One year removed from having one of the best players to ever take the mound for Curwensville, the Golden Tide are set to take to the diamond for a new campaign in the Moshannon Valley League.
Although competing with a small roster, this team enters 2019 with a lot of experience, and at multiple positions. With six seniors, many of this year’s team have played both in the outfield and on the clay, which will lead to some unique rotations for head coach Tom Harzinski all over the field.
What will be key this season is finding a way to replace the lights-out pitching of the now graduated Bryce Timko.
Curwensville finished last year 10-8, but it was Timko who no matter when he was called on to start was unbelievable, including possibly his best career game back on April 26, a 1-0 victory against Moshannon Valley where he went almost the entire game without yielding a run, tossing 13 strikeouts, and only walking four.
To try and replace someone that skilled is in many eyes impossible, so Curwensville is hoping to rely on a solid rotation of experienced hurlers to make up for their ace.
Senior Avery Francisco, fresh from a great basketball season, is ready to be the lead man on the mound, and teammates McCracken and Noah VonGunden are also poised to be starters on multiple occasions this season. Curwensville also has the luxury of having Christian Bakaysa back as a reliever, along with his duties in the outfield. Fielding was a problem on occasion for Curwensville last season, so along with the focus on replacing a pitcher, Harzinski and staff will be looking to play better defense.
There’s a lot of senior leadership on this year’s team, with seven slated to graduate in June. All have experience at the plate, on defense, and as designated hitters. Their ability to lead the younger players, and encourage the group in tough situations will be key to a winning season.
Once again, the Tide will be starting their season with a much different experience for the small town, as they are loading up the buses for a trip to South Carolina as part of the Cal Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach. Their first game will be against the Deer Lakes Lancers on Friday, with the second game a day later against Lakeview. Curwensville’s home schedule is set to begin next week on Tuesday, against DuBois Central Catholic.
The 2019 schedule for Curwensville is one of the more unique ones for the season. After the southern trip and after hosting the next two games of the season, Curwensville will be on the road for nine of the next 11 games, only playing at the high school field on April 2 (Harmony) and April 8 (Elk County Catholic). The entire month of May is set to have Curwensville play at home.
2019 Curwensville Golden Tide Baseball Roster
SENIORS: Noah VonGunden, Christian Bakaysa, Ralph Evans, Jeremiah Farley, Cole Bressler, Broc Heitsenreather, Avery Francisco
JUNIORS: Caleb Vance, Keegan Wilson
SOPHOMORES: Chase Graham, Jeremy Irwin, Jake McCracken
FRESHMEN: James Stiles, Jake Mullins, Adam Straw, Cross Bloom, Matt Brown
Games are at 4:15 p.m unless noted.
- 22: vs. Deer Lakes (Ripken Experience Crosley), in Myrtle Beach, SC (6:30 p.m.)
- 23: vs. Lakeview (Ripken Experience Crosley), in Myrtle Beach, SC (12 noon)
- 26: DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC
- 28: BROCKWAY
- 2: HARMONY
- 4: at Clearfield (4:30 p.m.)
- 8: ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC
- 10: at Kane
- 12: at Moshannon Valley (4:30 p.m.)
- 15: at West Branch (4:30 p.m.)
- 16: at Punxsutawney
- 18: at Johnsonburg
- 22: at Elk County Catholic
- 23: at Dubois Central Catholic
- 25: at Brockway
- 6: WEST BRANCH
- 7: KANE
- 9: GLENDALE
- 13: CLEARFIELD
- 15: JOHNSONBURG