Kiski Area graduates take different paths in search of success
Though on the same baseball team this summer, Kiski Area grads Eric Weyant and Logan Brown embodied a tale of two seasons.
Weyant thrived at shortstop for Delweld in the All American Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA) Johnstown League to such a degree that coach Chris DelSignore described him as one of two “motors of the team.”
Brown, an outfielder and right-handed pitcher, never left the repair shop. Tommy John surgery was to blame.
The duo belonged to a team that needed one more victory to claim the AAABA national championship. Delweld advanced to the finals of the double-elimination tournament in Johnstown last weekend, but it lost back-to-back games to Baltimore.
“He and our second baseman (Ian Helsel) were our two catalysts, and we kind of went along as they went,” DelSignore said of Weyant, who had a .352 batting average and a .493 on-base percentage in the regular season as the team's leadoff batter.
“We knew before the season that there was no chance of Logan being physically able to play, but a credit to him, he made the trip into Johnstown to support his teammates on numerous occasions. He was a good teammate from that aspect.”
Weyant, a 2011 Kiski Area graduate, and Brown, a 2012 graduate, began playing in the Johnstown league in 2011.
DelSignore recruited them — the Delweld team draws from a six-county area that includes Westmoreland.
This summer was one of the best seasons in team history, but Delweld failed to become the first Johnstown representative to win the national tournament that has been in Johnstown annually for 69 years — Delweld was the sixth Johnstown team to reach the finals.
“(Winning the title) would've been above and beyond anything I could ever want, especially going against that level of competition,” Weyant said. “I don't even know how I'd describe that if we did it.”
Baltimore, which came back from the loser's bracket to win the tournament, was led by Ryan Ripken, the son of former Orioles standout Cal Ripken Jr.
“The competition is really good,” Brown said of the AAABA.
“I've never experienced anything like it.”
Said Weyant: “It's certainly as good as talent comes around here. I can't think of any better leagues. In the national tournament, you play teams like Baltimore that have all guys that are Division I, so it's kind of a big step. … I think the one thing about Ryan Ripken is he was such a humble and nice kid, just really down to earth.”
Weyant will look to carry his successful summer into the fall as he returns to Allegheny, where he started in 26 games last season as a sophomore.
Brown looks forward to a clean slate at Slippery Rock, which he transferred to after a frustrating freshman year at Youngstown State.
During the summer after Brown graduated from Kiski Area, Youngstown State replaced baseball coach Rich Pasquale with Steve Gillispie. That started a chain of events that soured Brown's experience with the Penguins.
“For pretty much every player that was there before, it was like a fire sale,” Brown said. “Everybody left. They brought in tons of guys. They just wanted to do it a different way, I guess.”
Brown stuck with the Penguins, but midway through the spring season, he tore a ligament in his right elbow.
“I couldn't even throw 10 yards,” said Brown, whose surgery was in May.
After the end of his freshman year, Brown wanted to transfer. With its proximity to home and its strong reputation at the Division II level, Slippery Rock was a top choice.
Brown said he likely will need nine to 12 months to fully recover from the surgery. Still, he's eager to join the Rock — he'll do so as a redshirt freshman.
“It's going to be awesome to be part of a competitive team,” Brown said. “I'm definitely more excited for this year than last year.”