Inconsistency plagues Seneca Valley baseball team
Usually around this time, Seneca Valley's baseball team gears up for a run at another WPIAL Class AAAA championship.
That's not the case this year as the Raiders failed to reach the postseason for the first time since 2010. They followed that absence with a four-year run of title game appearances and three championships. Last year's squad was eliminated in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
“It's not necessarily frustrating, but it's just not what we're used to — not being able to put a product out on the field that is consistent,” Seneca Valley coach Eric Semega said. “A lot of things this year have just not been consistent.”
The Raiders (5-12) hoped to challenge for a title in a difficult Section 1. Instead, the team wound up in last place with a 2-8 mark. Seneca Valley fell victim to close games in section play. They dropped all five of their section games decided three runs or less.
“It just all comes down to giving ourselves an opportunity to win. We haven't done that very often this year,” Semega said. “We've been losing games this year by giving gifts and not being able to produce. Add in the fact that we are so young, and that puts things into perspective.”
For example, the Raiders received a strong pitching performance from freshman Corey Greiner against North Hills in a 10-1 loss. Greiner had a no-hitter and a 1-0 lead through five innings. But Seneca Valley failed to produce more offense, and the Indians rallied late for the win.
“Corey gave us a great opportunity to win,” Semega said. “We had runners on first and second in the bottom of fifth, and we were not able to execute a bunt. We couldn't score more.
“They came out in the sixth and got some hits.”
The Raiders hoped to close the season with some more nonsection wins to add to their 5-12 overall mark. Once they wrapped up their section slate with a 2-1 setback to Butler, they had games remaining against Plum, Allderdice and Montour.
“After we lost to NA, we talked about finishing the year right. We had two weeks left and not really a meaningful game left, in terms of playoffs,” Semega said. “I told the seniors and upperclassmen they need to finish the year right. I will do whatever I can to honor their loyalty and contributions; they'll still play.
“I told the younger kids and those who maybe haven't had a lot of chances that this is an opportunity to show what they can do for next year. If you hit, you're going to play. Unfortunately, very few people have stepped up consistently.”
The Raiders hope to get back to the playoffs next season.
“I think everyone learns from failure more than success, and we've had our share of failure this year,” Semega said. “Being exposed to that and having seen how high the bar is raised will give them a little more understanding coming back next year.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.