Ferndale’s Trey McGough had just experienced a hectic stretch of adrenaline rushes on the mound, in the clubhouse and in the air.
The Pittsburgh Pirates minor league pitcher didn’t mind one bit.
McGough earned a promotion to the West Virginia Black Bears in the Class A short season New York-Penn League. In a bit of irony, he had to travel from Burlington, North Carolina, to State College to join the Black Bears for a series against the Spikes this weekend.
“It’s super exciting. It’s amazing just knowing that my hard work is paying off and they’re taking notice of it,” McGough said on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m getting a chance to keep playing and being promoted.”
McGough has had success since the Pirates selected him in the 24th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft in June.
The 6-foot-3 left-hander from Mount St. Mary’s College went 2-0 with one save and a 1.04 earned run average for the Bristol (Va.) Pirates in the Appalachian League at the rookie level. He had 26 strikeouts and five walks in 171/3 innings.
On Thursday night with the Pirates playing in Burlington, McGough tossed three innings and earned his first professional save. He struck out five batters.
“The manager said he wanted to talk to me in the meeting after the game,” McGough said. “During the meeting he announced that I got called up.
“The team was excited for me. When we drove back to Bristol, it was 3 in the morning.
“I had to pack my stuff and be at the airport by 8 in the morning. I was on planes all day. A pretty hectic two days.”
McGough starred at Ferndale High School and played two seasons – 2016 and 2017 – on the Martella’s Pharmacy teams that represented Johnstown in the AAABA Tournament.
He had a successful career at Mount St. Mary’s. In fact, he and the Mountaineers were in State College to play Penn State University this past spring.
“As soon as they said I was going to meet the team in State College, I was pretty pumped,” McGough said. “It was my last outing in college (against Penn State).
“It was familiar. Even the clubhouse was familiar.”
Because he threw three innings on Thursday, McGough might not pitch against the Spikes due to Friday’s travel day and the traditional rest between appearances.
McGough hopes to continue to climb in the Pirates organization. He attributes his recent success to hard work and his mental approach.
“I’m focusing more on trying to – I wouldn’t say be perfect – but be the best I can, and pitch to my strengths,” McGough said.
“I know if I throw my best, I can get outs.”
Into the (AAABA) pool: Thirteen cities will be represented among the 16 slots in the pool play brackets during the 75th annual AAABA Tournament next month.
Representing Johnstown will be defending AAABA Tournament champion Martella’s Pharmacy and Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors, the tournament runner-up in 2016 and 2017.
This year’s regular-season champion Paul Carpenter and runner-up Martella’s are tied 1-1 in a best-of-5 series to determine which team gets the night games.
The series resumes on Sunday night after Saturday’s game was postponed due to a lack of umpires.
Two other cities will have two teams in the tournament this year.
While not ideal, the scenario is an improvement on 2018, when Brooklyn and Buffalo each had to provide three teams and Johnstown, two, to fill the 16-team field.
Buffalo will send Royal Printing as its No. 1 team while Full Circuit Power will be the second representative.
Brooklyn will be represented by the SAYO Grays as the top team and either the Bonnie Rams or Brooklyn Cougars as the second squad. Those two teams are tied and will play a one-game playoff on Tuesday to determine who gets the second Brooklyn spot in Johnstown.
Altoona’s Johnston Realty won a very competitive Altoona AAABA League title to earn a trip over the mountain for the tournament.
The Cleveland Blaze, Columbus Jets and Zanesville Junior Pioneers will be Ohio teams in the tournament.
Maryland State Crabfest returns as does the New Brunswick Matrix, one of the top contenders over the past decade.
Perennial power New Orleans Boosters is back after finishing second to Martella’s last year and winning in 2017 and 2015.
The New York City Long Island Astros, Philadelphia Bandits and Youngstown Creekside Crocodiles are three other familiar franchises that round out the 16-team tournament.
Playing the fields: Seven fields will be used throughout the 75th annual tournament.
Sargent’s Stadium at the Point will host day-night doubleheaders involving the two Johnstown teams as long as both remain alive.
Games will be contested at Roxbury Park and Fichtner Field, formerly known as Johnstown Middle School. Both are located in the city.
Games also will be played at nearby Westmont Hilltop High School field.
Portage’s Haschak Field and Lilly Washington War Memorial Field will be two sites located in the northern part of the county.
Mount Aloysius College in Cresson also will host games on the NCAA Division III program’s artificial playing surface.