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Author: Jim Chester

A tale of two seasons ….

Hello All!

On March 21st, our program lost two very tough games to NAIA’s #9 ranked Point Park Pioneers. Our young men were down, and understandably so with the recent fortunes. I tried to explain to all them that our season was a marathon, not a sprint. Fast forward 2 1/2 weeks we have now set a school record after winning 14 ina row! One of the most memorable wins came last week when Sophomore Sam Weightman hit 2-run walk-off HR vs Clark State! Check out the link below!

Sam Weightman’s Walk-Off

This Sunday we host PSU-Hazleton is a PSUAC match-up that will have playoff implications. More importantly we are holding an event to raise cancer awareness. Our program will be wearing pink jerseys, wristbands, and shoelaces. The Cure Baseball and many differnt members of campus will be attending for this great cause ! Here is the release:

The baseball and softball programs and the Collegian will be joining the fight against cancer alongside The Cure Baseball.A rare form of leukemia has tragically taken away the life of Muzammil“Muz” Mehkri, a student at Penn State Greater Allegheny who was studying nuclear engineering. His unexpected passing has made many of his friends and students want to raise cancer awareness using fundraising events.

 Alex Pulaka of The Cure Baseball has agreed to help Penn State Greater Allegheny with a fundraising event that will take place April 15th, 2012.The Cure Baseball is a “nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial, emotional and moral support to people and families affected by cancer through a traveling summer collegiate baseball team, support group programs, a scholarship fund and donations to prestigious cancer research groups.”
The baseball and softball programs of Penn State Greater Allegheny will play against Penn State Hazleton at 12 pm and 2 pm at Woodland Hills High School on Sunday, April 15th, 2012. Players for Penn State Greater Allegheny will be wearing pink jerseys in honor of those with cancer or those who have had their lives taken away from cancer. They also will be sporting The Cure Baseball logo and also “Muz” will be placed on their jersey. The day also serves as Senior Day for the baseball team. All proceeds from the event will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
For more information about the event, please contact Jim Chester, Director of Athletics and Head Baseball Coach, at jjc32@psu.edu and 412-675-9460, or Enrollment Management Officer and Head Softball Coach, Amanda Maksin at alm452@psu.edu and 412-675-9017.

Fun in the Sun !

The Penn State Greater Allegheny baseball program wrapped a successful week at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL. This was the first year at the facility, and our program came away very impressed. Everything associated with the Vero Beach Sports Village was 1st class. In a strange twist, Peter O’Malley, Hideo Nomo,and Chan Ho Park were spending time at the facility for various reasons.

Were finished the week 6-4 overall (5-4 Varsity/ 1-0 JV).  This was the most challenging southern schedule we have played to date, and our young men met it with full force! For the first time our program was able to defeat perennial USCAA power Apprentice, and we also were able to take 3 of 4 from 2011 USCAA World Series participant Rochester College (MI). On our day off we spent the day at the New York Mets Spring Training facility where I was able to meet up with former teammate Ryan Ellis. Ryan is currently the High A manager in the Mets system. It was great to catch up with him, and to have him address our team.  Below are the recaps from each day in Vero Beach, FL !

Sunday March 4

http://psugaathletics.com/sports/bsb/2011-12/releases/201203040f62g2

Monday March 5

http://psugaathletics.com/sports/bsb/2011-12/releases/201203058t9lno

Tuesday March 6

http://psugaathletics.com/sports/bsb/2011-12/releases/20120306wqjw0f

Thursday March 8

http://psugaathletics.com/sports/bsb/2011-12/releases/201203081v7efg

Friday March 9

http://psugaathletics.com/sports/bsb/2011-12/releases/20120309qudfdc

Saturday March 10

http://psugaathletics.com/sports/bsb/2011-12/releases/20120311rkzxvc  —- Always great to ride 18 hours in a bus after a WIN !

We are back in action on Friday and Saturday, when we play host to USCAA foes Southern Virginia and SUNY Canton.

3 Days Away …….

Hello college baseball fans ! This has been a winter to remember. In my thirteen years as member of college baseabll circle (player/coach) I have never been able to participate in a game or practice outside the cozy confines of a gymnasium. I  know many of you will read that and shrug your shoulders asking yourself “What is the big deal?” I am pretty sure all of you have not coached in Pittsburgh!

Over the past two weeks, we had the honor of playing traditionally one of the top teams in NCAA Diviion II California University of PA (currently 3rd the Division II Atlantic region poll), holding 2 outdoor practices, and playing a 9 inning intrasquad. In my six years as a head coach we have never been this prepared to go to Florida.

The Cal game was one of the best experiences I have had as a head coach. First of all we had an opportunity to play a great opponent, in mid February, in a great facility (Consol Energy Park). We unfortunately lost the contest 9-1, but we played pretty well with it being our first time outside. Here is a full release to the game: http://www.psugaathletics.com/sports/bsb/2011-12/releases/20120220cqto9h

Our program departs for Vero Beach, FL on Friday with some great news. For a second consecutive year, we were picked to win our conference by all of the head coaches. I can’t stress enough to our young men that championships are not won in February, but who is playing the best baseball in early May.

That is it from me, I will try to get something out while we are in the sun !

2012 campaign is right around the corner……..

Hello everyone! My name is Jim Chester, head baseball coach at Penn State Greater Allegheny. I am very excited for the opportunity to be a blogger for College Baseball Lineup.

