By Mike Longo Jr.
Some in the sports world have been known to say, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." At this point in time, notably the 2023 edition of the Montour Spartans Baseball squad, those words ring true.
The cast of characters may have changed ever so slightly, however, the results to date have been the same. Why not when such a quality product adorns the diamond.
At the helm as in year's past, the skipper of Montour's ship, Head Coach Bob Janeda has his crew sailing smoothly along the WPIAL baseball waters. Seems as though they haven't missed a beat from the tune that played last season.
Janeda molds players and brings their talent to another level on the field. Always displaying a quality product as he has one of the best baseball minds in the WPIAL as well as the state.
Yes, he loses players every season to the "Graduation Demon," as this year will be no different. However, year after year, he shapes and molds his Spartans into a well oiled baseball machine.
Don't believe me? Drift back to last season's WPIAL Class 4A Championship game at Wild Things Park. It was a game that seemingly took an eternity to complete,12 long innings to be exact. The nail-biter ended with Janeda and crew suffering a heart wrenching 5-4 loss to West Mifflin.
Montour could have rolled over and played dead, heading into the state playoffs as a qualifying team. They didn't and we know the result as they ended the season for Bellefonte, East Pennsboro, West Mifflin and Holy Ghost Prep. Finishing 4-0 in the state tournament enroute to securing a PIAA Championship.
Fast forward to 2023, Spartan Pride reigns supreme. Montour is rolling along as the winning continues posting a 7-0 record (at press time).
It all began with the ritual of traveling down south in what amounts to a spring training of sorts.
While in Florida to fine tune their game for league play back in the north, Montour notched three victories in impressive fashion scoring 25 runs while giving up a scant eight. Winning by margins of 8-5 and 3-0 along with a 14-3 blowout.
Upon returning home, they zeroed in on the task at hand. In WPIAL League play, the Spartans continue to impress. In four games thus far, the record remains unblemished, scoring 46 runs, surrendering only seven including two shutouts.
Defensively, this team always has leather on the ball making sparkling plays that turn opponents' heads. Montour's pitching staff this season is one of the best in the area.
Offensively, they hit the cover off of the old horsehide, seemingly pounding the ball at will. Power hitters adorn the lineup and run the bases extremely well in all aspects.
Leadership is key. Senior leadership is something most coaches can only dream of and Montour has the luxury of having a boatload, all 10 with vital playing experience.
Entering their final go around are Seniors Adam Weber, Brock Janeda, Cole Fleck, Craig Sonson, David Gallagher, Nick Walker, Shane Knause, Zac Stern, Vinnie and Tony Markulin. For good measure, toss in a pair of Junior starters, Maddox Tarquinio and Jake Robinson and the winning recipe is complete.
There is no crystal ball to predict the future of the Spartans season. Will they capture the WPIAL crown? Will they notch back-to-back state titles? Only time will tell.
One thing is for certain, Montour baseball once again is worth watching. It'll be interesting to see how the remainder of this regular and postseason play out.