“Finan” a Way to Make it Happen

By Zach Albert
Dunmorean Intern            

As we continue through the 2020-2021 academic and athletic seasons, we are highlighting the time and effort put in by Dunmore Athletic Director Mark Finan and his teams. 

The completion and success of the 2020 football and 2020 volleyball seasons are examples of accepting the responsibilities involved in keeping everyone as safe as possible while setting a foundation for the winter and spring sports seasons.

With a similar diligence to remaining safe in preparation, the basketball teams are continuing their seasons and are approaching the playoffs. 

When asked about preparation for these athletic and academic seasons, Finan explains: “Summertime is the start; scheduling the junior high and seven varsity sports for the upcoming fall seasons with the unknowns still present was a challenge. We actively communicate with the PIAA and LIAA and take this as seriously as anything you can plan for. 

“Scheduling challenges include ensuring officials, workers, security are all available for the scrimmages, exhibitions before the regular seasons begin. We are thankful the fall seasons went through as smoothly as they did.” 

Following up on that response, we asked about how he responded to the positive COVID-19 result of a member of the boys’ basketball program, and we thank his candidness in his response: 

“First action was to reach out to the member of the program who tested positive, checking on his status. The next was communicating with the COVID-19 Coordinator, and then all staff within the program. Continuing to follow all protocols and advice from the health and sporting organizations as we play the postponed games is key to ensuring we qualify for a league title as safely as we can.” 

We then asked Finan if there were differences in preparation per sport, and his response prompted his questions of how mask mandates will be applied in baseball and softball. 

“For a sport like basketball, where glasses are less likely to fog up with the indoor-controlled conditions, the mask mandate was easier to adjust to. In a sport like baseball or softball, with the ball as dangerous to the human body as it is, it is not as simple to mandate the mask, as it can cause glasses to fog up and compromise the safety of our student athletes, he explains.

“ I am looking forward to having discussions with all entities involved in getting a solution, potentially the Gaiter mask, which is becoming more popular, in place for all to safely enjoy these sports.” 

We then asked about any learning points through the pandemic able to be used moving forward, and before explaining further, he emphatically says “Absolutely.” 

 “The Return to Safe Play Plan continues to be reviewed as we continue towards normalcy. We’ve created great services to the community through a multitude of platforms. First, with the help of Rich Banick, we have launched DHSTV.net, which uses YouTube to host the videos, where we are broadcasting each home game live. 

“We thank Nick Mack of NPF for basketball play-by-play, and statistician Robert (RG4) Grady for streaming our swim team coverage. Social media outlets like Twitter are also used for those not yet familiar with our video streaming service.” 

We asked if there are any other announcements, comments, and Finan did have one: 

 “We are bringing back the Golden Age Pass for all Dunmore citizens 62 years or older, as we want our long-term Bucks at the events and knowing they are appreciated for attending!”

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.”