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Westmoreland County baseball notebook: Franklin Regional pitcher opens with no-hitter

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Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Narayan “NJ” Ramchandran opened the baseball season by closing down Chaminade Prep.

The junior pitcher from Franklin Regional threw a no-hitter in the Panthers’ first game of the year, a 6-0 victory in Myrtle Beach, S.C., over a team from Missouri.

The right-hander struck out eight and walked two across seven innings.

“Throwing a no-hitter at any point of the year is impressive, but to throw one in your first outing of the year is special,” Panthers coach Bobby Saddler said. “Not only do you have to have excellent stuff, but you have to have the stamina to keep up the velocity and command of pitches. It speaks to NJ’s preparation during the offseason not only throwing bullpens, but also in the weight room — nobody worked harder.”

Saddler said Ramchandran worked ahead in counts and saw strong velocity with good location on his fastball and off-speed pitches.

“The defense played excellent throughout the game,” Saddler said, “giving NJ the confidence that when the ball was put in play, the defense would make plays behind him.”

Ramchandran was helped by an offense that produced a triple from Luke Williams, a home run and two RBIs from Max Bernadowski and a homer by Brady Yarabinetz.

Road Warriors

Penn-Trafford traveled a long way from home to beat a local team.

Travis Kovarik and Hunter Brown combined on a one-hitter as the Warriors blanked Mt. Pleasant, 9-0, on Wednesday in Myrtle Beach. Kovarik had nine strikeouts.

Jason Sabol and Ian Temple homered in the win.

Who needs hits?

Latrobe only had two hits and allowed five, but the Wildcats won their season opener, 1-0 over Connellsville.

Brody Rumon had a hit and RBI for Latrobe.

Jake Cramer reached base on an error, and scored the walk-off winner the seventh.

Section play

Some county teams will begin section play Monday. Remember, there are two-game series with teams playing home-and-home matchups on consecutive days — weather permitting.

Opening games include Penn Hills at Franklin Regional, Penn-Trafford at Fox Chapel, Freeport at Derry, Valley at Burrell, Southmoreland at McGuffey, Waynesburg at Greensburg Salem, Yough at Brownsville, Ligonier Valley at Greensburg Central Catholic and Monessen at Carlynton.

Spring training

Belle Vernon escaped to Florida for Baseball City Spring Training. The Leopards played a pair of games and went 1-1. They bounced back from an 8-1 loss to Germantown Academy to defeat Lutheran South (Mo.), 15-5.

Mt. Pleasant lost a pair of games in Myrtle Beach, falling to St. Stephen’s & St. Agness, 4-3, and Potomac School, 14-7. Both opponents are from Virginia.

GCC wins

Greensburg Central Catholic won its season opener, elbowing past Southmoreland, 4-3.

Center fielder Jackson McMullen’s two-out single in the bottom of the seventh scored catcher Anthony Grippo for the game winner.

Rankings

Latrobe, which reached the WPIAL championship last year, starts the year ranked No. 4 in Class 4A by TribLive.

Other county teams also cracked the top 5 preseason rankings, including Hempfield, which is No. 4 in 6A.

Greensburg Central Catholic is ranked No. 4 in 2A, while Valley is No. 5 in 3A.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at [email protected].

Tags: Belle Vernon, Franklin Regional, Greensburg C.C., Hempfield, Latrobe



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