Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ambridge-Baden Hoping to Build on Last Season's Success

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ambridge-Baden Hoping to Build on Last Season's Success

Article excerpt

Last summer provided a little rejuvenation for Ambridge-Baden's American Legion baseball team.

After battling through a few rough seasons where the team didn't have much overall depth and experience in order to compete against the regularly competitive squads in the Beaver County League, Steve Antolic's group emerged from its regular season with a winning record and made the regional playoffs for the first time in 22 years.

"It was a special season," he said. "The previous two years were down years, so to win some games and beat quality teams -- you could see the excitement in the kids and see their confidence grow.

"It snowballed from there and we ended up having a good season."

Ambridge-Baden went 14-3 during the regular season and earned the No. 2 seed in last summer's local district playoffs. Despite losing to River City in the semifinals, the team was offered a spot in the Region 6 tournament after River City could not fill its commitment to play.

Ambridge-Baden went on to beat Bethel Park and West Mifflin in the first two days of the tournament before getting eliminated after losses against Beaver County rival Blackhawk and West Mifflin.

Back for his fourth season as the manager of Ambridge-Baden, Antolic has welcomed back a solid core from last year's roster.

"We have a lot of kids back, so our expectations were high going into the season," he said. "We have four guys back who have already played a season of college baseball. We feel we have a strong team. Our confidence is high and our expectations are high.

"We just have to go out and do something now."

Ambridge-Baden owned a7-4 record after defeating Central Valley, 8-0, Monday. Ambridge-Baden won a doubleheader against South Side June 20, earning a 7-2 decision in the first game and a 3-0 victory in the second game.

"We haven't completely jelled just yet," Antolic said. "We need more games to get us on track with what we hope to do, and that's to compete for a championship."

Shortstop T.J. Kuny (Saint Vincent), first baseman Colton Gossett (Clarion), pitcher Jamie Dean (La Roche) and third baseman/pitcher Steve Antolic Jr. (Georgia Southwestern), who is a son of the coach, are each coming off their first season playing at the collegiate level and highlight Antolic's veteran-led lineup. …

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