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August 20, 2013

Carbaugh comes back big after surgery

JOHNSTOWN — Richland’s Bobby Carbaugh began his summer baseball season with a dominating performance in the AAABA League at Point Stadium.

Almost three months later, the 6-foot-4 right-hander finished with an even more impressive feat while winning a championship with the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.

Carbaugh went 8-0 with a 1.84 ERA  for the Sharks. He tossed 631⁄3 innings, striking out 50 and was named the FCBL’s Pitcher of the Year.

“I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to go up North,” said Carbaugh, who pitches collegiately for Seton Hill University. “My college coach was able to find me a spot under (Martha’s Vineyard) coach Mike Miller, who is an assistant coach at Davis & Elkins. I was able to make the 12-hour trek and join a great group of guys and have a good time for the summer.”

Carbaugh is almost two years removed from Tommy John surgery.

He made the most of his bounce-back season.

The former Rams standout was part of the Delweld AAABA League team again this year.

Delweld stuck with Carbaugh through his arm problems, and he rewarded manager Chris DelSignore by throwing a one-hit, 12-strikeout shutout in the league’s season opener against Ophthalmic Associates at the Point.

Soon after that contest, Carbaugh’s Seton Hill coach Marc Marizzaldi steered him to the FCBL.

“It was a huge difference,” Carbaugh said when asked how the league compared to his college season. “I was facing guys from Miami and Wake Forest. There were a lot of Division I athletes who even though they might have saw minimal time at school as freshmen and sophomores, they still were ready to play. I faced a lot of Division I hitters. I was able to throw strikes, minimize issues and trust in my defense.”

That’s an understatement.

Carbaugh became the Sharks’ all-time, single-season wins leader with his perfect 8-0 mark. He earned a spot in the FCBL all-star game, throwing a scoreless inning. His 5-0 record in July led to Carbaugh’s being named FCBL Pitcher of the Month.

After the Sharks won the regular-season crown, Carbaugh’s photograph was featured on a poster promoting the championship series between Martha’s Vineyard and the Nashua Silver Knights.

“It was phenomenal,” Carbaugh said of the sequence of events. “Being named Pitcher of the Year is a testament to the guys around me. They were scoring on average seven runs a game for me. It made it easy to pitch relaxed and pitch with confidence. I knew I was going to get run support.”

Of most significance, Carbaugh pitched without pain.

“As of August 31 I will be two years out of surgery,” he said. “It feels better. It feels stronger.”

The only downside to his leaving for the FCBL was that Carbaugh missed Delweld’s run to the regular-season and playoff championships in the local AAABA League.

Delweld won its first five games of the AAABA Tournament before dropping a pair to perennial champion Baltimore in the title round.

Many wondered what might have been had Carbaugh or any of three other Delweld pitchers who advanced to the pros or other college leagues during the summer instead had been on the local roster.

“It was good to see that they took advantage of the situation despite having guys taken time after time,” said Carbaugh, referring to Delweld’s losing drafted pitcher Ian Stiffler, Cape Cod League pitcher Derrick Capiak and Frontier League pitcher Andy Smithmyer during the course of the season. “That diminishes a pitching staff. But seeing them come together as a group with so many young guys, it was good to see. I was in constant contact with  (Delweld pitcher) Brad Ditzler. Definitely seeing them win another championship was great.

“When it came to the tournament, I pitched the day they lost. Before the game I was checking Twitter for complete updates before I warmed up to see if they could pull it out. It was a tough way to go down but it was great to see a great program come together again.”

Next up, Carbaugh will prepare for the college season as Seton Hill enters the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

“I have one more year at Seton Hill. Hopefully I’ll get some time off this fall just to rest up because I totaled about 110 or 112 innings total this year,” he said. “I spoke with coach Marizzaldi about shutting me down for part of the fall just to get me some rest. We’re looking forward to a great season.”

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

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