Upper Dublin’s Swiger caps productive summer with gold at Keystone Games

Cole Swiger and baseball showcases just seem to go together.

The rising Upper Dublin senior played in both the Carpenter Cup and the Keystone State Games, two of the state’s premier high school showcases, this summer. At the Keystone Games, as part of the Delaware Valley Region team composed of Montgomery, Bucks and Chester county players, Swiger again rose to the occasion and helped the team to a Scholastic Division gold medal.

Also a key player for the Fort Washington General in Legion ball and one of Upper Dublin’s top returning players, Swiger has positioned himself for a strong senior year.

“It means a lot, I know how competitive the baseball is in the area,” Swiger said. “It feels really good because those are the guys I’d always want to be playing with and it’s a next-level thing and it feels good to be a part of it.”

Swiger played in the Keystone Games last year, but the Del-Val team didn’t have the same success. Still, he knew what it took to make the team and after Flying Cardinals coach Ed Wall sent his players information on this year’s competition, Swiger went for it again. The Keystone Games are an Olympic-style competition for athletes across the state of Pennsylvania played at various sites near the middle of the state at the end of July.

After making the team, Swiger joined his teammates for the baseball competition, which ran from July 30 to Aug. 2 and began with group play. Swiger said the Del-Val team was in the tougher of the two brackets, pooled with the West Region, Pocono Region and defending champion Capital Region.

The tournament began with a wild 12-7 win over Pocono, followed with a tight victory over Capital before losing 5-2 to the West, with Swiger sitting out, going into the playoff round. By value of its 3-0 record in the tougher pool, the West got an automatic bid into the gold medal game while 3-0 Lehigh Valley faced Del-Val for the right to go into the title game.

Swiger came up huge for Del-Val in that game, hitting a bases-clearing double that ended up supplying the winning RBI.

“It put us ahead,” Swiger said. “We eventually got to the gold medal game, so it was pretty special.”

Del-Val got its revenge on the West in the final, slipping by with an 8-7 victory to win gold.

Swiger, a dynamic athlete who covers plenty of ground in the outfield and has come a long way with his pitching, tried to play to his strengths. That meant being a menace on the basepaths whenever he got on. Swiger said he stole two bases in the first game of the tournament and was able to move up on passed balls or wild pitches pretty consistently.

“I was really able to be a patient hitter at the plate,” Swiger said. “I know how good the pitching can get especially with these teams in the Keystone Games. I was waiting for my pitch, I wasn’t trying to do too much at the plate, it helped me out.”

As part of the SOL American/Continental team in the Carpenter Cup, Swiger also played well in the team’s two games. That group developed an almost instant rapport and had an upbeat, positive vibe together.

“I’ll never forget for the rest of my baseball playing career,” Swiger said.

While it was a different group playing at York College, Swiger said the Del-Val team was much the same in terms of chemistry. He said it was the kind of group he wouldn’t mind playing with all the time and that the nature of the showcase seemed to bring out their best sides.

“Having guys that are the same caliber or maybe a little better than you, you want to be the best,” Swiger said. “You want to make yourself known so it’s good to have those guys there to push you.”

Swiger said his goal is to play in college and to that end, he’s had conversation with Bloomsburg, Ursinus and Immaculata. He’s also not content to stay where he is as a player and wants to continue to improve his hitting and his approach at the plate. Swiger brings plenty of pop with his bat, the next step is making that power a little more consistent.

Additionally, he’s expecting to take on a bigger role as a leader for the Cardinals as a senior. With first-team SOL American ace pitcher Christian Huckfeldt graduated and off to Scranton, the Cards need someone to fill his huge role within the team.

“Huck, he’s been a big help for me,” Swiger said. “Anyone that knows him knows he’s a great outspoken leader, so I can definitely take a lot from Huck and all that he’s done. I feel like I’m ready to be a leader.”

Before he hits the diamond, Swiger is hoping to help the Cards replicate their success on the football field this fall. As a receiver/outside linebacker, Swiger is looking for two very successful campaigns to end his high school career.

“I’m happy I had people like my coaches and my family with me along the way helping me out,” Swiger said. “I was glad to get this kind of experience because I’ll be more relaxed and more confidence in myself going into my senior year.”

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