Last season, Ringgold won the PIAA Class AAAA baseball championship and finished with a 20-4 record.
What kind of encore will the team provide this season?
“Following up last season is a pretty tall task but we really think we are a talented team despite losing five starters,” said third-year coach Don Roberts. “We have put a lot of time into our offseason so these guys are confident and ready to go.”
Leading the way for the Rams will be a nucleus of four players with multiple years of starting experience.
“We are very lucky to have a very strong core of starters back from last year,” Robert said.
Senior shortstop Koby Bubash is a four-year starter who was a first-team all-section and an all-state honorable mention selection.
Fellow senior Chase Angotti also is a four-year starter who was a first-team all-section player a year ago as a pitcher. He also plays second base.
Angotti is the ace of the pitching staff.
Another senior, catcher Bobby Boyer, is a two-year starter and was a second team all-section player last season.
Bubash has committed to Slippery Rock while both Angotti and Boyer are headed to Mount Union.
Junior Jake Rongus is the fourth returning starter and will play both third base and second base.
With a quartet of key players back, what has Roberts chosen as a goal for the Rams?
“Right now, our main goal is to get better each week as the season goes along and to win our very tough section,” he said. “I think our pitching and our defense will both carry us.
“I don’t think there are too many teams around that can play defense like we do, so I consider that our biggest strength.”
The biggest unknown for Ringgold is its hitting. There are several spots in the lineup that will be filled with first-year starters.
“I think our offense will be the biggest key with five new starters, including three in the outfield,” Roberts said of juniors Travis Drusbasky, Dylan Wujcik and Sam Daerr. “They are all very talented with limited varsity experience.”
Senior Nick Kolano, who was the starting pitcher for Ringgold in the PIAA championship game a year ago, will play first base while junior C.J. Novotney gets the nod at second.
The Rams are deep on the mound.
“Pitching is one of our other big strengths,” Roberts said.
Angotti and fellow senior are the returning starting pitchers with Peters saving two playoff games a year ago and winning two PIAA games.
Senior Jake Mullen and sophomore Gage Fuller are two other starting pitchers.
“Jake earned the save in the state championship game so he has some big-game experience,” Roberts said. “We really like Gage and he is going to start the season as the No. 2 starter.”
The Rams are prepared to hit the ground running after a strong offseason.
“The players worked very hard and were committed to our offseason,” Roberts said. “We had a very successful fall season and a very good strength and conditioning (program) in our weight room. We also hit nonstop in our baseball cages almost year-round to continue our development on offense.”
The Rams play in Section 3-AAAA along with Belle Vernon, Elizabeth Forward, McKeesport, South Park, Thomas Jefferson and Uniontown.