June 1st will start the beginning of the Wyoming Valley American Legion Baseball league and Greater Pittston is looking to make an impact.
“This is basically the same team that won the league championship last year, minus a few guys,” said manager Drew Whyte. “Our goal this year is to make the playoffs and hopefully get hot like we did last year.”
Whyte coached Wyoming Area baseball for 26 years so he is familiar with the roster of this Legion team which primarily consists of kids from WA. The 18-man roster shows many young talents that Whyte hopes will lead them to another good playoff run.
“You have 35 days for 21 games so if you don’t have solid pitching then you are in trouble,” said Whyte.
Pitching seems to be one of their strong points with Wyoming Area junior Dylan Maloney taking the mound on day one. Following him will be WA senior Chris Murphy and post-graduate Andre Harris.
The depth of Greater Pittston’s bullpen will be utilized with pitchers Anthony Bellino, Sam Eramo, Erik Walkoviak, and David Drahus – all Wyoming Area products.
“I am confident in our pitching,” said Whyte. “We have some talented kids.”
Without good offense a pitcher’s good outing can be wasted. However this team has great confidence in its hitting.
The lineup is not yet finalized, however the catcher, Pittston Area senior Ron Musto, will most likely be batting cleanup. Also in the mix is Dallas slugger, Traves DeBona who was collected on waivers before the season began.
The team will also sport the talents of Wyoming Area’s Nick O’Brien and Kody Nowicki, two very good hitters that will most likely be playing in the middle of the infield. Another good hitter, WA’s Kyle Colarusso will most likely be seeing covering first. Trent Grove may also be there or he may be behind the plate.
Randy McDermott, a former cleanup hitter for WA, will bring depth to the offense. The outfielders will consist of Matt Carroll, Ryan Casey, PJ Bone, and Cody Poder.
The team will be coached by Joe Sobeski, a former player and winner of the league championship.
While the team has good pitching and offensive depth, Whyte is concerned about one aspect of his teams play.
“We need to catch the ball,” he said. “We can pitch, we can hit, we just need to play good defense.”
Whyte thinks they will be fine and hopes they can all gain something out of this experience.
“I just hope that the kids learn from playing ball and take it into life with them,” he said. “I hope it helps them become better people.”
Greater Pittston opens its season in Tunkhannock on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m.
Sunday Dispatch Intern Bill Riccetti is a senior at Wilkes University.