Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Success in High School Paying off for Moon

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Success in High School Paying off for Moon

Article excerpt

In summer's past when baseball players from Moon Area High School would begin their American Legion schedule, they would be getting their first taste of Class AAAA competition.

This summer is a different story.

The Moon Tigers moved up to Class AAAA for the 2013 scholastic season so now this season when the Moon American Legion team faces off against Allegheny South Division A rivals such as Bethel Park, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Township and Upper St. Clair, they won't be introducing themselves to their opponents, but rather getting reacquainted.

Moon more than held its own during the WPIAL season, finishing 14- 6 overall and going 7-3 in Class AAAA Section 4 to reach the WPIAL playoffs.

The Moon American Legion team is more than holding its own early on as well. It is 4-2 with wins against Upper St. Clair, Peters Township, Mt. Lebanon and Elizabeth Forward.

"They are coming into the Legion season with some confidence, especially with [the high school team] bumping up to Quad-A this year," Moon American Legion manager Ryan Rinaldi said. "I guess it was totally different to them.

"We are always playing Quad-A teams in our Legion schedule. Now they know them, they have seen the caliber of play of the bigger schools. We just need to step it up an extra notch and play with heart."

Rinaldi is in his fourth season with the team. He is a 2002 Moon Area graduate who played Legion ball for Moon before going on to play at California University of Pennsylvania. Rinaldi coaches the Moon Area junior varsity team so he is very familiar with his roster.

This year the roster comprises only players who were at Moon Area this past high school season. Rinaldi did not call any players back from college as league rules allow, given that the age maximum is 19.

"I have coached every one of them, either in Legion or in junior varsity," Rinaldi said. "It helps. I know how they complement each other, they know what works well and who can fill a position if one kid is not there. This core group of kids has mostly been the same, I know their strengths and weaknesses. …

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