West Hempfield Junior Legion prepares for postseason
Despite standing in fifth place in the nine team-Westmoreland County Youth Legion baseball league, West Hempfield is in the unique situation of already having the luxury of looking forward to the playoffs.
With every team earning a berth in the postseason, the squad is hoping to round into form as the playoffs draw near, despite losing its last four games to fall to 3-5.
“When all the kids are there we'll be OK; we can play with anyone in the league. … We have a good core of older kids on the team,” coach Buss Remaley said.
“We feel like we could beat any team. We have not faced a team yet that's really outmatched us,” added leadoff hitter Hayden Fox.
“We have the talent, we just haven't quite put it all together yet.”
Despite the team's inconsistencies, Remaley has been able to allot plenty of playing time to a variety of pitchers in preparation for the playoffs.
“The way I look at it is, because when you get into the playoffs they're best-of-three series and you have to obviously have a lot of pitching,” Remaley said. “Quite a few different guys have pitched.”
West Hempfield has been led on the mound by Jordan Fiedor and Steven Forrai.
Fiedor boasts a 2-0 record with a 0.00 ERA in 11 innings. Meanwhile, Forrai is 1-1 with a similarly microscopic ERA of 1.87.
“Every time he goes out there he throws a great game. … He throws strikes, he gives (the hitters) a chance to put the ball in play and he gives everybody else a chance to get the out,” Fox said of Forrai.
Fiedor has also made plenty of contributions at the plate, batting .588 with three triples and seven RBIs.
Fox has a .467 average and 10 RBIs at the top of the batting order.
“I don't think I was expected coming into the year to lead the team or lead the charge in hitting, but now that I am I think I'm accepting the role,” Fox said.
The team has also been aided by the batting of Cole Rendulic and Nick Schade's .400 and .316 batting averages, respectively.
As the team, composed of players ages 13-15, prepares for the stretch run of the regular season, it hopes to position itself in an advantageous spot in the standings as playoff seeds begin to be determined.
“We're trying to get into a fourth seed or higher. … If you're a higher seed the bracket's a little easier, so we're trying to get as high of a seed as possible,” Fox said.
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.