Former Dunmore Pitcher Working on His Dream

By Steve Svetovich

Former Dunmore High School All Region pitcher Josh Zilla has a dream—to pitch in the big leagues. And he’s spent most of this summer in Florida working on making that dream a reality.

Son of Robert and Donna Zilla, Dunmore, Josh will be entering his sophomore year later this month as an Information Technology major at Keystone College, where he is a pitcher on the baseball team.

Josh Zilla, a pitcher with a dream of playing in the major leagues, is currently playing at Keystone College.

Josh Zilla, a Dunmore pitcher with a dream of playing in the major leagues, is currently playing at Keystone College.

Josh spent most of this summer pitching in the South Florida Collegiate League. His team played a 32-game schedule while Josh worked on developing a third pitch—a splitter.

The sophomore hurler played three years of varsity baseball at Dunmore High School, where he played four total years of baseball and four years of football. He was an all-star football player as well as a baseball all-star as a junior. He was an All Regional pitcher as a senior when he was named the Lackawanna League Division III Player of the Year. Josh was 7-0 with a minuscule 0.52 earned run average (ERA) as a senior pitcher. He fired a no-hitter and threw 24 consecutive scoreless innings at one point in the season. He struck out 61 batters.

Zilla pitched 14 innings in his freshman season at Keystone. He had a 2-0 record and impressive 1.90 ERA. He has a 3.0 grade point average at Keystone.

His coach at Keystone, Jamie Shevchik, recommended he learn a third pitch, and that is when Josh made his decision to play in the South Florida Collegiate League.

“He wanted me to work on a new pitch, a splitter,” said Zilla. “I worked on getting movement, getting it down and throwing it for strikes. I had a nice experience there learning a new pitch.”

Josh said he learned a lot from Shevchik in his freshman season.

“He teaches me to stay competitive and remain focused on the mound. Keep my mind straight and be more fluent with my delivery.”

The righty pitcher said coach Mark Finan and his assistants also taught him a lot at Dunmore.

“Coach Finan and his assistants were always telling me to be focused and keep my head in the game,” said Zilla. “They kept my mind straight and focused.”

Josh has been playing baseball since age five right up to Legion and now collegiate baseball. He loves the game and is spending the final month of his summer pitching for the Dunmore entry in the Dunmore Freedom collegiate summer league (formerly CSBL). Home games are played at Dunmore’s Sherwood Park.

“I want to keep getting better as a pitcher. I want to work on my control and velocity. I want to pick my grades up and work on getting my Information Technology degree, but that is a backup plan,” said Zilla. “My ultimate goal is to get drafted and pitch in the MLB. I want to pitch in the big leagues.”

Top Pitching Prospect Gets Promotion to Yankees

By Steve Svetovich

It was just a matter of time. But due to the first place New York Yankees unsettled starting pitching rotation, sooner came before later for 21-year-old top pitching prospect Luis Severino.


As of Friday, July 31, Luis Severino will now be playing for the New York Yankees.

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman announced the promotion of the Dominican born right hander from Scranton Wilkes-Barre to the parent club in time for a start against the Boston Red Sox in the first week of this month.

Severino was undefeated at 7-0 in a RailRiders uniform this season. He has a 1.91 ERA for the RailRiders and has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his a Triple A starts. He struck out a career high 10, allowing only one hit over six innings in his last start Wednesday against Lehigh Valley.

The Yankees placed righty Michael Pineda on the disabled list Thursday, July 30, with forearm tightness. Southpaw CC Sabathia suffered dehydration after starting for Pineda in hot Texas the next day.

The team was quiet on the trading front before the July 31 deadline as Cashman starts to turn towards youth from this point to the future. None of the Yankees major prospects were traded, a shift from past seasons.

Severino was signed as an international free agent for a $225,000 signing bonus in 2012. He made his professional debut with the Dominican Summer League Yankees I. He started 14 games and went 4-2 with a 1.68 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 64 and one-third innings pitched.

He started the 2013 season with the DSL Yankees I. He was 4-2 with a 2.45 ERA. He struck out 53 in 44 innings. He pitched in 10 games, including eight starts. Prior to the 2014 season, Baseball America ranked Severino as the ninth best Yankees prospect. He started with Charleston before being promoted to the Tampa Yankees of the Class A Advanced Florida State League. He pitched in the 2014 All-Star Future Games.

He was then promoted to the Trenton Thunder of the Class AA Eastern League. With the three teams in 2014, he was 6-5 in 24 starts. He shined with a 2.46 ERA and 127 strikeouts and only 27 walks in 113 and one-third innings.

He was ranked as the New York Yankees top prospect and 23rd best in the minor leagues prior to the start of this season. He began the season in Trenton before his promotion to Scranton Wilkes-Barre where he is a perfect 7-0.

Cashman announced Severino’s call up to the big leagues Friday, July 31, and it is a move anticipated all season for Yankee fans. Time will now tell if Severino is major league ready at 21, but do not count him out.