Trib East baseball 'Players and Teams to watch'
Sam McCarthy, Franklin Regional, Sr., Pitcher
Sean Ritson, Woodland Hills, Sr., Pitcher
Steve Snyder, Plum, Jr., Third baseman
Andrew Tenney, Allderdice, Sr., Center fielder
Greshud Allen, Central Catholic, Sr., Third baseman
Lee Petersavage, West Mifflin, Sr., Pitcher/Infielder
Beau Elliott, Highlands, Sr., Pitcher
Ryan Kwiecinski, McKeesport, Sr., Pitcher
Teams to watch
Franklin Regional (19-4) - returns two standout pitchers in Sam McCarthy and Art Yerecic and some veteran batters, but struggled with the bats and the gloves in the first few games this season. The Panthers are one of many contenders behind favorite Indiana.
This section ended in a five-way tie for first a year ago and looks balanced again.
McKeesport (12-9) - The Tigers have two solid starters in Ryan Kwiecinski and Derrick Kugler, and a solid defense but must hit better.
Plum (10-10) - has no seniors who lettered a year ago, but should have a solid lineup led by three juniors - center fielder Matt Cassidy, third baseman Steve Snyder and shortstop Rick Paese. The pitching is even younger, so it is a question mark.
Woodland Hills (12-8) - has two strong pitchers in Sean Ritson and Mike Rhoten and a good hitter in center fielder Jim Romano.
Penn Hills (7-11) - has a new coach in Matt Brash and a veteran catcher in third-year starter John Cerra.
Knoch should again be the favorite even with Justin Woodrow gone to graduation and the St. Louis Cardinals' minor-league system.
Kittanning (11-7) returns three solid hitters in third baseman Brad Patton, outfielder Geo Reppard and pitcher/outfielder Nathan Sumy
Central Catholic (10-10) - is new to what should be a very tough section. The team's top player is all-section third baseman Greshud Allen.
West Mifflin (14-7) - returns six starters from last year's team, led by all-section pitcher/infielder Lee Petersavage.
Allderdice (12-7) - could be a contender and has played well so far, but some key players are injured and others did not come out. All-City League outfielder Andy Tenney is back in center field, as is junior left-handed pitcher Vance Hall. Freshman Jason Mesko could also make an impact pitching.
Players to watch
Mark Dzanaj, Burrell, Senior, Shortstop
Bob Reifschneider, Burrell, Junior, Pitcher/First baseman
Mark Homonai, East Allegheny, Sr., Second base
Eli Friedman, Shady Side Academy (Squirrel Hill resident), Sr., Pitcher
Greg Samson, Deer Lakes, Sr., Outfielder
Chris Lucas, South Allegheny, Sr., Shortstop
Teams to watch
Burrell (17-7) - is the favorite, with three good arms in pitchers Greg Mazzei, Bob Reifschneider and Tim Eckman. Shortstop Mark Dzanaj is a leader offensively and with his glove.
Deer Lakes (5-12) - returns 11 lettermen, including American Legion all-star outfielder Greg Samson, last year's top hitter in Joe Switalski and pitcher John Katich.
Shady Side Academy should be the favorite with a strong pitching staff that features Squirrel Hill resident Eli Friedman.
South Allegheny (11-9) - features all-section shortstop Chris Lucas and returns some solid pitchers.
Elizabeth Forward (6-11) - could improve with eight starters back and a move down from Class AAA. Part of that group is third-year starting catcher Jason Stolarz, who opened the season injured.
East Allegheny (8-9) - has been a perennial playoff contender, but has a new coach in Frank Szatkowski. The Tigers return seven starters, led by all-section second baseman Mark Homonai and twin brothers Drew Charrie, a catcher, and Tony Charrie, the team's ace pitcher.
Players to watch
Zach Englert, Serra Catholic, Sr., Outfielder
Robert Pool, Serra Catholic, Sr., Pitcher/First baseman
Phil Sabatini, Riverview, Sr., Catcher
Gino DeFalco, Riverview, Sr., Pitcher
David Goedicke, Leechburg, Sr., Pitcher/First baseman
Teams to watch
Riverview (7-9) - is a strong favorite despite a couple of early defeats. New Raiders coach Rich Griser has a star catcher in Phil Sabatini, an impressive hitter in junior Luke Cunkelman and some solid arms in pitchers Gino DeFalco and Brandon Federici.
Leechburg (11-6) - has a new/old coach in Bob Oberdorf, who retook the job after leaving for two seasons. The Blue Devils' key player is first baseman/pitcher David Goedicke.
Springdale (4-16) could move up with six starters back, including the entire pitching staff.
St. Joseph (11-7) - lost most of last year's playoff team to graduation or transfers.
Wilkinsburg dropped its program and Jeannette is new to the section.
Clairton (6-7) - should be improved with only two players from last year lost to graduation.
Favorite Greensburg Central Catholic took a key loss when shortstop Warren Schaeffer was lost to a knee injury.
Serra Catholic (10-5) is also a top contender for a section championship and already has a victory over a good Riverview team. Senior pitcher/first baseman Robert Pool, senior outfielder Zach Englert and junior shortstop Larry Christinas are standouts for the Eagles.