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Bridgeville, Chartiers Valley players suit up for Super Colt, Colt teams

| Saturday, June 10, 2017, 1:45 a.m.

The Bridgeville area will be well-represented in the Chartiers Valley Baseball League this season.

Bridgeville will have two teams competing in the summer season — a Super Colt team (19U) and a Colt team (17U).

Many of the players on the Super Colt team were members of the Chartiers Valley/South Fayette American Legion baseball team a year ago. But because of a cutoff in the age limit for American Legion teams, the CVSF squad would have lost a number of players.

“Half the team couldn't have played,” manager Joe Verduci said. “There also was a lack of local teams in Legion. We would have had to drive all over the city to play games. So a couple of other teams in the (CVBL) were in the same situation. We played those teams for four to six years.”

The Super Colt team plays a schedule with Keystone Oaks, Moon and Quaker Valley. There is hope the league will grow to include other teams in future seasons.

Bridgeville's pitching staff should be a strength with Chris Cannon, Jake Windsheimer, Nick McCollough, Rob Baumgarten, Spencer Carlson and Matt Colton — who plays for the Bethany team — all bringing experience to the mound. McCollough played on Kent State's club team.

“We have a couple guys who can pitch if we are in a tight schedule,” Verduci said. “We are playing some weeks with three or four games right now without any rain outs so far.”

The rest of the field is pretty flexible. The team has a number of versatile players who can fill multiple roles.

“My son Joe typically plays shortstop,” Verduci said. “But if he isn't there for some reason, we have two or three guys who can fill the spot.”

The team's hitting has the chance to power the team to success. With a blend of players who can get on base consistently and power hitters, Bridgeville will be swinging for the fences.

“(Colton) crushes the ball,” Verduci said. “We have a lot of guys who set up our power hitters. Shane Waldron and my son Joe are able to get on base. (McCollough) and (Carlson) are able to hit the gaps and drive them home.”

Bridgeville started the season with a 5-2 win over Keystone Oaks on May 22. Colton picked up the win with McCollough coming on in relief for two innings.

For a large portion of the team, this is the last year they will play in the league. While the team is expecting a strong season, they are mostly looking forward to having one more summer of making memories with their friends on the diamond.

“These guys don't have to play,” Verduci said. “But they do because the love the game. Winning a trophy doesn't matter. They just love baseball. They have come back from college and want to play one more year since they are all good friends.

“I have coached some of these boys since they were 4 years old in T-ball. I loved seeing them grow into young adults.”

Colt baseball

Verduci also will manage the Colt team, made up of players from the varsity and junior varsity teams at Chartiers Valley in the spring. Many of the players have been through CVBL seasons before, making the Bridgeville team an experienced unit.

“This is the third year they have been in the league,” Verduci said. “We added a few 15 year olds. We are excited about this team. We are deep in pitching and have a lot of good players on defense. Twelve of the 17 players on the roster played for Chartiers Valley this past spring.”

The pitching staff should be deep and carry the team through the summer. Jacob Lindow, James Lindow, Tyler Coleman, David Verduci and P.J. Massella will all see the mound.

“Austin Abel is one of our younger kids who did a dynamite job against Moon in four innings,” Verduci said. “Zach Williams is a guy who can get us out of a jam. If I need one out, I can call on him.”

Flexibility will also be key with the Colt team. Coleman is a presence at third base, while Donovan Kinnee and Abel shore up the middle of the infield. Both Jacob and James Lindow can fill in at catcher.

Aidan Krieg has shown good things at first base but can pitch if needed.

“David (Verudci) and Zach Williams have speed in the outfield,” Verduci said. “This is when players start maturing and hitting longer hits. Their speed is tremendous in helping with that.”

The team has the potential to be lethal at the plate.

“Our first six or seven guys can really hit the ball,” Verduci said. “Austin Abel has had two or three doubles so far. The Lindow boys are our third and fourth hitters, and both are exceptional. Even younger guys like Donovan and Luke Mongelli have been solid.”

The Colt team plays in the East Division of the CVBL. The schedule also includes CIT, Keystone Oaks, Moon, Mt. Lebanon 1 and Mt. Lebanon 2. The West Division is made up of Avonworth, Fort Cherry, Quaker Valley, South Side Beaver, Sto-Rox and West Allegheny.

The Colt team opened with a 3-0 record with wins over Mt. Lebanon 1 (15-8), Moon (10-7) and Avonworth (11-1).

There is a focus on getting better for the high school season. Verduci has contacted Colts coach Curt Cairns to see if certain players need to focus on particular areas, and Cairns stopped out to watch the team play early in the season.

“We want to see if there was anything from the high school season they need to work on,” Verduci said. “If they improve from the first day to the last day of the recreation season while they enjoy the game of baseball, I think we accomplished our goal.”

Nathan Smith is a freelance writer.

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