Rick O'Brien: Standing out in middle infield

Posted: May 30, 2013

We take a break from the heavy slate of playoff action to present our rankings of the best middle infielders in Southeastern Pennsylvania baseball.

Because the area is filled with solid second basemen and shortstops, we've made this a top-15 list.

1. Jim Haley, Bonner-Prendergast, senior. The smooth-fielding shortstop, ticketed for Penn State, is batting .471 with 25 runs, 25 RBIs, eight doubles, four triples, and two home runs.

2. Joe Poduslenko, Malvern Prep, senior. While helping lead the Friars to their third consecutive Inter-Ac League crown, the shortstop and Seton Hall recruit hit .381 with 54 runs and 40 RBIs.

3. James Bleming, Pope John Paul II, junior. A shortstop who is receiving interest from Ivy and Patriot League schools, Bleming batted .566 with 17 RBIs and 16 runs.

4. Andrew Bechtold, Garnet Valley, junior. Bechtold, a shortstop and pitcher, hit .433 with 24 runs and 16 RBIs. He has committed to Maryland.

5. Kevin McGowan, Haverford School, sophomore. A second baseman, McGowan batted .438 with 41 RBIs and 30 runs. He was a first-team all-Inter-Ac pick.

6. Tom Richter, Conestoga, junior. Richter, a shortstop who has committed to Penn State, was a steady contributor for the Pioneers from the No. 3 spot in the order.

7. David Yanni, Central Bucks East, sophomore. The shortstop, a Division I prospect, was a catalyst for the Suburban One League Continental Conference champions.

8. Doug Trimble, Episcopal Academy, senior. Trimble, a shortstop and Delaware recruit, earned first-team all-Inter-Ac honors for the second straight season.

9. Zach Prendergast, Hatboro-Horsham, senior. A stalwart on defense at shortstop and a .391 hitter, Prendergast will join Poduslenko at Seton Hall. He also pitched for the Hatters.

10. Austin DiBonaventure, Plymouth Whitemarsh, senior. A shortstop headed to Chestnut Hill College, DiBonaventure batted .426.

11. Bob Romano, Archbishop Ryan, junior. The second baseman's fielding and hitting made him a first-team all-Catholic League Red Division selection.

12. Ben Moller, Central Bucks South, senior. A shortstop and cleanup man for the Titans, Moller will continue his career at Marist.

13. David Splain, Strath Haven, senior. A shortstop and No. 2 batter, Splain played a key role in the Panthers' run to the Central League title.

14. Eric McGough, Archbishop Carroll, senior. From the No. 3 hole, the shortstop hit .411, with 24 runs and 15 RBIs.

15. Kidanny Cumba, Frankford, senior. The shortstop and leadoff man was batting .529 entering Wednesday's action.

Fifteen others to watch, listed alphabetically: Dan Bier, Archbishop Carroll, senior 2B; Erik Bowren, Archbishop Wood, junior SS; Matt Caldwell, Springside Chestnut Hill, senior SS; Steve Cohen, Penn Charter, junior SS; Max German, Council Rock North, senior 2B/SS; Trip Hagner, Methacton, senior SS; Jack Kalmes, Holy Ghost Prep, senior SS; Chris Kersey, North Penn, junior SS; Joe Little, Phoenixville, senior SS; Richy Masciarelli, Pottstown, senior SS; Pat O'Dell, St. Joseph's Prep, senior SS; Dan O'Hara, Souderton, senior; Joe Sheeran, Springfield (Delco), senior SS; David Tatoian, Pennridge, sophomore 2B; Eric Tidwell, Abington, senior SS.

Contact Rick O'Brien at robrien@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ozoneinq. Read his blog, "The O'Zone," at www.inquirer.com/ozone

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