Baseball players expect major victories

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Mara Schall

A batter gets ready to swing his bat at a ball at an indoor practice in the Sports Center.

Nick Roth, Staff Writer

Head Coach Todd Williams and the Pitt-Johnstown baseball players have been picked fourth in their conference’s preseason coaches’ poll.

Also, in the Division II preseason poll, they are picked to finish ninth in the Atlantic Region.

The team has high expectations heading into their last season in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Conference.

Junior pitcher Rylan Schnably said they want to go out with a bang, and have the talent to do so.

Next season, the Pitt-Johnstown athletic program is to join the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, the biggest conference in Division II.

The Mountain Cats are a young team with only three seniors and junior captain Kyle Morrow said they’re ready to make a mark.

“We are a very talented team. I really think we’re going to open some eyes in our last season in the conference,” said Morrow.

Morrow made the 2013 Atlantic Region preseason first team. He had a solid .319 batting average last season.

He racked up 53 hits, smashing 14 doubles and launching 12 home runs. He also led the team with 48 runs batted in.

There is at least one obstacle to the team’s success already. Sophomore pitcher Elliot Chamberlain has been indefinitely sidelined with a knee injury.

“It’s a long season so it’s vital the pitching staff stays healthy throughout,” Chamberlain said.

UPJ pitchers Derek Younker, John Fees, Kody Reighard and Rylan Schnably all return to this year’s pitching staff.

Combined, they threw a total of 183 innings last year, with an overall record of 14-13. They have experience that may lead the ballclub to a successful season.

“If we have consistent pitching and make routine plays, we have the ability to score runs and win games,” Schnably said.

“We have a solid line up one through nine, and may have the best hitting team in the conference.”

Morrow said he is looking forward to playing games.

“I believe we are going to come together as a team, and play at our best potential.”

The Mountain Cats look to pick up a pair of wins this Saturday as they travel to play a doubleheader at West Virginia State University.