Local baseball teams gear up for the season
The NTL season starts today for both East and West while in the IAC all three local schools have tough games. Down in Sullivan County the Griffins will look to rebound from a tough start.
Head coach: Bob Rockwell
Assistant coaches: Lyle Wesneski
Record last season: 16-6
Returning players: Wes Moore, Josiah Bardo, Emmett Watson, Jacob Barrett, Seth Martin, Tim Bassett, Chase Pepper, Tanner Machmer, Kyle Landis, Jacob Butcher, Garrett Wesneski, Connor Route, Trevor Route, Travis Butcher, Jarin Segur are all guys who saw Varsity action last year
Newcomers: John Bowman, Mason Moore, Mason Martell, Trevor Hartford, Lee Rogers, Gunnar Wesneski, Jordan Bentley, Bryce Cole. These are guys who could help the Varsity out with some early action on the JV team.
Projected pitchers: Pepper, G. Wesneski, Bowman, Bardo, Barrett, Landis, Martell, M. Moore
Thoughts on this year's team: Coach Wesneski and I like our team. We are as deep at positions as we have ever been as several guys could see a lot of varsity time. We won't be going with just 9 or 10 guys like in past years. It will come down to keeping our pitchers healthy and finding the right combinations on the defensive side of the ball.
Thoughts on the league this season: This is the first time we will be in the NTL West. I don't know a lot about the personnel in that league, but I know Wellsboro is always tough.
Head coach: Matt Perry
Assistant coaches: Joe Zaparzynski, Chris Neil, and Levon Whitmeyer
Record last season: 7-13
Returning players: Taylor Hillson (12, SS), Derrick Burd (12, 1B/C), Brady Andrews (3B), Sam Rotella (P, OF), Blake Doan (OF), Bryce Zaparzynski (2B/P), Max Colegrove (OF), Ben Wilson (OF)
Newcomers: Bo Burleigh (P/1B), Jarrod Burd (P,2B), Rylan Whitmeyer (C), Ryan Bogaczyk (OF)
Projected pitchers: Sam Rotella, Jarrod Burd, Bo Burleigh, Taylor Hillson
Thoughts on this year's team: We should be competitive. We have 12 players and I feel confident in everyone's ability to help out in any way that they are asked. The anchors of this year's team must be our pitching staff. We experienced difficulty throwing strikes last year, which put us behind early in a lot of games, and we were unable to come back. The team has made some adjustments this year and expects to compete with the best teams in the district. We are looking forward to the season getting started.
Thoughts on the league this season: Most of the teams are very well-rounded. Our league is getting better and I think it helps prepare everyone for district competition.
Wellsboro Green Hornets
Head coach: Philip Prough
Assistant coaches: Shane Mascho, Tim Frazier
Record last season: 12-5-1
Returning players: Matt Reese (12, SS, P), Ben Shaw (12, C), Dylan Prough (11, CF), Brian Doty (11, 1B), Connor Coolidge (12, 3B), Dan Saniga (12, P), Brandon Owlett (11, 2B), Luke Rudy (12, OF)
Newcomers: Dawson Prough (9, OF, IF), Nate Harding (11, OF, C), Cody DeHaas (11, OF, IF), Pat Smith (11, OF), Pat Spang (11, OF)
Projected pitchers: Dan Saniga, Brandon Owlett, Matt Reese, Dylan Prough
Thoughts on this year's team: Wellsboro returns the core of the team, especially the middle defense. Although not as deep as last year, we hope to offset the lack of depth by remaining healthy and eligible, as injuries impacted us last season. Offensively, we have a good mix of speed and power. Pitching is always a concern, but we return a true ace in Dan Saniga. Matt Reese and Dylan Prough return as leading NTL players for their positions, SS and CF respectively, and Ben Shaw returns for his senior year as perhaps the league's best hitting catcher. Brian Doty returns as a power hitting first baseman and critical role players returning are Owlett, Coolidge and Rudy. On the Rookie front, Dawson Prough will play a vital role for the team as a utility player and solid bat within the line-up.
Thoughts on the league this season: The movement of Canton to the NTL West division will make it tough for us to repeat at NTL West champs. Mansfield returns a lot of players too. But our kids have had many battles with both teams throughout their baseball careers so I expect another tight race this year. Although Towanda lost some key players, I think Towanda and Canton are the deepest pitching teams and therefore, considered the favorites. But we definitely have the talent to be in the hunt and I'll be disappointed if we're not.
