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Season opener gives Fox Chapel baseball taste of what’s to come


Saturday, March 23, 2024 | 11:01 AM

The Fox Chapel baseball team hasn’t been immune to having to postpone games due to the cold snap that has plagued mid-March in Western Pennsylvania. But the Foxes were able to keep their season-opening date with defending Class 5A PIAA champion Shaler.

Fox Chapel lost its season opener, 5-2, but the Foxes got what they were looking for when they scheduled the game. The Foxes were able to challenge themselves and get a look at what the intensity of the WPIAL playoffs will look like.

“It was an intense game,” Fox Chapel coach James Hastings said. “That was like simulating a section game or a playoff game. It was nice to play a game like that.”

The Foxes would like to be a player on the same level as the Titans. Fox Chapel won a game during the WPIAL playoffs last season and brings back plenty of experience on the mound. Jeremy Haigh had an 8-2 record last season and an ERA below 2.00. Sophomore Blake Krushinski pitched against Shaler, striking out eight batters. Ryan Inglis, Christian Wilkinson and Frankco Pistella will also be counted on to throw for the Foxes.

“We have a lot more depth,” Hastings said. “Not only did we bring guys back, but we also added a couple of kids because they were younger last year and they are now ready to pitch at the varsity level. We are blessed to have those guys.”

Fox Chapel will also have plenty of depth in the lineup. The Foxes will have all-section players returning in the No. 2 through No. 5 spots in the lineup.

Mitchell Epstein will hit second, Haigh third, and Troy Susnack fourth. Ben DeMotte, a three-year starter, will bat fifth.

The Foxes also have Joey Geller, Kristofer Bandurski and Antonio LeDonne, who will be able to fill different roles in the lineup.

Fox Chapel saw what it could bring to the table against Shaler. The Foxes had an opportunity to face Shaler’s top pitcher Colby Weber and thought they swung the bat well against him.

“He’s one of the best in the WPIAL,” Hastings said. “I thought we fared well against him. We had about four balls that we hit hard and they went right at guys. We swung the bats well.”

Hastings said he believes Fox Chapel has the potential to play well in Class 5A this season. The Foxes need to build off a solid start to the season.

“We have high expectations, just like a lot of other teams do,” Hastings said. “There are other teams in the same boat as us and feel confident about this season. We just want to play well and compete.”

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