Villa Angela-St. Joseph coach Scott Gray has no choice but to throw some young players into the varsity fire this spring.
Gray hopes the experience will speed up the learning curve and by the time the postseason comes around in May, the Vikings will be a serious contender in Division III.
VASJ has a roster of 16 of which 14 usually see regular action. The three seniors – Jeff Grudzinski, Simon Texidor and DaQuan Washington are among the top players on the squad. Junior catcher Danny Gail is a talented athlete who will impact the game offensively and defensively.
Grudzinski and Texidor – who were key contributors on the 2015 Division III boys basketball state championship team – will both be relied on heavily on the mound for the Vikings.
Five freshmen and four sophomores help round out the roster and will be forced into action – ready or not.
“I would love to have a JV team and let these guys get experience that way, but we don’t and it is what it is. They have been overwhelmed at points this year, but they hopefully will adjust quickly,” Gray said.
VASJ has started the season with a 1-5 record and the team went 1-3 on a spring trip to Myrtle Beach, SC, beating a talented team from Queens, NY, for the lone victory.
Gray said the defense has improved from a year ago, but the offense has been slow to get going. Once Texidor and Grudzinski get their arms into mid-season form, Gray is confident the pitching staff will hold their own as well.
“Consistency is going to be an issue this year with a lot of young guys, but it is a learning curve we hope they pick up fast and we think we can make some noise in tournament.”