Prep Baseball Report

Conference Preview: Philadelphia Catholic League

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

Philadelphia Catholic League

PCL Red Division

Returning all-PCL Red Division Honorees

'14 IF Bobby Romano, Archbishop Ryan (Fairleigh Dickinson)
'14 OF Jawan McAllister, St. Joseph's Prep (Pittsburgh)
'15 OF Jimmy Herron, La Salle (Duke)
'14 RHP Dom Cuoci, La Salle (St. Joseph's) [also 2nd-team as IF]

'14 IF John Banes, Cardinal O'Hara
'14 IF/RHP Will Latcham, Cardinal O'Hara (Kutztown)
'14 OF Connor Golden, Archbishop Ryan

  • GrezeszakWouldn't you know it, defending champ La Salle has the only returning 1st-team pitcher in strike-throwing ace Cuoci, the reigning PBR District XII Pitcher of the Year. He will also team with '14 Brad Schneider (Scranton) and '15 AJ Grezeszak (right) to form arguably the top infield in the league. A dynamite athlete, Herron is still developing as a hitter, but, with his speed and ability to put the ball in play, constantly finds himself on base.
  • St. Joseph's Prep will be led by another stud athlete in McAllister. He may need to shoulder a heavy load, as his gridiron mate, '14 3B Chris Martin (a 1st-team selection as a junior) has been lost for the season to knee surgery (albeit on his way to capturing the class AAAA football crown). The team also needs to replace their starting catcher, middle infielders, and number one pitcher. '15 RHPs Colin Cunningham and Tyler Clark, as well as '16 RHPs Keith Flaherty and Billy Matz are all possibilities to pick up the slack on the bump for coach Joe Falcone.
  • As the saying goes, if you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best. That will be the task in front of Archbishop Ryan this spring, as they went 7-2 last year against the teams below them in the division, but 2-4 against the Explorers and Hawks. Romano and Golden will pace the offense with the help of '14 IF Tom Derer (NJIT) and '15 C Josh Lopez. Derer and Golden will front coach Gerry Eck's pitching staff, where they could be backed up by a couple of '16s in LHP Anthony Chardio and RHP Matt Rocchi.
  • NewmanLatcham bulldogged his way to some big wins for Cardinal O'Hara last year. His offensive support would be greatly aided if '15 OF Nick Newman (right) can tap into his massive power potential.
  • Father Judge has an intriguing young two-way player to follow in '16 RHP/IF Dan Hammer.


PCL Blue Division

Returning all-PCL Blue Division Honorees

'14 1B Josh Ockimey, Neumann-Goretti (Indiana)

'14 IF Erik Bowren, Archbishop Wood (Millersville)
'15 IF Rich Tecco, Bonner-Prendergast
'14 OF Brad Scull, Bonner-Prendergast (Wilmington)
'14 OF Matt Maerz, Archbishop Carroll
'14 C Joe McGinley, Neumann-Goretti
'14 RHP Matt Lafferty, Archbishop Carroll (Ursinus)
'15 DH Mike Christy, Lansdale Catholic

  • VerrattiD'AmoreDespite losing two of its top pitchers to graduation, Neumann-Goretti is locked and loaded as a serious state contender in class AA under new coach Kevin Schneider. The top of the rotation will feature a pair of dual-threat southpaws in '14 LHP/OF Charlie Jerla (Marist) and '15 LHP/OF Pat Doudican, a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder who is growing into his frame nicely. The pitching staff has enviable depth with the unexpected addition of 6-foot-2, 190-pound '16 RHP Ethan Pritchett as a transfer, as well as his classmate, RHP/IF Nicky D'Amore, who was also the starting SS as a freshman for the Saints. Jerla and '16 OF Brian Verratti will set the table offensively for D'Amore, Doudican, and, Ockimey, if teams actually pitch to him (26 BB, 11 IBB last season). D'Amore and Verratti will represent Team PA at the PBR Future Games in August. Slick-fielding '15 IFs Vinny Vaccone and Bay To will vie for open spots in the line-up.
  • Archbishop Wood graduated a ton, although they do return the solid double-play combo of Bowren and '14 2B Matt Mandes (Slippery Rock). '15 C Nick Lafferty steps into the starting line-up to help coach Jim DiGuiseppe, Jr. shepherd an extremely inexperienced pitching staff. Like the Saints, the Vikings added a welcome transfer of their own in '17 OF/RHP Joey Lancellotti.
  • Coach Joe DeBarberie's Bonner-Prendergast squad graduated eleven seniors and only returns three players with significant varsity experience. Included in that exodus were 89% of the Friars innings. Scull (10 IP) and 6-foot-4, 215-pound '15 RHP Nick Bralcyzk (4 IP) should see a major uptick in usage, while '15 RHP Colin DiGalbo will toe the rubber as well. Tecco, who will take his quality infield actions over to SS, is a good runner who drew 21 walks against only seven strikeouts as a sophomore. He and Scull return to the line-up, along with '14 Util/RHP Danny Healey.
  • Conwell-Egan has a large hill to climb into contention and will rely heavily on the senior leadership of '14 IF Justin Forktus. Coach Mike Gossner is excited about the talent in his younger classes, including '17 IF Jeffrey Manto, '17 RHP/1B Shane Souchuk, '16 IF/RHP Ameir Uzzell, and '15 LHP Joey DeVos.
  • Lafferty and Maerz will be called on to lead Archbishop Carroll, which lost three of the top four hitters in its line-up to graduation.
  • Rookie coach Dave Scott will turn to Christy, '14 C Sean Becker, and '15 IF Kyle Diseroad to power the Lansdale Catholic offense


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