Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

South Side Beaver Rebuilding Program Yields a Contender

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

South Side Beaver Rebuilding Program Yields a Contender

Article excerpt

It has been quite some time since the South Side Beaver varsity baseball program experienced success.

With winning seasons coming few and far between in Hookstown, it's been 14 years since the Rams last qualified for the WPIAL playoffs.

"We definitely have gone through a rough patch," said Chip Hunter, who has been with the team for the past 12 years, including nine as head coach. "In the past three years, our records really haven't shown how far we've come."

After winning a total of only five games from 2009-11, including a winless season in '09, the Rams posted a winning record by going 8- 7 overall last season. They, however, missed out on the playoffs by just one game following a 7-7 showing in Section 1-AA.

This season, however, South Side Beaver appears to be a contender following an encouraging 7-1 start, including a 4-1 record against section opponents before Wednesday's scheduled game at Seton- LaSalle. The Rams entered this week ranked No. 4 in Class AA by the Post-Gazette.

"It's really been a combination of everything," Hunter said. "We've had some outstanding pitching efforts and some games where our bats really came around.

"Defensively, we may not have been perfect, but we haven't given up any costly errors that led to giving up a big inning."

After non-section wins against Western Beaver, Cornell and Burgettstown Area, the Rams went on to knock off section foes Seton- LaSalle, Quaker Valley and Brentwood. Their six-game winning streak, though, was snapped last Friday following a 2-1 eight-inning loss to Avonworth.

This shaped up as an important week for the Rams with four section games scheduled to be played in four days.

They defeated Carlynton, 3-2, on Monday, but Tuesday's game against Freedom Area was postponed due to inclement weather. They were scheduled to play Seton-LaSalle Wednesday and New Brighton today.

"I'm very proud of how we've played so far," Hunter said. "We play in a tough section, so to be in the position we're in this early in the season is exciting."

Seniors Nolan Lamont and Dustin Lander have been the Rams' top starting pitchers. Lamont, a right-hander, also plays shortstop, while the left-handed Lander plays in the outfield when he's not on the mound. …

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