North Hills baseball hopes bats warm up over time



Saturday April 23, 2022 | 9:01

Jon Pedrosky didn’t have to look far for his new job.

Pedrosky, a psychology professor at North Hills, is in his first season as head coach of the school’s baseball team.

“I was thinking of taking a few years off and then this job opened up and it was one of those things that was hard to pass up, with the kids we have and the community we have,” said said Pedrosky, who coached Deer. Lakes for eight years and spent the past six seasons as an assistant at Central Catholic.

“I got to know a lot of kids,” he said. “That’s what attracted me to this job. And I knew we had a good junior class back.

North Hills’ first game with Pedrosky in the dugout was a far cry from the snow and freezing rain that had gripped much of western Pennsylvania since the start of the baseball season.

The Indians, who finished 6-11 last year, made a trip to Myrtle Beach, playing three games and winning three. It was a necessary trip for a group that was unable to use their home ground, Herb Field in Ross Township, due to poor playing conditions.

“It was awesome,” Pedrosky said of the five-day excursion. “We warmed up for the upcoming season, especially our pitchers. And when it comes to camaraderie, it’s second to none. … And we were lucky to have good weather.

The bonding off the pitch paralleled that which happened on the diamond, particularly after being unable to make such trips for the past two seasons due to covid-19 restrictions.

“These kids haven’t been on a trip,” Pedrosky said. “It was the first time they traveled together. And it’s a nice, tight-knit group. They love each other. And that’s not always the case. It’s nice to bring that closeness a little closer.

North Hills racked up the points in South Carolina, passing Burgettstown, New Brighton and Berks Catholic while scoring 27 points.

But when the team returned to a colder climate, the bats got colder and the results got a bit heartbreaking.

“We lost every game (after we came back from the trip) in the seventh inning,” Pedrosky said.

The Indians lost section games by a single run to Chartiers Valley twice and West Allegheny once, as well as a 10-6 loss to West Allegheny.

” We are here. We are exactly where we need to be, Pedrosky said of the Indians, who won a Class 5A WPIAL title in 2018. “But we have to learn how to win. … We just have to be able to take the next step.

“I think we’re pressing a little on the plate. We hire guys, but we just can’t get the big hits we need. But our presentation was phenomenal.

Junior CJ Leuch and senior Nick Friday, along with top relievers Austin Bakowski and Dylan Barnes, led the way on the mound.

“Game-in and game-out, they just give us the opportunity to win by only allowing two or three points per game,” Pedrosky said. “That’s all you ask of a starting pitcher. We just need to help them a bit more offensively.

Through the first seven games, Barnes was the team’s leading hitter, hitting over .500, including a 7-for-10 mark at Myrtle Beach. Junior Walt Vitovich also hit over .400 early on.

Pedrosky hopes that, as the weather warms up, his group – who haven’t even been able to take their team photo outdoors this year – can make the bats work. His pitching and defensive base seems to be in a decent position.

And he thinks it will help turn tight losses into wins.

“For how hard these kids have worked in the offseason, they deserve better results than what we got,” he said. “We are trying to put in place a new system, and these young people understood it immediately. They adhere to it.

“We are here with these top teams. I think we are close and I think we will get there.

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