The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


August 3, 2013

Delweld returns to tournament

Manager Chris DelSignore and many of his players spent the early part of last August in an unfamiliar role.


Delweld followed the AAABA Tournament from afar.

Instead of playing on the Point Stadium surface as a team, much of the successful franchise’s roster either watched from the stands, listened on the radio, followed on the Internet or glanced over the next day’s newspaper.

Of course, Delweld contributed seven pick-up players to Johnstown’s two representatives, the Berkley Hills Renegades and Martella’s Pharmacy.

But it just wasn’t the same.

“After you’ve played five straight tournaments, we kind of got a little bit complacent and took it for granted,” DelSignore said. “You think this is something that happens every year. This is a special tournament. Last year we were on the outside looking in.

“I think we learned two lessons from that. No. 1, never take anything for granted. The second one is never put ourselves in that position again. We use it as motivation. It carried us throughout the summer and here we are back where we feel we belong.”

Delweld will make its eighth AAABA Tournament appearance and sixth in the past seven years when the 69th annual event opens on Monday at Point Stadium and outlying fields throughout the region.

DelSignore’s team won the local AAABA League regular-season title and ran off six straight playoff victories to claim the league title.

Delweld batted .328 as a team during the regular season (303-for-924). The champs elevated their performance in the playoffs, which were capped by an epic hitting display in the championship series.

DelSignore’s squad collected 53 hits in a three-game sweep in the finals, including 20 hits in the decisive Game 3.

“We really put a focus coming into the playoffs on getting into good hitting counts, staying ahead and using the whole field by hitting the ball where it’s pitched,” DelSignore said. “The last two games of the finals we did a really good job of using the whole field, especially with two strikes. Hitting becomes contagious and then you get momentum.”

Delweld center fielder Josh Stanscia earned the local MVP award after batting .413 with seven doubles, a triple, three homers, 29 RBI and 32 runs. The Washington & Jefferson player’s glove and speed in the outfield also is an asset.

Ian Helsel (.358) and Eric Weyant (.352) each hit better than .350 while logging 100-plus at-bats. Ben Legath (.316, three homers), Austin Sleek (.400 in 55 at-bats), Marcus Shippey (.421 in 38 at-bats), Luke Campbell (.316 in 64 at-bats) and Zach Solarczyk (.312 in 59 at-bats) also have been productive at the plate.

Pick-up player Nate Campbell will play in his third straight tournament. Last season the Berkley Hills Renegades center fielder took the local league batting championship and MVP honors. In 2011, Delweld picked up Campbell and he was the team’s leading hitter with a .412 average in the AAABA Tournament.

“We scored 75 runs in the first three or four games of the season and I knew we had the potential to be a potent offense,” DelSignore said. “We hit the ball really well over the course of the year. When you play as many games as we do, there is a natural ebb and flow to the season. At the end of the season I didn’t feel like we were swinging like we could. The playoffs, we kind of flipped the switch and started to really come alive at the plate.”

On the mound, DelSignore will turn to Shippey on opening night. The Shippensburg product won four regular-season games as well as Game 1 of the semifinals. He pitched Game 1 of the finals but got a no-decision.

Delweld’s staff includes Ben Legath (4-1, 1.77 ERA, regular season), Brad Ditzler (3-1, 1.94, two saves), Nate Plummer (3-2, 2.36), Sleek (3-0, 2.59), Joel Polites (3-0, 2.29, one save), Stone Rice (Game 1 winner in the finals) and Ryan Orlovsky (1.66 ERA) as well as pick-up hurlers Nate Spohn of Berkley Hills, and right-handers Chris Nolan and Ryan Bills of Laurel Auto Group.

Spohn was the opening night pitcher for the Renegades in last year’s tournament and was a pick-up player for Martella’s Pharmacy in the 2011 tournament.

Delweld overcame some serious attrition on the mound after losing Ian Stiffler, who was drafted and signed with the Atlanta Braves; Andy Smithmyer, who signed with the pro Frontier League Washington Wild Things just before the playoffs; and Bobby Carbaugh and Derrick Capiak, who went to the Futures and Cape Cod college leagues, respectively.

“It starts with depth,” DelSignore said. “Last season we had injuries. The  year before that, we had injuries. Coming into this season we took the approach where we didn’t want to be in a situation where our depth was going to be a concern on the mound. We loaded up on arms.

“I cannot say enough about the guys that stepped up in the roles left by Bobby Carbaugh, Andy Smithmyer, Ian Stiffler and Derrick Capiak,” he said. “One thing about baseball that I always preach is you have to be able to control what you can control. There are a lot of things that are out of your hands. This is a situation where we could not control it. We could either sit and sulk and mope, or we could just say we have to do this and we have no choice.”


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pitt ends its spring practices

    No tailgating.
    No trip to a local high school.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pirates Game 1 0415 Pirates edge out Reds in suspended game

    After all those home runs and an overnight delay, it was settled by a single.
    Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin’s single in the seventh inning on Tuesday, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the completion of a game that spanned two days and 10 home runs.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • track_B1 WestPAC relays go to Windber boys, Berlin girls

    Rain showers and dropping temperatures put a damper on Monday’s WestPAC Relays at Berlin Brothersvalley High School.
    For the Berlin girls and the boys from Windber, however, discomfort was not much of a factor.
    The Mountaineers won their third straight relay title while the Ramblers reclaimed the title from defending champ Shade.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos