Ferndale grad to have PNG debut Friday for Curve
By Matthew Knaub
For the Mirror
As a child, Johnstown native Trey McGough attended Curve games at then-called Blair County Ballpark, cheering on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ prospects — his favorite Major League Baseball team.
Now, several years later, he will take the same mound as the prospects he grew up watching, as a member of the Pirates’ organization.
McGough, a 2019 Pittsburgh draft selection, was promoted to Altoona from High-A Greensboro earlier this month. He made his Curve debut at Richmond on June 4, making him the first Johnstown native to ever play for Altoona.
“Honestly, it was surreal,” McGough said about his promotion to the Curve. “I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was super, super excited [and] super overwhelmed with emotions.”
On Friday night, McGough will start on the mound again for Altoona, marking the first time he’s ever played at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
“It is absolutely awesome where I am at right now,” McGough said. “I am super grateful for it and super blessed.”
A graduate of Ferndale Area High School, McGough played both ice hockey and baseball for the Yellow Jackets. He spent hours practicing and playing hockey for both Ferndale and a travel team at Galactic Ice in Altoona, in the shadows of PNG Field.
“It was a very fond memory of mine going there twice a week, coming out here and being around my best friends and being able to play hockey,” McGough said.
McGough ultimately chose to pursue baseball after high school, attending Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The left-hander led the Mountaineers in innings pitched and strikeouts during his sophomore season in 2018 and as a junior the following year.
McGough started 12 contests in 2019, going 3-4 with a 4.74 ERA. Following the season, he was selected by the Pirates in the 24th round of the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
In 2019, McGough posted a 3.86 ERA in 18 games at the Rookie and Class A Short Season levels. All of his appearances were in relief.
With the minor league season canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McGough remained in Johnstown and worked out at home. Despite not having the opportunity to play, he tried to make the best of the situation.
“I honestly try to look at it as a blessing, I feel like everything happens for a reason,” McGough said. “I just try to take it like that every day.”
In six matchups this season with the High-A Grasshoppers, the southpaw was dominant, recording a 2.00 ERA in five relief appearances and one start. He made his first appearance for the Curve on June 4 against the Flying Squirrels, allowing three earned runs in a start that lasted 3 2/3 innings.
“His mix (of) secondary stuff is really good, so it’s going to have a good balance with the rest of the guys,” Curve manager Miguel Perez said of McGough. “I’m excited him to watch him pitch this year.”
McGough’s family and friends are also very excited to see him pitch in Altoona Friday night. For many of them, this will be the first time they’ve seen McGough pitch since his days playing for Ferndale and in the All-American Amateur Baseball Association (AAABA) in Johnstown.
“We feel blessed,” McGough’s father, Scott McGough said. “Every year is just another year we feel blessed that we still get to watch him.”
Trey McGough’s parents attended many of his collegiate and minor league games over the years, including a few in Greensboro this season. For Scott McGough, having the opportunity to still see his son take the mound is something for which he is very grateful.
“Every year is just a bonus (and0 a blessing,” Scott McGough said. “It’s very enjoyable to still have that opportunity.”