Sullivan County Griffins
Head coach: Walter Tubach
Assistant coaches: Dick Jordan (Volunteer coaches) Roy Meyer and Kevin Bullis
Record last season: 13-9
Returning players: Tom Blasi (12) outfield, Sean Flannery (11) outfield, Colton Fry (11) infield, Jake Gavitt (11) infield, Lucas Hatton (12) outfield, Barry Heinrich (12) infield, Robert Hoffman (10) outfield, Conner Wylie (11) infield, Zach Meyer (12) infield, Kelby Mullen (12) infield.
Newcomers: Derek Farrell (12) infield, Stephen MacElhaney (10) outfield, Taylor Shenk (11) outfield, Derek Wilkins (12) infield.
Projected pitchers: Tom Blasi, Sean Flannery, Colton Fry, Barry Heinrich, Conner Wylie, Zach Meyer, Kelby Mullen, Derek Farrell
Thoughts on this year's team: We have 10 returning players. Our boys play well together and are very unselfish. They just want to win no matter who or how we do it.
Thoughts on the league this season: The league is always tough but we feel we can play well and reach the playoffs again
Head coach: Stephen Mattocks
Assistant coach: Tony Carter
Record last year: 12-9
Returning players: Joshua Mattocks (12, C), Landis Zimmerman (12, SS), Jarod Mattocks (10, 2B)
Newcomers: Darton Harwick (12, OF), Trey Murray (12, 1B), Ryan Reeves (11, OF), Stanley Zimmerman (11, OF), Bradin Heimbach (11, OF), Kyle Jackson (10, OF), Chance Lantz (10, 1B), Scott Reese (10, 3B), Mitchel Morse (10, OF), Kyle Schucker (9, 3B), Collin Binford (9, 2B), Nathan Swain (9, OF)
Pitchers: Kyle Jackson, Ryan Reeves, Trey Murray, Josh Mattocks, Darton Harwick, Bradin Heimbach, Chance Lantz
Thoughts on this year's team: A lot of new starters and a young, untested pitching staff. We have strong senior leadership and a lot of young talent. The kids have worked hard and are ready to make a run at districts. The kids want to get back to the playoffs.
Thoughts on the season: In the East Towanda and Athens have strong pitching staffs and are always tough teams. Sayre, with (Nick) Skerpon, has a strong, well coached team. I know their kids have been working hard. Wyalusing is always tough. They won the east last year with 16 kids that know how to play the game not to mention the coaching staff they have. Northeast Bradford is going to surprise a lot of teams this year regardless of whether they win or lose teams will know they played a good team. In the West Canton has a pitching staff that is tested and has proven they can win, not to mention they are mainly Juniors and Sophomores that are pitching. The senior infielders they have are just plain good ball players. Wellsboro has a lot of returning seniors. If I was to go watch a game it would be anytime Wellsboro and Canton play each other. What a group of players. Mansfield with (Taylor) Hillson, Andrew Zaparzynski and the rest of their team can compete with anybody. Williamson and Cowanesque have a lot of talent. Again any body that plays them will know they played a good team.
Notre Dame Crusaders
Head Coach: Bill Hopkins
Returning players: Hunter Thomas (Jr., SS), batted .420 last year, Wyatt Martin (Sr., 1B) led the team in RBI's and batted .370, (both were first team IAC All-Stars), Derek Marshall (Jr., C), batted .270 was a 2nd Team IAC All-Star, Parker May (So., INF, P, C) batted .333 as a freshman, Aaron Carson (Sr., OF, P), Kyle Metzger (Sr., 1B and OF), Tyler Boyles (Jr., 3B, P), Riley Leonard (Sr, INF, P),
Newcomers: Joe Prunier (So, OF), Sam Bruner (So., OF), Kyle Minchin (Fr., OF)
Thoughts on this year's team: We will go as far as our pitching takes us. Hoping to build upon our 10-8 record from last year with several returning players
Thoughts on the league: Waverly in the large division and Edison in the small division will be the torch-bearers for the league.
