Meadville Tribune

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March 30, 2013

H.S. BASEBALL: Mostly intact, Panthers look like favorite in Region 3


March 30, 2013 7:00 a.m. — Svirbly takes over for Cards

John Svirbly should already be a familiar figure to Cochranton fans. He’s spent the last seven seasons as the head coach for the Cardinals wrestling program. And for the past three years he’s been the assistant coach for the baseball team.

Now, the baseball team is his. He takes over for former head coach Jason Barber, who guided the team for three seasons before moving back to his hometown in Columbus, Ohio.

Under Barber, Cochranton went from a two-win program in 2010 to a playoff team last season. Svirbly took over in hopes of continuing that upward momentum.  

“Jason Barber taught me a lot,” said Svirbly. “I felt like I was ready to take over. He had a great program going and I didn’t want to change it. They were catching on, so I’m trying to keep things going that same direction.”

Svirbly filled out his coaching staff with former Cochranton players Mikel Boughner and Matt Shreve.

Together, they going to try to turn the Cardinals into a contender in Region 3. And they’ve got the tools to do it, returning one of the top arms in the county in Ryan Northcott, a seasoned catcher in Caleb Peterson and one of the best young bats in the county in Jesse Staudt.

“It will be exciting once we get started,” Svirbly said. “We’re pretty strong defensively. Offensively we’re coming along. There are not too many holes in the lineup.”

Frazier changes plans

Cambridge Springs was blessed with some pretty good pitching depth this season, thanks to some returning arms and a couple promising freshman joining the team.

That had head coach Paul Frazier considering abandoning the Spa’s longtime method of pitching by committee every game — having guys pitch just two or three innings before replacing them to save their arms and eligibility for the next contest.

“It’s always been a thing with Cambridge pitchers, we pitch by committee,” said Frazier. “But it’s been hard to get a pitcher to get into it. I wanted to change that mindset so that they’re out there and they are pitching for the win instead of going out there and pitching for two innings.

“That’s what I was hoping to do. Mother nature isn’t cooperating right now.”

With spring’s snowy start, Frazier, and many other area coaches, are expecting this season to get pretty compressed with games being scheduled back-to-back-to-back during the warmer, drier stretches.

That means ready arms are going to be needed. So, the Blue Devils might have to go back to its committee approach on the mound.

“With the weather the way it’s been, once we do start playing it’s going to be four games a week,” said Frazier. “So we’ll probably be back to pitching by committee. It’s a matter of keeping them healthy. We’ll need them for a whole season, not just for one game.

“So, it’s up in the air. Once the season gets going, we’ll see how we do it.”

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