Ujcich, Brooke Looking to Younger Players to Fill Holes
By TRACY WATSON
WELLSBURG — Coming off a 17-11 campaign, Brooke baseball coach Ron Ujcich has some holes to fill, but some nice young players to fill them with.
Graduated from a Bruins team that was ousted by Wheeling Park in the sectional are four-year starter Chad Harper, a catcher and pitcher that has taken his talents to West Liberty, and three-year letterman Fargo Camerlengo at short stop and pitcher who is playing at Wake Tech.
Another infielder, two-year letterman Drew Garrett will need replaced at first base and on the mound while outfielder Matt Lazear, a two-year award winner, has also picked up his diploma.
On the other hand there are four starters returning that Ujcich will rely on to try and help keep the winning ways going at Brooke. Senior Zac Sacripanti was a second-team All-State selection and returns in the outfield and on the hill. Sacripanti batted .411 as a junior with 26 runs scored and 15 RBI while going 4-0 on the bump with a 3.18 ERA.
Junior Nick Leonard returns in the infield and on the mound while classmate Justin Shelton is available in the infield, outfield and as a pitcher and sophomore Luke Beatty takes over behind the plate but can also play third base and pitch. Leonard was 4-3 on the hill with a 2.78 ERA and averaged .289 while chasing home 14 runs.
Shelton batted .279 with nine RBI while Beatty had a fine freshman campaign with a .260 average and 10 RBI.
While there were still battles going on for a few key positions, the four players Ujcich had penciled in to fill the remaining four starting spots are juniors Adam Horvath at third base and Dalton Valero in the outfield and sophomores Nick Langley at second base and Jacob Bailey at first base. Beatty could also see some time behind the plate while all four can also pitch.
“We lost a lot of key starters from last year so we are going to look to our seniors to step up and take over to lead this team,” Ujcich said. “There are still some decisions to make for positions, and we have some good competition taking place for those spots.
“Pitching and defense are always keys to winning games and I feel that if we can throw strikes and make the routine plays behind them on defense we are going to be capable of winning some ball games.
“There are some good starters returning that we are going to turn towards for leadership both on and off the field. The coaching staff is optimistic for the upcoming season as this team continues to develop and work extremely hard.
“I think another key for us is the Disney trip we start the season with that gives us five games under our belts before we return to the valley to open our local schedule.”
Other players that will see playing playing time include seniors Alex Edgell, a three-year letterman, at third base, Chris Turner, a letterman at third base, and Brandon Waugh, a pitcher and infielder who has won a letter. Juniors are pitcher/infielder Justin Pennybacker, Garrett Jackson (pitcher/outfielder), Evan Cuomo (outfielder/pitcher) and Josh Richie (outfielder/infielder/pitcher), who are all lettermen.
Making up the meat of the pitching staff will be Sacripanti, Leonard, Langley, Bailey, Valero, Horvatch, Waugh and Pennybacker.
Ujcich’s coaching staff will include Nick Croce, CJ Besece, Ryan Garbin, Blaine Tennant and Larry Jones.
March 22: at Disney Spring Training (2) TBA
March 23: at Disney Spring Training (2) TBA
March 24: at Disney Spring Training TBA
March 28: Morgantown 5 p.m.
March 29: John Marshall 6:30 p.m.
March 30: at Warren Local 5 p.m.
March 31: at Ripley Tournament 7:30 p.m.
April 1: at Ripley Tournament TBA
April 3: Wheeling Park 5 p.m.
April 5: at Morgantown 5 p.m.
April 6: Oak Glen 6 p.m.
April 7: at University 5 p.m.
April 8: at Parkersburg South (2) 1 p.m.
April 10: at Weir 5 p.m.
April 11: Indian Creek 5 p.m.
April 14: Union Local noon
April 17: at John Marshall 5 p.m.
April 18: at St. Clairsville 5 p.m.
April 19: at Wheeling Park 5 p.m.
April 20: University 5 p.m.
April 22: at Oak Glen noon
April 24: St. Clairsville 5 p.m.
April 25: at East Liverpool 5 p.m.
April 26: at Indian Creek 5 p.m.
April 27: Warren Local 5 p.m.
May 1: Weir 5 p.m.
May 2: at Union Local 5 p.m.
May 4: East Liverpool 5 p.m.