For the Frazier baseball team, the 2022 season didn’t go quite as planned. The Commodores missed out on the WPIAL playoffs and finished with just one conference victory and a handful of wins overall. But that doesn’t mean that last season wasn’t productive.
The Commodores are entering the 2023 campaign looking to learn from past experiences, and the players appear to be extremely driven to reach their goals this coming season.
“These kids have been on me to get started since the beginning of the school year,” Frazier third-year coach John Malone said.
After last season, the Commodores didn’t take much time away from the game. In fact, Frazier played in 20 games in a summer colt league, so between that and the last high school season, Malone is hoping that his players enter this season with a lot more experience. He knows that the drive to succeed is already there.
“The will to win is there,” Malone said. “They want to win, and if they don’t make the playoffs, they won’t be satisfied.”
The Commodores will have to overcome a couple of key losses as starting pitcher Dom Dorcon and starting catcher Dan Olbrys have both graduated. However, the pieces to field a solid team appear to be present on this year’s roster.
Leading the way will be juniors Logan Brown and Brock Alekson. Malone noted that Brown and Alekson will form the top of the pitching rotation and will serve as team captains.
“They are experienced and the kids look up to them,” Malone said.
Behind the plate, the catching duties will be manned by a pair of freshmen. Noah Bachinski is a top candidate to get a lot of starts behind the dish, with Eli Cernuska also seeing action as catcher.
Perhaps Frazier’s biggest position of strength will be at first base.
“We are blessed with a lot of depth there,” Malone said, noting that Alekson as well as sophomore Tyler Monack and senior Kaleb Phillips also having the ability to play the position. Phillips will also see time as a designated hitter.
Around the diamond, look for freshman Tyler Morrison to see action at second base with sophomore Dailan McManus playing at shortstop. McManus is also expected to be one of the team’s top relief pitchers. Sophomore Aidan Hardy is capable of playing a number of positions, but could be the starter at third base.
In the outfield, senior Jay Thompson will likely play one of the corner positions while freshman Chase Fulmer will likely be the starter in center field. Fulmer is also projected to be Frazier’s leadoff hitter. Monack will also see time in the outfield, as will Hardy.
A number of other players will be asked to make contributions throughout the season as well.
Sophomore Dylan Keilbach is a utility player capable of playing a number of positions, including pitcher, third base and designated hitter. Junior Caden Dye will also see time on the infield.
Juniors Greg Beal and Bruno Sammartino could see time in the outfield while junior Lucas Stevens can play at third base or serve as a designated hitter.
Sophomores Josh Girvin and Travis Smith are both outfielders and Girvin could see time on the mound.
Freshmen Jackson Blaney, Nash Fouch, Chris Petruska and Kaden Phillips will look for playing time in the outfield.
With a 22-man roster, the Commodores will have an advantage over some Class 2A teams when it comes to depth.
“The teams that make the playoffs have the most depth, and we can count on a lot of guys to fill a multitude of positions,” Malone said.
Frazier will compete in Section 1 (2A) with Bentworth, Beth-Center, Burgettstown, Chartiers-Houston, Charleroi and Washington. Gone from the section are Carmichaels and California, the teams that finished first and second respectively in the section last season. Still, Malone knows that reaching the postseason won’t be easy. However, he likes the way the team is trending heading into the season.
“We have a young group and they are excited and they want to learn,” Malone said, noting that the team has been working out consistently since Halloween. “They have good camaraderie and they encourage each other. They have made strides to get better in different ways.”
Malone will be assisted by his brother, Jimmy, as well as Johnny Przybylinski, Chris McManus and Rob Dorcon.
The Commodores are scheduled to open the season on March 17 with a non-section game at Monessen.
Jason Black is the sports editor at The Daily Courier. Reach him at email@example.com or 724-628-2000.