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Monroeville Junior Legion baseball makes debut in Westmoreland County league

Michael Love
| Tuesday, June 7, 2016, 10:42 p.m.

The Monroeville Junior Legion baseball team won four of its first six games as a newcomer in the Westmoreland County league, and head coach Ken Stancovich said it has a chance to do big things this summer.

“The kids have all played together since they were 6 or 7 through Monroeville baseball,” Stancovich said.

“They have come together and are playing good baseball so far.”

The team is made up primarily of 14 and 15 year olds who will be freshmen and sophomores in the Gateway baseball program next year.

“Almost everyone on the team was either on the Gateway JV or freshman team this past spring,” Stancovich said.

Patrick Clark was a freshman this past season at Pittsburgh Central Catholic, and he played in the Vikings program.

Brian Dzuban attended St. Bernadette this past school year and will be a freshman at Central Catholic.

Monroeville joins the Junior Legion ranks as the Senior Legion team folded this spring.

The Junior Legion squad is a mix of players from two travel teams in the Monroeville Baseball Association.

“We wanted to keep them together,” Stancovich said.

“Monroeville baseball reached out to us and asked if we would play in the Junior Legion league (in Westmoreland County). The league has more of the teams the kids will play in high school.”

Stancovich said he hopes the Senior Legion can return with this group as the core.

Pitching, Stancovich said, has been a key to the team's strong start.

“Marc Caggiano, he will be a sophomore at Gateway, probably is the ace of the rotation right now,” Stancovich said.

“He had knee surgery and missed most of the spring season. But he is rounding into form physically and mentally.”

Dzuban, Stancovich said, also is at the top of the rotation, as is Ethan Frenchik

A deep pitching staff, Stancovich said, will be important in the event the schedule late in the season gets clogged up because of any cancelled games having to be rescheduled.

Stancovich said a consistent offense will be important.

“We don't have a lot of power,” he said. “We play a lot of small ball and use our speed to manufacture runs.”

Jordan Stancovich is a spark plug at the top of the order, and coach Stancovich said Troy Caggiano is hitting well.

Clark, Stancovich added, is providing some power in the clean up spot.

Luke Jackson has impressed with his play in the outfield, Stancovich said.

The other team members are Donovan Baxter, Sonny Comunale, Dan Leitholf, Dalton Vojnik and Bryce Washington.

Monroeville was to play at Ligonier Valley and West Hempfield on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

Both games were to be contested past the deadline for this week's edition.

Monroeville returns home next Wednesday to take on Hempfield East.

The game is set for 6 p.m. at Gateway Middle School.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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