Last Updated: Wed May 17, 2023 - 3:58PM
The 2021 season for Derry Area baseball will always be remembered fondly, as the Trojans captured a section title for the first time in 30 years. Among the top players on that squad was Josh Ulery, who has since become a fixture in the lineup for the University of Pitt-Johnstown. Ulery is in the spotlight for the latest installment of the Westmoreland Alum Q&A.
Ulery made the Derry Area varsity as a freshman in 2018, as he played in 16 games, batting .264 with nine runs and a pair of RBIs. He also saw time on the mound, posting a record of 1-1 with an ERA of 6.30. The Trojans struggled on the campaign, going 6-13 overall, including just 3-11 in section play, failing to make the postseason.
The following year, Ulery appeared in 18 games, compiling an average of .304 with a dozen runs, 12 RBIs, and five steals. On the hill, he went 0-3 with one save and an ERA of 4.74. Derry Area went 7-11 overall, including 4-8 in the section, and missed the WPIAL playoffs.
After COVID wiped out his junior season, Ulery returned to the diamond in 2021, and he helped produce a season for the ages. In 16 contests, he hit .558 with 20 runs, 21 RBIs, one home run, and 13 steals. As a pitcher, he was 3-2 with a save and an ERA of 2.36. His stellar play helped Derry Area go 12-5 overall, including 8-2 in section action. The Trojans qualified for the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs, and defeated New Brighton in the first round. Derry Area fell to McGuffey in the quarterfinals to conclude the campaign.
After his graduation, Ulery opted to continue his career on the diamond at the University of Pitt-Johnstown. He joined the Mountain Cats as an infielder for the 2022 season. He played in 32 games, including 29 starts, batting .263 with 14 runs and 11 RBIs. The Mountain Cats went 20-27-1 overall, including 7-21 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).
This season, Ulery appeared in 43 games, including 38 starts. In that action, he hit .299 with 25 runs, 18 RBIs, two homers, and four steals. UPJ compiled a mark of 18-31 overall, including 11-17 in the PSAC.
With his sophomore season recently concluded, Josh took time to field questions about his individual and collective goals for 2023, the impact that coach John Flickinger had on his career, and the advice that he’d give himself as a high school freshman.
Q: What have been your biggest areas of improvement from your freshman season to this year?
A: Having confidence at the plate and in the field is the biggest thing that changed for me.
Q: What is an underrated aspect of your game?
A: My speed.
Q: What are the best aspects of playing in the PSAC?
A: The level of competition every single game. You can't take a game off.
Q: What goals did you set for this season, individually and for the team?
A: I wanted to be an everyday player and make an impact for the team. The goal is always to extend the season and make it to the playoffs.
Q: What is your offseason schedule like to hone your skills?
A: Lifting every day and getting extra reps hitting and fielding.
Q: What led to your decision to attend Pitt-Johnstown?
A: I knew the coaches from playing travel ball, and I liked the campus and what the school had to offer.
Q: What is your major and ideal future profession?
A: Finance, and I'd like to be a financial advisor.
Q: What has been your most challenging college course?
A: American Political Process
Q: You played for longtime coach John Flickinger at Derry Area. What were his best qualities?
A: He trusted us to go out and play and didn't put too much pressure on us. He was the first guy to let you know when you made a mistake, but also the first guy out of the dugout when you made a good play.
Q: What was your fondest high school memory?
A: Winning the section title my senior year.
Q: Who was the best player you faced in high school?
A: Jarret Bach from Yough
Q: What is your reaction to the new MLB rules this season?
A: I like the pitch clock, but there could be some things done to fix it.
Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
A: Bacon cheeseburger
Q: Who would you choose to portray yourself in a movie about your life?
A: Miles Teller
Q: What advice would you give yourself as a high school freshman?
A: There's going to be a lot of challenges along the way, but if you work hard and stay focused on your goals, the results will come.