by Rick O’Brien, STAFF WRITER firstname.lastname@example.org
Upper Dublin placed fourth in the PIAA District 1 Class 4A baseball tournament and earned a berth in states four years ago.
Now, with a big boost from one of the school’s most versatile athletes, the Cardinals are in position to equal or surpass the 2012 success.
A four-year starter and two-way player on the diamond, Cole Swiger was part of District 1 championship teams in golf and football. He was a high jumper and 4×400 relay participant in indoor track and field.
“He’s always been a great competitor,” Upper Dublin skipper Ed Wall said. “No matter the sport, he lays it all on the line. He doesn’t know any other way.”
Swiger fired a four-hitter as the visiting Cardinals topped error-plagued Upper Moreland, 6-2, Monday afternoon to clinch at least a share of their second straight Suburban One League American Conference title.
The 18-year-old, who doubles as a centerfielder, beat out a grounder to shortstop and scored in the fourth inning. He drew a two-out walk in the fifth, moved to third on an error, and raced home on a wild pitch.
Swiger was batting .347 with six doubles and three triples from the No. 3 hole before Tuesday’s 7-0 blanking of Springfield (Montgomery County). He had a .571 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and a .404 on-base percentage.
A second-team all-American Conference selection as an outfielder last season, Swiger mixes a fastball, curveball, and change-up. He struck out three against Upper Moreland.
“I started pitching regularly last year,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot of pitching depth, so I figured I’d give it a try.”
Upper Dublin’s mound rotation also includes No. 2 starter Conor McFadden, Jason Greene, Thomas Reilly, Andrew McDermott, and Justin Horn.
Horn, the everyday shortstop and leadoff man, and outfielder J.T. Breslin (RBI single in the fifth against Upper Moreland) were hitting .436 and .375, respectively, through Monday.
After playing golf for three seasons, Swiger switched to football last fall. “I had a lot of buddies on the team, and I knew there was a strong chance of us doing something special,” he said.
With the 5-foot-9, 180-pound speedster playing wide receiver and outside linebacker, the Cardinals went 14-1, repeated as American Conference titlist, and earned the program’s first district crown.
“That was an unbelievable run,” Swiger said. “I’ll always have great memories from that season.”
Swiger, who has been clocked at 6.7 seconds in the 60-yard dash, will continue his baseball career at Bloomsburg. The Maple Glen resident plans to major in finance.