Cal Sls Georgiana

Rob Burchianti | Herald-Standard

Seton LaSalle junior Sam Georgiana pitches against California during Friday’s WPIAL Class AA quarterfinal game at Burkett Park. Georgiana, who threw a three-inning no-hitter in the Rebels’ 15-0 win, is the son of Laurel Highlands graduate Larry Georgiana and Albert Gallatin graduate Michelle Franks Georgiana and the grandson of AG grad George Franks Jr.

Seton LaSalle will vie for a spot in the WPIAL Class AA baseball championship game on Monday when it sends ace pitcher Sam Georgiana to the mound against fourth-seeded Serra Catholic.

There will be a trio of local graduates watching the top-seeded Rebels, and especially the 17-year-old junior left-hander, with a great rooting interest when the 2 p.m. contest gets underway at West Mifflin.

Georgiana is the son of Laurel Highlands graduate Larry Georgiana and Albert Gallatin graduate Michelle Franks Georgiana and the grandson of AG grad George Franks Jr.

Larry played baseball for the Mustangs. Michelle played softball for the Lady Colonials. George was an American Legion baseball star (AG didn’t have a baseball program at the time) and was a walk-on and eventual starting third baseman at West Virginia University.

Sam Georgiana has been one of the WPIAL’s best players this season. He’s 7-0 with a 1.18 ERA, and has allowed just 23 hits while striking out 59 in 41.2 innings. A first baseman when he’s not on the mound, Sam’s batting average is .440.

Another number that’s very significant for Sam is 12.

“Samuel chose the No. 12 when he was five,” Michelle pointed out. “That was my dad’s jersey number. And, because my dad wore it, that was also the number that I wore when I played at AG. Now Samuel is still wearing No. 12 so it’s come down three generations.”

Michelle, who graduated in 1997, was a starter for the Lady Colonials who played second base, pitcher and outfield.

“We made the playoffs when I was there,” Michelle recalled. “I had some great teammates like Marissa Dugan and Jessica Piper, and our coach was Randy Brooks.”

Sam was meant to be a pitcher, according to Michelle, who recounted a time in their backyard when, at around 5 or 6 years old, he told her just that, and that she gladly became his first catcher.

“When I watch him now, I think back to when he threw his first pitch to me,” Michelle said.

Georgiana was dominant in the Rebels’ 15-0 quarterfinal win over California at Burkett Park on Saturday, throwing a three-inning no-hitter — the fifth game this season he hasn’t allowed a hit — and went 3-for-3 at the plate with a double and three RBIs.

“We had Sam on a pitch count of about 65 pitches,” Seton LaSalle coach Mike Wagner said. “He was under his threshold so he can still start on Monday. In fact we’ll have all four of our pitchers ready to go.”

One of those will be Wagner’s son, Brett.

Sam made an impact with the Rebels as a freshman in 2019 went he was 5-1 with a 1.84 ERA but lost his sophomore year to the COVID-19 pandemic which put a damper on his recruiting.

“There was some talk about him but then it all just died,” Michelle said. “COVID put everything on hold. We’re hoping after the dead period ends on June 1st things pick back up. But they’re saying there are 1,800 kids in the transfer portal right now.”

As a result, Sam’s college plans remain up in the air, but Michelle has mapped out a strategy.

“Does he have potential for D-I? Absolutely,” Michelle said. “There definitely were some schools like that interested. I think they can identify his potential.

“But do we want him to go and sit and not play? No, we want him to play ball because he loves it. What Samuel and I have talked about is that you want to go to a competitive school, even it it’s D-II or D-III, where you’ll be able to play, where the coach sees your potential, where they can help you get better.

“I want him to go where he can keep developing as a player.”

Sam made sure the pandemic didn’t stagnate his development in 2020.

“He really used that whole year to train,” Michelle said. “He went to Performance Velocity with Matt Pilewski and the Driveline Baseball Program out of South Park. He worked with some people out of the pros and the minors out of the Wild Things. Strength training, pitching skills, he put a lot of time in.

“He didn’t allow COVID to stop him. He used the time to improve his game.”

The Franks family has a rich coaching tradition — George was an assistant coach on some great football teams and was athletic director at AG — and one can tell Michelle has inherited those traits when she discusses the Rebels’ game against Serra.

“That will be a battle,” Michelle said. “That’s a huge rivalry. That will be a tough game. \

“But one of the best things about Seton is their lineup. Some teams have pretty good hitters one-through-five or six and then you say, oh good, we’re at the bottom of the order. Not with Seton. This team hits one-through-nine and we have guys on the bench who can hit who are just itching to get in. We have a lot of depth.”

Sam has a brother, Nate, 15, who is a sophomore outfielder/second baseman on the Rebels’ team, and a sister, 14-year-old Sarah, who is probably the most famous person in the family.

“Sarah and I were on Dance Moms, the Lifetime TV show,” Michelle said with a laugh. “Season eight. It was crazy.

“But I’ve always been the mom that’s done whatever she’s had to do to help my kids achieve their goals. It’s something my daughter wanted to do. We went out for it, we experienced it, we lived it.

“It’s the same thing from dance to baseball. Between my two boys and travel baseball and high school baseball, I probably see 120 games, so I watch a lot of baseball.”

Michelle said she’s always put her kids first.

“I gave up teaching to become a mom and help my kids carry out their dreams and passions,” she said. “I live every single day of my life to help my kids to become better at what they want to be in their life. Literally, that’s what I do.

“But I enjoy it. It’s great to watch them grow up and succeed.”

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