Andrew Casey identifies with super heroes.
In most walks of life, the Upper St. Clair senior possesses a personality akin to the mild, mannered Clark Kent.
“Andrew is one of the nicest, kindest kids that I have ever coached, top of the list,” said Danny Holzer, a social studies teacher and boys basketball coach at USC. “He’s a tremendous student and person. Awesome in every way.”
USC guidance counselor and baseball head coach Jerry Malarkey agreed.
“Andrew is an outstanding young man,” he said. “In all he does, he exudes character and integrity. In the four years that I have had with him, there has never been a moment that I didn’t trust him. He’s always doing the right thing and making the right choices. That just who he is.”
Andrew Casey is the son of Upper St. Clair graduate Sean Casey, who played 12 seasons for several Major League Baseball teams. In an attempt to avoid comparisons to his father, Andrew initially only played outfield in youth leagues.
“I shied away from first base,” he said, “but I like it now because it is fun.
“For me, in a way, it would be really cool to follow in his footsteps,” Casey added. “But I’m not totally my dad.”
Casey also excels on the basketball court. He scored 15 points in a WPIAL semifinal overtime loss to Butler. He led the Panthers this season with a team-high 5.5 rebounds a game and added 10.3 points per game.
“Andrew was a terrific player,” said Holzer. “He led by example, came up big for us in big games and was voted one of our team captains. That says it all.
“He always brought a competitiveness to the table and he works hard.”
Casey developed into one of the better hitters in the WPIAL. By his junior year, he was a .350-plus hitter.
“An RBI-producing, extra-base type of batter,” said Malarkey. “He makes good contact and can hit for power.
“While Andrew has done a great job of not living in his father’s shadow,” he added, “he recognized that his dad achieved what he did because of his work ethic and that rubbed off on him.”
Casey demonstrated that strength during a first-round playoff game last spring at West Mifflin. In his first at bat, he hit a home run to cap USC’s 6-3 win over Hempfield.
“I am a contact hitter. I try to hit the ball hard. Sometimes it goes over the fence,” he said with a shrug.
Though his senior season was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic, Casey continues to bat.
With a bucket of balls, he hits off a tee in his garage just as his old man did years ago. Not only does Casey also receive hitting tips from his father, his instructor is Sean’s former batting coach, Frank Porco.
“My dad has been very influential, but I have not been forced to do anything. He has always been there to help me along the way. My biggest supporter,” Casey said. “That’s what I love about him.”
Casey enjoys doing strength and conditioning workouts. He said he also works hard on the mental aspect of baseball.
“I have more time to do that because I’m staying at home a lot these days and we can’t go anywhere,” he said. “But the mental part of the game is so important, especially in the majors. And, that’s the dream.”
Major League Baseball wasn’t always the goal.
“I loved the game of baseball,” Casey recalled of his beginnings in youth baseball. “Nothing else. It was just the competition. The one-on-one, you against the pitcher and that bond you created playing with your friends. That’s why this year’s season being canceled is such a bummer. I was looking forward to this last year with my friends. It’s sad but there is nothing you can do about it. All you can do it remain positive.”
Despite his origins in youth baseball as an outfielder, Casey is a four-year starter at first base for USC.
“They threw me in there because I was tall and a big target,” Casey said. “I love to play first base. It’s my position now.”
The University of Dayton thought so too. The Flyers offered Casey a scholarship.
“To be honest, Dayton was the first one to look at me, text me and call me,” said Casey, who had several Division III offers to play basketball. “Everything fit perfectly. Dayton was not too far away, not a huge school and no one says anything bad about it.”
Malarkey agreed Casey is “definitely” a Division I baseball player. Now standing at 6-4, Malarkey said Casey will “do nothing but get bigger” and stronger at the next level.
“There’s unlimited potential for him to get better,” Malarkey said. “As he focuses just on baseball, the sky is the limit in what he can accomplish because he is so dedicated. You want to take a chance on a guy like Andrew because of his qualities and the person that he is.”