38 hits, including nine doubles and two triples.
Franklin Regional, Sr., OF
Roperti led Franklin Regional in hitting with a .600 batting average. She had 21 hits, including five doubles and a triple. She drove in 11 runs and was one of the top players in Section 1-AAAA.
Penn-Trafford, Jr., C/OF
Zavolta helped Penn-Trafford reach the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs by batting .477 with 31 hits, 11 doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI. She drove in seven runs and hit a grand slam vs. Norwin.