Seneca Valley shortstop Sam Fragale is one of several key players returning for the Raiders in 2013.
EAGLE FILE PHOTO
The Seneca Valley baseball team has won back-to-back WPIAL Quad-A championships. Raiders coach Eric Semega sees no reason why his team can’t make it three in a row. “We have the nucleus of our entire team back,” he said. It won’t be easy, however. Seneca Valley lost its top two pitchers, Matt Smith and Zach DeTillio, to graduation. That will leave a void that seniors Zach Spangler and Jason Martin and junior Connor Coward will have to fill if the Raiders dream of a three-peat can be realized. “The pitchers are inexperienced, but physically talented,” Semega said. “We have a lot of good pitchers. “Our goals are the same: to contend for a section title and get into the playoffs and see what happens. It’s worked for us.” While the pitching could be an early question mark, the other areas of the team are solid, Semega said. Senior speedster Jon Dorogy returns to center field as the anchor of the team both in the field and at the plate. Sam Fragale is also back at shortstop, where he provides a steady glove and a dominating presence at the plate. “Offensively, we’re going to be better than we were last year,” Semega said. “And defensively, we’re actually going to be stronger.” The Mars baseball team also is coming off a strong season in 2012. The Planets won the section title, but lost in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs. Mars hasn’t won a WPIAL playoff game since 1998. That could change this year as the Planets have one of the best pitchers in the WPIAL in David Bednar, who already has committed to play Division I baseball at Lafayette College. Bednar went 7-2 with a 1.23 ERA last season. One of those wins was a no-hitter and he struck out 65 while issuing only 17 walks. Also back is catcher Matt Eperesi, who has committed to play baseball at Indiana (Pa.) University. Eperesi has batted over .400 the last two seasons. Eperesi also will see some time on the mound. There are question marks at the corner infield spots where coach Brian Hobaugh is still searching for every day starters. Still, Hobaugh said he sees no reason why Mars will regress. “We won the section last year,” Hobaugh said. “And we have the nucleus from that team back.” Seneca Valley • Coach: Eric Semega, 13th year • On the mound: Zach Spangler (senior), Connor Coward (junior), Jason Martin (senior) • In the field: C-Brad Gresock (senior), John Paul Gonzalez (junior); 1B-Spangler; 2B-Gonzalez; 3B-Carson Kessler (senior); SS-Sam Fragale (senior); OF-Martin, Jon Dorogy (senior), Coward Mars • Coach: Brian Hobaugh, fifth year • On the mound: Dave Bednar (senior), Nathan Furl (junior), Colin Hershman (senior), Matt Eperesi (senior) • In the field: C-Eperesi; 1B-unknown; 2B-Alex Smith (senior); 3B-unknown); SS-Kevin Giallonardo (senior); OF-Ben Erdahl (senior), Josh Bartley (junior), Matt Parrish (junior)