QZ93 Sports

Indians baseball learning on the fly

In Baseball, Conemaugh Township, District 5, WestPAC on March 22, 2009 at 6:00 am

The Conemaugh Township baseball team’s going to be quite diverse this year.

A recipe for success in Davidsville will have to include a couple of seniors, a few juniors, a sophomore or two, and a couple of freshmen.

While there’s some inexperience on the Indians, who start their season Tuesday at Ferndale, coach Sam Zambanini contends the team’s focus never wavers.

“We always have high expectations and lofty goals,” said Zambanini, whose team lost its top two pitchers from a season ago. “It’s kind of different this year with all the inexperience. But we still come in with the same goals every year, and we want to make the playoffs. We’re hoping that we can have a shot at defending the WestPAC title. Just because we are inexperienced, it doesn’t mean we’ll lower our standards.”

The WestPAC North champion Indians topped Meyersdale for the conference crown last year and fell to Northern Bedford in the semifinals of the District 5 Class A tournament. Last year’s 18-4 team was a powerhouse, with Sam Watkins leading the way on the mound and at the plate. This year, the Indians will be built a bit differently, and will be looking for contributions throughout the roster.

“We are going to have to manufacture some runs this year,” said Zambanini in an interview with QZ93 Sports. “Last year, we had guys that could hit it out of the park. This year, we’ll have to play pretty good defense because our pitching may not be as dominant. We’ll have to catch the ball and throw the ball a little more than we did last year.”

The Indians do return quality players in seniors Jarod Nanna and Nick Croyle, and each will be expected to help the team offensively as well as on the mound. Nanna, who will likely bat third and play center field, has accounted for better than 30 hits in each of the past two seasons and will be a fourth-year starter this year.

Croyle, meanwhile, is a versatile player who can lineup anywhere in the infield. Conemaugh Township will also be looking for pitching and power from junior Mike Lysic. Having the leadership of the upperclassmen will be needed for the Indians, who are expecting to get help from a freshman class that’s 10 players strong.

“We know that if we’re to have success, those (freshmen) will have to contribute and we know they can do it,” Zambanini said. “Whether they are confident at this level remains to be seen.”

Coach Zambanini’s nephew, junior Kyle Zambanini, is projected to be the team’s No. 1 pitcher, and is the lone lefty in the starting rotation. He was the No. 3 starter a year ago. Croyle and Nanna will also be called upon to pitch, as will sophomore Joe Roman and freshman Jordan Shroyer.

With the young players in the lineup, there’s still plenty to sort out for Coach Zambanini, and he’ll be counting on early season games to put this year’s team on the right track.

“With the inexperience we have, all the games are important in the beginning to see who is playing where and how it will shake out,” he said. “Hopefully we can come out on top and get the inexperienced guys some confidence.”

BY MATT JORDAN
matt@qz93sports.com

Note: This is the third in a series profiling baseball teams around Somerset County and the WestPAC.

Rosters, schedule and statistics for Conemaugh Township baseball (MaxPreps)

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