Norwin, Serra Catholic grads help Bethany baseball get back to playoffs
Ryan Anselmino and Noah Rady grew up playing backyard football and Wiffle ball together. They went off to play college baseball together and have been roommates for the past three years. They also traveled home for the holidays with one another.
So it is only fitting Bethany junior standouts Ryan Anselmino and Noah Rady were named to the Presidents’ Athletic Conference all-conference team together.
“It was definitely special to be put on the second team together,” Anselmino said. “We’re (two) people that are always pushing each other, so it’s more motivation for us to push ourselves even harder for our last year of ball”
The North Huntingdon duo helped lead Bethany (27-16) back to prominence this season. The Bison tied the program record for wins in a season and returned to the PAC tournament for the first time since 2014.
Bethany also reached the PAC championship game for the first time since 2001. The Bison lost to Washington & Jefferson, 8-1, to end the season.
“It was just a real special thing to be a part of,” Anselmino said.
Anselmino, a Serra Catholic grad, might have ended up on the all-PAC second team, but he was the first catcher chosen for postseason honors as no catchers were named to the first team.
“He has a strong arm and is very quick behind the plate,” first-year Bethany coach Justin Thomas said. “He takes good care of his body, which allows him to be durable and have a lot of innings. It’s important to have a talented player, but he also knows what is going on.”
Anselmino earned the respect of his peers by throwing out nine of 25 runners who tried to steal bases this season. Three of those came in one game, a 5-2 victory over W&J. He also tallied 140 putouts and 14 assists.
“He’s intelligent not only on the field, and he carries himself well,” Thomas said. “He’s strong in the physical sense and a very complete baseball player.”
Anselmino was no slacker at the plate, either.
He finished with a .324 batting average, 20 RBIs and 18 runs in 111 at-bats.
“My ultimate goal is to keep working,” Anselmino said. “How can I get the team to the World Series? My whole life, I’ve been a competitive person at everything. I just want to find ways to win and get better all the time.”
Rady also made the best of his first season as a full-time starter. A 2016 Norwin grad, Rady stopped playing varsity baseball after his sophomore season but continued to play AAU travel baseball throughout high school.
“I knew that I had to keep working hard, and I knew that it would all work out if I kept working out and sticking to it,” said Rady.
The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Rady tied the Bethany record for triples with seven while notching five doubles and knocking in 23 runs. He hit .321.
“He’s as fast as a deer,” Thomas said. “He takes long strides and swings the bat well. He can play the outfield, there’s not doubt about it. But going into next year, something he can improve on is his arm strength.”
Thomas feels like Rady could have earned first-team honors if it weren’t for an injury that kept him out of the lineup for six games this season.
“He probably would have been first team if hadn’t gotten hurt,” Thomas said. “Guys like (Rady and Anselmino) make the difference at a high level, and we tied the school record for wins and they were a big part of it.”
William Whalen is a freelance writer.