By Steve Svetovich
Dunmore senior second baseman Richie Grippi is a natural leader both on and off the baseball field.
Son of Rich and Shannon Grippi, Dunmore, Richie has very strong role models.
Besides his parents, Dunmore baseball coach Mark Finan is a mentor who teaches his players how to win and play hard all the time.
And then there is Richie’s late grandfather, Doug Miele, former staffer for the defunct Scrantonian Tribune. His grandfather attended every one of Richie’s games and before he died five years ago correctly predicted his grandson would be a sparkplug infielder for the Dunmore Bucks right from his freshman year on.
And that Richie has been. A three-year starter at second base, he hit over .300 in his first two seasons and .300 last year as the lead off batter for Finan.
Richie, 18, is also a two-year member and guard on the Dunmore Bucks varsity basketball team. He is a member of the scholastic quiz bowl team at Dunmore.
With math and science as his best subjects, the scholar-athlete has a highly impressive 3.7 academic average.
The scrappy second baseman has great speed and led the Bucks in stolen bases last season.
He is grateful for what he has learned from Coach Finan. “He taught me to compete,” said the senior stalwart. “He is one of the most competitive people I ever met. He will do anything to win a game.”
Richie said the best advice he ever received came from his parents. “My dad once told me don’t do things when no one is looking that you wouldn’t do when someone is looking. That is the best advice anyone ever gave me. And my mom tells me the same thing. She teaches me to show respect.”
Richie talked about what it takes to be a solid second baseman on the high school level. “You need to have a good glove and quick hands. You need to be smart and know what to do with the ball even before the ball is hit to you.”
The steady infielder is busy this summer playing baseball for the Dunmore American Legion team.
A huge fan of the late Elvis Presley, Richie talked about his future goals.
“Well, first of all I want to be a leader on the field while helping my Dunmore team win a lot of games and go far in the playoffs in my senior year.
“Then I want to go to college, get good grades and get a good job. I’m not sure what I want to major in or where I will go. I am thinking Penn State, Temple, Pitt. We will see.”
Richie said the best baseball advice he ever received came from his late grandfather, Doug Miele. “Keep your eye on the ball. He always said that to me. It sounds simple, but it is very sound advice and it sure works.”
Richie’s late great-grandfather, Tony Miele, coached youth baseball for many years in the local area and is a member of the Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame.
Richie is looking forward to his senior year at Dunmore. “Dunmore is the greatest,” he said. “It is a town where everyone knows each other. It’s the best community, the best town.
“I love Dunmore High School.
“It’s the greatest school in the world.
“I told my parents the best thing they ever did for me was moving to Dunmore.”