This could be the year for Pittston Area.
The Patriots suffered through a 2-13 season in the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 in 2013. But 2014 looks much more promising.
Pittston Area returns just about every key player from last season, including both pitchers sophomore Taylor Baloga and senior Alyssa Talerico. They lost no one, something head coach Dave Deluca thinks will be a turning point for the very young team.
“After starting five freshmen last season we are ready to take it to the next level,” he said. “A winning record is not out of reach for the first time in several years.”
The Patriots will be without third baseman Antoinette Scialpi, who was a WVC Division 1 honorable mention coaches selection last season. But fellow honorable mention all-star Baloga looks for a big year.
Baloga was a catalyst for the young Patriots as a freshman in 2013. This year, she, along with Talerico, expect to keep Pittston Area in every game.
“Incredibly hard worker, smat — No. 1 in her class,” Deluca said of Baloga. “Great attitude, sets a good example for others. She was the starter last year as a freshman.”
Returning to the diamond for Pittston Area will be junior Lauren Dragon and Julie Lieback. Sophomores Julie Siliskie, Mindina Lieback and Adison Hazlet will provide some offensive pop.
Making their Pittston Area debuts will be sophomore infielder Abbey Bradigan and freshman utility player Taryn Ashby.
“The defense will be solid,” Deluca said. “The pitching will allow us to be in every game.”
One of Deluca’s biggest concerns is offensive production — mainly timely hitting.
Pittston Area lost to rival Wyoming Area to finish off last season’s disappointing record at 2-13. That was the first round ofthe PIAA District 2 Class AAA playoffs where Pittston Area was held to just one run. Deluca hopes to get back to that point this season, and maybe further.
“If we get timely hitting, we could make some noise come district playoff time,” he said.