Towanda Black Knights
Head coach: Bill Sexton
Assistant coaches: Karl Raffin, Casey Baker
Record last season: 14-7
Returning players: Brandon Dinelli (Senior, Inf/P), Austin Markel (Senior, P/Inf), Cole Sexton (Senior, OF), Jared Lines (Junior, OF/P), Sawyer Strope (Junior, P/Inf/OF), Dylan Bates (Sophomore, Inf/P), Nick Place (Sophomore, C/P/Inf), Tristan James (Sophomore, C/P), Tye Fowler (Senior), Mitch Patel (Senior), Matt Bartholomew (Junior), Richard Benjamin (Junior), Matt Murphy (Junior), Ty Johnson (Sophomore)
Newcomers: 18 additional 11th, 10th and 9th graders up from JV
Projected Pitchers: Austin Markel, Tristan James, Sawyer Strope, Brandon Dinelli, Dylan Bates, Nick Place, Ty Fowler, Ty Johnson, Jared Lines plus four freshmen
Thoughts on this year's team: Young starters will have to step up and carry the varsity lead. Lack of competitive depth could be a problem. We intend to contenct at the league and district level.
Thoughts on the league this season: Always competitive. Any one of four or five teams could win the League title. We hope to be in the mix.
Head coach - Jon Pack
Assistant coach - Eric Secor
Record Last Season - 15-5
Returning Players - David Mendola (Senior, 3B), Nick Skerpon (Senior, SS), Kyle Lake (Senior, 2B), Cody Ketter (Senior, OF), Adam Wampole (Senior, OF), Nick Hall (Junior, C), Derrick Keir (Junior, P), Jake Wheeler (Sophomore, OF), Cuyler Kochin (Junior, 1B), Mike Rogers (Sophomore, P), Jay Greene (Junior, OF), JP Harbst (Sophomore, C), Tom Cook (Sophomore, Inf)
Newcomers: Jeremy Kyc (Junior, OF), Gabe Nobles (Junior, 3B), David Bidlack (Senior, C), Damion Bidlack (Sophomore, C), Marshall Felt (Freshman, Inf), Gavin Lundy-McCutcheon (Freshman, OF), Dylan Connor (Senior, OF), Joe Post (Junior, OF), Steve Yanuzzi (Junior, OF)
Projected Pitchers: Nick Skerpon, Derrick Keir, Nick Hall, Kyle Lake, Marshall Felt, Mike Rogers
Thoughts on this year's team: We have some returning starters mixed with some younger talent looking to replace 4-5 openings on the field. With only a 3 or 4 weeks to prepare for the season, we're trying to find the right mix of players to have good chemistry on the field.
Thoughts on the league this season: I think the league lost a lot of good talent last season. It will be interesting to see how the season plays out.
Northeast Bradford Panthers
Head coach: Brian Pifer
Assistant coaches: Ken Crown, Scott Hakes and Tyler Cook
Returning players: James Zajac (Senior, P/SS), Aaron Pifer (Sophomore, 2B), Ben Abell (Junior, Inf/P), Dylan Saxon (Senior, OF), Dylan Chapman (Senior, OF), Jesse Stroud (Senior, OF/P), Bryan Ford (Sophomore, 1B), Cody Clark (Junior, C), Austin Saxer (Junior), Jake Hottle (Junior, OF).
Newcomers: Nic Geiser (Freshman, Inf/P), Joby Leiser (Freshman, Inf/OF), Ryan Nagy (Freshman, Inf/OF)
Projected pitchers: James Zajac, Nic Geiser, Jesse Stroud, Ben Abell, Bryan Ford
Head coach: Bob Seymour
Assistant coaches: Kevin Evanek, Adam MaCauley
Record last season: IAC 10-6; Overall Regular Season 12-6;
Returning players: Jake Howland (C), Dakota Skinner (2B), Ryan Vergason (SS/P), Carter Jackson (1B, P, OF), Travis Moyer (Inf), Zach Baker (OF/Inf), Chris Buffum (OF)
Newcomers: Jesse Manuel (P, CF), Adam Perry (OF), Steven Lounsberry (OF/P), Cleaven Staples (OF)
Projected pitchers: Simmons, Manuel, Vergason, Jackson, Baker, Skinner
Thoughts on this year's team: Good nucleus of Juniors coming back that started last year as sophomores (Howland, Vergason, Skinner, Jackson). Simmons started as a freshman last year and Manuel came up at the end of the season as an eighth grader. Only two seniors on the team, so we are young, but the kids have been working hard to build on last year's season.
Thoughts on the league this season: Edison is the team to beat in the division again. Until someone knocks them off, they are still the defending champs. The IAC South Large School Division looks tough with Waverly the frontrunners but E.N.D. and Newark Valley look to be good, too.
