The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

High School Sports

March 12, 2014

McCort to play at PNC Park

JOHNSTOWN — The Bishop McCort baseball team’s seniors have played in some of the region’s top parks and stadiums during the past three seasons.

Add one more marquee venue to the list.

Bishop McCort will play WPIAL team Bethel Park at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park on Sunday, April 13. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

“PNC Park is one of the most beautiful stadiums in the country,” Bishop McCort coach Chris Pfeil said. “You talk to anybody that’s traveled around to different stadiums, and PNC is held in the highest regards in major league baseball. Our kids will have the opportunity to gain an experience they’ll never forget.”

Pfeil said the Crushers’ ability to compete consistently on the regional and state level the past few years helped the game become a reality.

“It’s partly due to our recent success and partly through contacts our coaching staff made over the years,” Pfeil said. “They play a number of high school games every season at PNC Park. Most of the schools are from the Pittsburgh area. We were finally able to get on the list.”

The Crushers play their home games at Point Stadium, one of the area’s most historic baseball facilities. The point also has an artificial playing surface that enables McCort to play in less than favorable conditions.

Pfeil’s team won a state championship in Class A in 2012. The gold-medal performance was sandwiched between two trips to the PIAA Class A quarterfinals last season and in 2011. Along the way, the Crushers played three times in Altoona’s PNG Field (home of the Altoona Curve) during the district title game appearances.

The state championship game was played at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park (home of the State College Spikes) on the Penn State University campus.

“To be able to play on a field that professional baseball players play on, especially the Pittsburgh Pirates who mean so much to us, is a great honor we’ll never forget,” said McCort senior pitcher-infielder Brad Coleman, a two-year captain. “We want to win, but no matter the outcome, it’s an experience we’ll never forget.”

“We’re real excited about the opportunity,” Pfeil added. “Our kids were fortunate enough to play three games at PNG Field and Medlar Field. Now to play at PNC Park, that’s a great experience for a high school kid. Our senior class, 11 seniors, those kids are going to have a lifetime full of memories to have played games in those types of venues.”

Bishop McCort returns eight starters from the state quarterfinal team, with most of those having experience on the state championship squad.

“At least six of those kids are committed to continue playing in college,” Pfeil said. “We might not be done yet.”

Coleman, pitcher-infielder Jeremy Adams, catcher Cameron Rock, infielder-outfielder Alex Sobecky, pitcher-outfielder Nathan Neiderhiser and pitcher-infielder Justin Vardian all have committed to continue their careers in college.

The Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association named Vardian, Neiderhiser, Coleman and Nemo Trexler to its preseason all-state team. Sophomores Blake Wade and Logan Wade and freshman Boston Bradley each were named PHSBCA underclassmen to watch

“To be honest, I never thought we’d be able to play on a field like that in high school,” Coleman said. “I know WPIAL teams play on the field at PNC Park and I always thought it would be awesome to play on the field. Just the thrill and chance to be there and play is going to be special.”

Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/masty81.

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