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Experienced Pine-Richland baseball team with a lot of players is trying to win another section title

In the past few years, a group of young Pine-Richland baseball players has helped to win two section championships in a row.

In the past few years, a group of young Pine-Richland baseball players helped win two section championships in a row.

Now, those players are older and have a lot of experience, so they are ready to go for a third section title.

The coach, Kurt Wolfe, said that the players understand what is expected of them and the team's culture. They have also played a lot of varsity baseball in Western Pennsylvania, where the level of talent has increased over the years. Wolfe is excited to have players who have been in important games, not only in the section but also in the playoffs.

The team has four starters returning on the field from last year's team, which reached the Class 6A semifinals and lost to the eventual WPIAL champion, Mt. Lebanon.

Peyton Ford, who played right field, will move to center field after Jacob McGuire graduated. Anthony Mengine is back in left field, Tanner Cunningham at second base, and Jake Waddell at first base.

Tommy Zimmerman, who was the designated hitter last year, is injured at the beginning of the season.

There are also four experienced pitchers on the team: juniors Tristan Farrar, Keegan Deihl, Noah Mackie, and senior Nathan Kush.

The team has a large number of pitchers.

Wolfe said, “Those four guys pitched a lot of innings for us last year. We also have a couple of left-handed pitchers, Tyler Vogel and Reece Rupert, who we really like. They will compete for starting positions. We also have sophomore Drew Boivin, who has a strong throwing arm. We're considering him as a closer or even a starter. Chase Caricato, a senior, is another pitcher we like. We have other pitchers, but these eight will get most of the playing time.

Sam Heckert is the new catcher. Wolfe described him as a natural leader with a tough attitude behind the plate.

Danny Pedersen, who played third base last year, will move to shortstop. Anthony Annichine and Boivin will cover third base. Annichine is a left-handed hitter, and Boivin is a right-handed hitter, which gives the coaches flexibility for different matchups. Sophomore Logan Plummer will play right field and can also pitch if needed.

With Zimmerman injured, two sophomores, Ben Husted and Evan Johnston, will take turns as designated hitters.

Cody Cutone, Thomas Kapanowski, Ryan Grebinoski, and Gavin Stugart will be utility players. Wolfe said each one can play in different positions.

In the second year of Class 6A playing three-game series against section opponents, the Rams are in Section 1 with North Allegheny, Butler, Seneca Valley, and Allderdice.

Wolfe liked the format of the three-game series and is looking forward to it again.

Wolfe said, “I think we really improved as a team and coaching staff managing those three-game series last year. It's enjoyable. You have to make decisions that you probably wouldn't have to make in a two-game series. You need depth, and with our eight pitchers, we feel that's a big advantage. Besides our starters, I think we have players who can really help from the bench, whether it's pinch-hitting or pinch-running. I believe we have more depth than ever before.

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