Scouting Notes: Pittsburgh Central Catholic at Episcopal Academy

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

Pittsburgh central catholic @ episcopal academy (march 22)

The thermometer said it was 40 degrees outside, but with overcast skies and winds gusting close to 20mph, it actually felt a good ten degrees colder.  A few snowflakes even swirled around during pre-game warm-ups.  So, naturally, the boys just couldn't get enough baseball, as it took nine full innings for PCC to down EA by a score of 8-4.

RhoadsEpiscopal 2014 RHP Russ Rhoads (right) held the Central Catholic offense in check during 6-plus innings of work.  Rhoads has a quick arm and pitches from a high-3/4 slot.  He mainly attacked with a 83-86 FB that had good armside action and some sink.  He also mixed in a slurvy 65-67 CB and a 76-78 CH.  Rhoads pounded the strike zone (6 K, 1 BB) and got a ton of ground balls (the Vikings only elevated two balls against him, as opposed to 16 ground balls).  With runners on base, Rhoads was 1.2-1.3 to the plate, although, in trying to be quick, he did not fully incorporate his backside.

EA's young offense put them in position to win the game early on, with eight of ten hits coming from sophomore and juniors.  2014 catcher Anthony Feliziani barreled the ball his first three ABs, picking up a single to right and a double to left in the process.  2015 1B John Minicozzi continued his impressive early-season production, reaching base four times on the day (his one out came on a hard hit ground ball toward the six-hole on which Central Catholic 2013 SS Cameron Balego, a Walsh commit, made a nice backhand play).  Minicozzi stays on top of the ball, creates backspin, and gets good extension in his swing.

BuckleyCentral Catholic, however, would not be denied in its season-opener, putting up five runs against the Churchmen bullpen following Rhoads departure.  After tallying a base hit up the middle in his previous AB, uncommitted 2013 1B M.P. Buckley (right) launched a monster home run in the top of the 7th to tie the game.  He showed well on defense too, handling two chances without incident and picking a few throws out of the dirt for his teammates.

The game-winning blow came via another 2-run clout, this time from Pittsburgh-bound 2013 3B P.J. DeMeo, who has solid arm strength for the left side of the diamond, but appeared to be affected by the frigid temp on defense, seeing a couple balls kick out of his glove.  2013 catcher Sabatino DiNardo, who is headed to Lackawanna College, showed superior blocking skills and good arm strength.