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Derry native Omar Ward tabbed Johnstown baseball league player of year

July 24, 2018

Summer baseball has been good to Omar Ward.

Not only did the Derry Township native power his team to the regular-season title and a 10th straight trip to the championship series in the Johnstown Collegiate Baseball League, but he also vaulted to the top of the MVP ballot.

Ward, an outfielder and pitcher for the Martella’s Pharmacy team, was named the JCBL player of the year Sunday after hitting a league-best .463 with 25 runs scored.

Ward, who played at The Kiski School and will be a sophomore at Canisius, also picked up three wins as a pitcher for Martella’s (27-3).

Ward, who only appeared in five games and pitched 52/3 innings as a freshman at Canisius, is out to prove he is more than just a reliever with a strong arm.

He wants to show that the all-around talents he displayed at the prep level can translate to college baseball.

“Being just a pitcher in college was different for me and not having that many appearances let me learn the game more, not just from a pitcher’s standpoint, but as a hitter and fielder also,” Ward said. “I focused on having more team-oriented at-bats, and being the smartest base runner I could be while staying aggressive.

“I am trying to prove to people that I can do it all when my number is called. That is what it all comes down to. My teammates made it easy; they’re a fun group of guys to play with.”

One such teammate, former Latrobe standout pitcher Ryan Shawley, made the All-JCBL team.

Shawley was the winning pitcher and Ward went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and three runs as Martella’s pounded Ophthalmic Associates, 18-1, to sweep the best-of-five semifinal series Sunday.

Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors reliever Jason Beranek (Mt. Pleasant) also made the all-league team, as did starting pitcher Ryan Augustine (Latrobe), who plays for Ophthalmic Associates.

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