Walker, Zuchelli, 1979 Conemaugh Township team joining Old-Timers Hall of Fame

Editor's note: This is the first of three parts highlighting the members of the 2023 Somerset County Baseball Old-Timers Hall of Fame class.

The Somerset County Baseball Old-Timers will host the 26th annual Hall of Fame induction picnic and ceremony beginning at noon on Aug. 12, at the Stoystown American Legion Post 257. The induction ceremony will begin at 2 p.m.

Here is a look at three members of the 2023 class:

David Walker

Walker began his playing career in the Somerset Little League program. He competed on the Somerset Area High School team from 1976 to 1978. Walker coached his sons Joe and Mike in Little League, beginning in 1988. His coaching career blossomed from there. He has coached at Somerset since 1998 and is still a part of the varsity staff. Walker has also been on the Somerset American Legion staff since 1999.

"Coach Walker has been an instrumental piece of the success of the Somerset baseball programs," said Somerset High School assistant coach and Somerset Baseball Club American Legion Manager Bart Close. "He has been a part of 10 LHAC championships and four district championships. From 1988 to 2000, he was a huge part of the success of the Somerset Little League, Senior League and American Legion programs as an assistant coach. Dave has dedicated his life to baseball."

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Current Somerset High School baseball coach Jimmy Mayer spoke highly of Walker.

"I can tell you firsthand, having Dave as my assistant coach for the past two years on the high school team that there is nobody that cares more about the game and the kids than Dave Walker," Mayer said. "There is nobody more dedicated to the program than Dave Walker. If anybody is worthy of being a Hall of Famer with the number of kids that he has helped grow a love for the game, it is him."

2023 Hall of Fame Class Walker, Zuchelli, 1979 Conemaugh Township team joining Old-Timers Hall of Fame

Gene Zuchelli

Zuchelli played his baseball in the Acosta and the Quecreek area. He was an umpire at the Boswell Area Jaycees Little League Tournament for more than 25 years.

He went into coaching and led the Boswell American Legion team alongside Andy Novak for many years when Jenner-Boswell did not have a baseball team. Zuchelli aided in the organization of the Boswell Junior Legion team which he also coached.

Throughout his career, Zuchelli coached Somerset County Baseball Old-Timers Hall of Fame members John Deaner, Ron Druist, Edwin Smith, Mark Ridilla and Bill Gavel.

Zuchelli was married to the late Marie McGuire Zuchelli for 54 years and is the father of Lisa, Mark, Lynna, and deceased sons Frankie and Mike. He has seven grandchildren. Zuchelli is retired after working for Latrobe Steel and as a wood worker. Now, Zuchelli enjoys reading, walking, golfing as well as traveling to visit his children and grandchildren.

The 1979 Conemaugh Township baseball team

The 1979 Conemaugh Township baseball team went 15-1, claiming a Tri-County League championship, a District 5 title and earning a trip to the state title game, where the team suffered its only loss of the season to West Perry.

In the 1978-79 scholastic sports year, the football team won a Mountain Conference title. The basketball team won a Mountain League and District 5 championship, eventually suffering its only defeat in the state title game.

Many of the players were multi-sport athletes and carried the momentum of one successful sports season into the next. Dan Honkus, Todd Hostetler, Jeff Pitera and Sam Zambanini all went on to play collegiate baseball. Jeff Hostetler was a football standout who went on to play at Penn State and West Virginia University. He had a successful NFL career, winning a Super Bowl with the New York Giants. Those players along with Tommy Blough, Dan Jones and Robert “Bubsy” Jones all went on to star in the Johnstown Junior (AAABA) League.

Zambanini has more than 400 wins as the head baseball coach Conemaugh Township. He was inducted into the Old-Timers Hall of Fame in 2015. The majority of players from the 1979 Conemaugh Township team have highly successful careers in fields including financial services, banking, automobile design, computer technology and engineering. The team was comprised of talented and motivated individuals that meshed as a unit under the guidance of late head coach and hall of famer Dave Michaels along with assistant coach Ron Goisovich.

Adam Ripple is the Daily American sports editor. He can be reached at 814-444-5926. Follow him on Twitter @ARipple_DAsport. Follow Daily American Sports on Facebook and @dailyamericanmedia on Instagram.

This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Meet the 2023 Somerset County Baseball Old-Timers Hall of Fame Class