Hot start has Con­estoga out in front of Cen­tral League

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - Peter DiGio­vanni Colum­nist

There have been many fast starts this scholas­tic base­ball sea­son, but maybe none more im­pres­sive than that of the Con­estoga Pi­o­neers.

Con­estoga is 5-0 and at the top of the Cen­tral League race, hav­ing with­stood the tur­moil caused by the foot­ball haz­ing in­ci­dent and sub­se­quent res­ig­na­tion of head coach John Vo­gan. Vo­gan was also head foot­ball coach and for the last 13 years has turned the Pi­o­neer base­ball pro­gram into one of the best in the state. Con­estoga cap­tured the 2010 PIAA Class AAAA ti­tle and went to the fi­nals again in 2014 be­fore los­ing a heart­breaker to La Salle.

En­ter ju­nior var­sity coach Kevin Pechin, who has been with the pro­gram for more than 15 years, in­clud­ing in 2003, when var­sity coach Darien Thread­g­ill was re­lieved of his

du­ties half­way through the sea­son. Pechin came in and di­rected Con­estoga to the Dis­trict 1 Class AAA ti­tle and into the PIAA playoffs.

This Con­estoga group has shown its re­silience on its way to a 5-0 mark, de­feat­ing Gar­net Val­ley and Haver­ford along the way, two teams that fig­ured to battle the Pi­o­neers for the Cen­tral League crown. The Pi­o­neers are led by Tim Miller, who is al­ready 2-0 on the mound and hit­ting .545 at the plate. Miller is the leader of the team and along with a po­tent lineup, heads the best pitch­ing staff in the Cen­tral League along­side se­nior Mark An­der­son and ju­nior Angus Mayock.

Con­estoga is get­ting the pitch­ing it ex­pected, but the Pi­o­neers are also scor­ing a ton of runs. In their first five wins, Con­estoga has av­er­aged a more than seven runs per game, and the lineup is pro­duc­ing top to bot­tom, with Miller, Tom Fog­a­rty, Luke Czepiel, Alex Lee and Greyson Avots lead­ing the charge.

So, although there has been change at the top, Pechin and long­time as­sis­tant Jim Reynolds have

kept the kids fo­cused on just play­ing Con­estoga base­ball, which is win­ning base­ball. *** The Ches-Mont Na­tional is re­ally look­ing like it will be quite a scram­ble this sea­son.

Right now, West Ch­ester Henderson is lead­ing the di­vi­sion at 5-0 with Coatesvill­e, Down­ing­town West and West Ch­ester East right on the War­riors’ heels. To­day, Coatesvill­e will travel to Bob Owens Field to take on Henderson in a matchup that could go a long way in de­ter­min­ing the league cham­pion.

The Ches-Mont League was down last sea­son, but an in­flux of young tal­ent has the league ready to as­sume its spot as a top league in Dis­trict 1.

That tal­ent starts on the mound, with play­ers like Coatesvill­e ju­nior Adam

Staffuer lead­ing the way. The Red Raider hurler out­du­eled Bishop Shana­han ace, Ri­ley O’Day in a 2-1 Coatesvill­e win and de­feated a good hit­ting team in West Ch­ester Rustin, 5-3. If Coatesvill­e can get any­thing be­hind the tall right han­der, the Ri­aders are go­ing to be very tough to beat for the league ti­tle.

Some of that young tal­ent is at Down­ing­town West, as fresh­man Eric Grintz has al­ready made a ma­jor im­pact for the 4-2 Whip­pets. Grintz made two very nice field­ing plays in last week’s 7-6 loss to Henderson, while stroking two hits at the plate. Then, Grintz came back and led the Whip­pets in their 4-1 win over Coatesvill­e by lac­ing two more hits, col­lect­ing a RBI and scor­ing a run. Grintz is a cather by trade but he looks very com­fort­able at third base.

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