Wernick's solo homer to left in the third inning wasn't nearly enough for the Hatters in Friday's Suburban One League Liberty Division game against Quakertown. The visiting Panthers allowed only five hits in a 7-2 victory.
Through six games this season, the 17-year old Wernick has hit three homers. He had a two-run shot against Souderton and a three-run blast versus Norristown.
"I've been hitting the ball pretty hard," he said. "I think I'm hitting about .300. I've had quite a few tough-luck outs, the kind where the ball is hit right at the fielder."
The resident of Horsham, Montgomery County, trains year-round at the All-American Baseball Academy. His father, Sam, is the general manager of the indoor facility, which is located in Warrington.
Other area players who work on their skills at the academy include Neshaminy's Steve Hook and Council Rock's Craig Mirsky. Hook, a first baseman, has signed with Rutgers; Mirsky, a second baseman, will join Wernick at Drexel.
"Josh has a great work ethic," Hatboro-Horsham first-year coach Pete Moore said. "He works on his game six days a week."
For Hatboro-Horsham this season, the righthanded Wernick - who throws in the mid-80-miles-per-hour range - is 1-1 as a pitcher.
"I worked on my control over the winter," Wernick said. "Throwing strikes, I think, is the most important thing you can do on the mound."
Wernick hit over .500 last summer for the Horsham Macs in the Lower Montco American Legion Baseball League. He was a second-team all-league selection.
The Hatters (3-3 overall, 2-2 league) visit Upper Dublin in an American Conference crossover matchup this afternoon.
Turnaround. Last season, Quakertown posted a disappointing 3-13 record and finished near the bottom of the Liberty Division.
The Panthers have shown significant improvement in the early going of the 2002 campaign. Friday's win over Hatboro-Horsham upped their record to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in league play.
"Last year was a tough year," said Rick Rodeghiero, now in his 29th season as head coach. "But we knew that we had almost everybody back from that team, so we expected good things this year."
In the win over the Hatters, junior lefthander Steve Wimmer retired the last 12 batters in a complete-game win. He is 2-0 this season.
Senior third baseman George Hudock, who is hitting .389 (7 for 18) in league games, had a two-run single to help spark the victory. Junior outfielder Justin Kurtz had a solo homer in the second inning.
Two sophomores, shortstop Craig Mease and outfielder Ryan Walter, also have made key contributions on offense. Mease is the leadoff man, and Walter hits out of the No. 2 spot.
Quakertown, whose only loss came against Liberty Division rival Plymouth Whitemarsh, hosts Upper Merion this afternoon.
Switch pays off. Believing that Brendan Gilroy would see better pitches to hit near the bottom of the order, Ridley coach Jeff D'Orazio moved the junior from the No. 2 hole to the No. 7 position.
The move has reaped benefits. Gilroy, a leftfielder and pitcher, is batting over .600 entering today's Central League game at Springfield (Delaware County). He went 3 for 3, with three RBIs and two runs scored, in last Monday's 6-3 win over visiting Penncrest.
"He's doesn't care where he bats in the lineup," D'Orazio said. "He just enjoys playing the game."
Following Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Haverford High, the Green Raiders are 4-3 overall and 3-3 in league action. Last season, an underclassmen-laden squad went 6-14, 5-13.
"It's kind of nice to be in contention right now," D'Orazio said.
Ridley's other top offensive performer has been junior catcher Pat Carney, who is hitting over. 400. Senior righthander Eric Filson yielded just two hits and struck out five batters in six innings of work against Penncrest.
Notes. Beginning today at Harry S Truman, Council Rock will play five games in a six-day stretch. . . . In the fifth inning of Thursday's 5-2 win over visiting Downingtown, West Chester East's Ryan Diehl slammed a monster home run over the left-center fence and into the school's parking lot. "It was gone the minute it was hit," East coach Ed Pappas said. . . . Downingtown's Dan Sharkey, a senior third baseman, is hitting .462 (12 for 26) with 13 RBIs.
Contact Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019 or email@example.com.