The 2012 season is right around the corner, and practice is in full swing in McKeesport, PA. Our pitchers threw 25 pitch bullpens, while our hitters have been getting a lot of swings in! Our young men did a great job last week with some early morning conditioning!

Check below for our 2012 Season Preview – courtesy of Bryan Rhodes

2012 Baseball Preview

 McKeesport, Pa- After a record-breaking 2011 season, the Penn State Greater Allegheny Baseball team enters the 2012 season looking to build on its championship season. A 30-13-1 record, highlighted by going a stellar 18-1 in the PSUAC, produced GA’s first PSUAC Tournament Championship, and second straight PSUAC League Championship. The team also qualified for their fourth straight USCAA Small-College World Series appearance, finishing an all-time best, 3rd. As a team, they set new GA records in both Triples (15) and Home Runs (17) on offense, as well as strikeouts (337) in pitching. They also set the mark for most consecutive wins both in conference and overall, at 10 straight. Head Coach Jim Chester would be named the PSUAC Coach of the Year, and would also take home the 2011 Chuck Tanner Collegiate Manager of the Year award.
Starting in the outfield, GA returns 2 of last year’s trio, including reigning PSUAC Player of the Year, Sophomore Zak Schmidt (Moon). Junior Mike Visloski (West Allegheny) is the other key returnee, hoping to regain his 2010 form, where he .595 as a Freshman. Several other players will vie for the open left field position, including returning Sophomores Tyler Kugler (Serra Catholic) and Doug Walter (Central Catholic). Three Freshmen- Aaron Maze (Elizabethtown), Zach Zeroski (West Allegheny) , and Cole Quattrone (Elizabeth Forward) – will look to compete with Kugler and Walter for that spot. “I am very excited to watch this group develop and grow, as well seeing the intense competition for the left field spot”, comments Head Coach Jim Chester.

On the infield, GA will look to fill holes at the third base and shortstop positions. Senior Ted Fricke (Carrick) anchors the infield and line-up, returning for his final season as the second baseman for the Lions. Fricke was named to the USCAA All-American Honorable Mention Team and 1st Team PSUAC All-Conference Team, last season. Power-hitting first baseman Adam Wehr (Northwestern) returns to sure-up the right side of the GA infield. Wehr was named 2nd Team PSUAC All-Conference in 2011. Returning Sophomore Sam Weightman (Penn Trafford) will look to back-up at first base, and possibly solidify the DH role. Sophomore Kevin Quinn (West Mifflin) will back-up at second base, and will man the position while Fricke is pitching. Junior Jason Paris (Chartiers Houston) returns from injury in 2011, hoping to build on strong 2010 numbers, where he hit .372 with 15 Doubles, 1 Triple, and 3 Home Runs. Paris will look to lock down the third base job, while competing with three incoming Freshmen – Tyler Thellman (Blackhawk), Aaron McGee (Penn Trafford), and Oliver Girman (Serra Catholic) – to fill in the remaining spots in the infield. “Our infield is as, if not more, talented than any in my tenure. I look for this group to make all the routine plays and to put up big offensive numbers.”

Behind the plate, returnee Sophomore Bill Hodgetts (West Mifflin) will compete with Junior Josh Kubisz (Goose Creek), and first-year players, Junior Mike Pryor (CCAC-Boyce) and Freshman Clay Groff (Allderdice), for playing time behind the dish. Kubisz returns after posting a .283 batting average in 2010, where he drove in 27 Runs and hit 2 Home Runs. “This is the deepest and most talented group our program has seen. Competition will emerge great play from behind the plate.”

Pitching and pitching depth both were strong points for the 2011 GA squad, and the 2012 season sets up to continue that trend. 2011 1st Team PSUAC All-Conference performer, Senior Jonathan Lutz (West Mifflin), is the ace of the staff. Lutz posted a 5-2 record in 2011, tossing 55 innings and striking out 54 batters. Ted Fricke will also see time on the hill, where last season he won a team-leading 8 games. Fricke threw 48 innings, striking out 61 hitters in that span. Soft-tossing lefty, Sophomore Tim Connelly (Woodland Hills), returns to round out the top half of the staff, after firing a no-hitter in last year’s USCAA World Series against Robert Morris-Springfield. Connelly went 5-3 in 2011, striking out 43 batters in 43 innings. Adam Wehr will also see some innings, with returning Sophomore Brian Balagurchik (Notre Dame Academy), Mike Pryor, and Freshmen Eddie Emes (New Brighton), Aaron McGee, and Oliver Girman looking to add strong depth to the GA pitching staff. “We traditionally have had one of the best staffs in the conference, and this group will continue to carry on the tradition.”

GA will play a strenuous 40 game schedule, featuring four teams that participated in the 2011 USCAA Small-College World Series – Apprentice (VA), Briarcliff (NY), Rochester (MI), and Southern Virginia (VA) – with the season beginning March 4th in Vero Beach, Florida. Perennial USCAA power Southern Virginia visits GA in mid-Match, followed by a match-up with NAIA competitor, SUNY-Canton (NY). GA then visits nationally ranked Point Park, before getting into its PSUAC schedule. Sandwiched amongst the conference slate, GA hosts former USCAA World Series participants Clark State (OH) and Cincinnati-Clermont (OH). “We return a strong core from our 2011 championship team, but championships are not won in January. I strongly believe that if this group continues to work hard and can develop the right chemistry, then we can achieve the same 2011 success, and more.”