Three ‘Peat: Baseball is Swinging for their Third Straight WPIAL Title

John Madeira

Seneca Valley baseball is on the quest for something that has never been done in school history before: a third straight WPIAL championship.

Two other teams have been able to pull off the “three peat” in WPIAL history. Pine Richland won three straight AAA titles from 2004-2006, and Allegheny won six straight AAA titles from 1917-1922.

Senior catcher Brad Gresock said “My expectations are nothing less than the best. Our goal is to be the first Seneca Valley team to gain the Triple Crown: Section Champs, WPIAL Champs, and State Champs. Taking one goal at a time, I have no doubt we can achieve this. I plan to be on the bottom of the dog piles this year!”

The Raiders finished atop the WPIAL AAAA Section 1 in 2012 with a record of 19-5 (10-2 in section play). Behind them were the North Allegheny Tigers, followed by Shaler Area, Butler, Pine Richland, Fox Chapel, and North Hills.

The 2103 Raider team has a good chance of joining Pine Richland and Allegheny in the history books largely because of their strong returning senior class.

The Raiders return eight starters from last year’s team that claimed the top spot in WPIAL AAAA with a 5-3 win over the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils.

Last year’s team averaged over seven runs a game for the year while surrendering just over four runs per game. In section play, the Raider pitching staff was even more impressive, surrendering just over three runs a game, while the offense managed to score just over six runs per game, which was tops in Section 1.

For 2013, the Raiders are trying to deal with losing their top two pitchers from their WPIAL title team a year ago. Matt Smith and Zach DeTillio graduated and have continued their careers at Georgetown and IUP, respectively.

Gresock said “Like any team that loses some major players there is some uncertainty. We are only losing our one and two pitchers from last year, and the majority of the starters are returning seniors.  We have phenomenal pitchers that need to step up to be successful. We are all very confident that they will do the job.”

Along with a new season, the Raiders will also be gearing up for a new section in 2013. Joining Section 1 in 2013 is Plum, New Castle, Central Catholic, Gateway, and Franklin Regional.

Gresock said “The realignment of the sections doesn’t create any new challenges, If we can play the way we can with intensity and focus that we have, I am confident that we will come out on top no matter who our opponent is.”

Gresock also said “A three ‘peat would be such a testament to how we have battled and worked not only in the last three years, but over our entire careers. The core group that has been on the team since sophomore year have become inseparable. This bond we have built has transferred to the entire team, which I believe to be a key factor in our success, especially in close games.”

After their high school career, Gresock will join a group of players taking their game to the collegiate level.  Gresock is going to player at St. Bonaventure, shortstop Sam Fragale is playing at Virginia Tech, third basemen Carson Kessler is playing at Slippery Rock, and pitcher Zach Spangler is moving on to Kent State.