NW baseball returns top two pitchers
The Northwestern baseball team went 14-11 last season after a 1-3 start. The Tigers reached the District 11 Class 4A semifinal in 2017 and the team returns several of its key players from last season.
Northwestern head coach Duran Porrino, who returns to the helm after a year off, will look to senior pitchers Mason Vogwill and Drew White to guide the Tigers this season.
Vogwill (1.80 ERA, 47 strikeouts last season), who is a two-year All-Colonial League selection, and White give the Tigers quite the 1-2 combination at the top of the rotation. Junior Noah Russo adds some depth to the pitching staff.
“Mason and Drew should form one of the best pitching staffs in the league,” Porrino said. “Drew has started two straight league title games and Mason has started district playoff games each of the past two seasons. In addition, we return (senior) Tyler Wiik at catcher who has started every single game at the position since his freshman year.”
The Tigers may have taken a hit with the graduation of team MVP Tyler Schreiner, who is now playing at Lehigh University. But there are plenty of talented players returning, including Trevor Schreiner (.434 batting average, 28 RBIs, 34 hits, 16 extra base hits, three home runs), Wiik (.314 batting average) and outfielder Jacob Haas.
Schreiner and Wiik were all Colonial League All-Star team members a year ago.
Porrino feels there are some “question marks” hanging around the Tigers since there will be some players adjusting to new positions and some first-year starters in their lineup.
Austin Stasko (infield), Derek Holmes (third base), Brandon Mengel (second base), Nathan Goodolf (outfield) and Rafe Perich (shortstop) should see time in the starting lineup.
“Defensively, almost every single starter will be new at their position,” Porrino said. “Schreiner will move from first base to center field and we are breaking in a new middle infield. Rafe Perich (a freshman) will be our starting shortstop, and we have very high expectations for him the next four years.”
The Tigers have been a Colonial League power each of the last three years. They went 11-7 in league play, earning a wild card playoff berth and winning two games before falling to Notre Dame (Green Pond) in the finals.
Expectations are high again for this year’s team.
“We have been in three straight league championship games and have lost all three by a combined four runs,” Purrino said. “We return a ton of talent from those teams, and the expectations are to be competing for league and district titles. We haven’t won a title of any kind in 15 years, and our goal is to finally break that this season.”
The Tigers lost to Notre Dame (1-0 in 2017), Bangor (4-2 in 2016) and Saucon Valley (3-2 in 2015).