Head coach: Kyle McDuffee
Assistant coaches: Charlie Havens, (Volunteers) Jamie Van Duzer, Mike Cron, Joe Wright, Mark Kuzma
Record last season: 14-7
Returning players: Cody Marchese (Senior), Patric Bronson (Senior), Tim Sutton Junior), Dylan Perry (Junior), Matt Lee (Senior), Zac Saxon (Sophomore), Anthony Girolimo (Senior), Brittan Wood (Senior), Kyle Kuzma (Senior), Matt McCabe (Senior)
Newcomers: Zack Cooney (Senior), Alex Uhl (Junior), Colton Miller (Junior), Garrett Mann (Junior).
Projected pitchers: Patric Bronson, Dylan Perry, Alex Uhl, Zac Saxon, Kyle Kuzma, Colton Miller, Zack Cooney, Cody Marchese
Thoughts on this year's team: We have some strong goals ahead of us, and we are preparing to accomplish them one game at a time.
Thoughts on the league this season: We know we have a target on us from our league and expect to see a lot of number one pitchers for each team.
Head coach: Dave Hitchcock
Assistant coaches: Bill Lutz and Volunteer coach Steve Pickett
Record last season: 14-4 NTL East Champions
Returning players: Andrew Pickett, Suede Reed, Shane Salsman, Chad Johnson, Jordan Salsman, Cody Pickett, Dylan Otis, Devon Carr, Kyle Tinna
Newcomers: Ryan Force, Ridge Williams, Hunter Brewer, Isaac Bennett,
Projected pitchers: Andrew Pickett, Kyle Tinna, Cody Pickett, Suede Reed, (Bullpen) Dylan Otis, Isaac Bennett,
Thoughts on this year's team: Lost the entire middle of the field to graduation and have to move everyone to a new postion this year and there will be some growing pains as we are very young with only four seniors and two juniors. Returning pitching looks like could be our strength and until we get more playing time offense could be an issue.
Thoughts on the league this season: I think the cold weather early on could play a factor but I think the league will be very competitive with Towanda, Athens and Troy being the teams to beat.
Cowanesque Valley Indians
Head coach: Geoffrey Whitesell
Assistant coaches Kevin McLean
Record last season: 8-12
Returning players: Luke Plummer (senior), Jake Burrel (senior), Brandon Whitesell (junior), Ryan Freeman (junior), Brandon McLean (sophomore), Nate Bonham (sophomore), Dakota Corwin (sophomore), Montana Gehringer (sophomore).
Newcomers: Connor Calaman, Tyler Melko, Chris Semour, Casey McLaughlin, Ethan Mead, Cameron Fay, Tyler Cline.
Projected pitchers: Tyler Melko, Brandon Whitesell, Connor Calaman, Luke plummer
Thoughts on this year's team: I think we should be very competitive and have a very good shot at districts. We are a very young team with seven new players this season.
Thoughts on the league this season: The league should be very competitive.
Head coach: Kyle Raupers
Assistant coaches: Paul Gilbert, Cody White, Randy Vargason, Al Orshal
Record last season: 8-12
Returning players: Craig Moore (senior, P/1B), Curt Moore (senior, 3B/P/C), Mike Estes (senior, OF), Zach Firestine (senior, 1B), Shane Bradley (senior, OF), Troy Stivason (junior, SS), Neil Carpenter (junior, DH/1B), Tyler Forbes (sophomore, P/OF), Stag Shadduck, (junior, 2B).
Newcomers: Tyler Birdsall (senior, P), Jake Shaffer (junior, C), Jay Adams (junior, OF), Dan Fisher (junior, 3B), Jon Kleiner (junior, OF), Nick Vosburg (sophomore, 3B), Zane Vargason (sophomore, P/OF), Sam Perri (sophomore, P/1B).
Thoughts on this year's team: Good senior class leadership. Our younger players will have to adapt to the speed of the varsity game and improve every day. Solid defense, pitching staff not giving up a big inning and enough good hitters in the line-up will give us a chance to win. As a coach that is all you want, a chance in the 7th inning.
Thoughts on this year's team: The NTL should be solid this season. Will have to earn every league victory by playing your best game each night. As a fan and as a coach for last decade, it seems that every league title run through Towanda. Canton will be missed in the league this year do to them playing in the west division.
Projected pitchers: Curt Moore, Craig Moore, Tyler Birdsall, Tyler Forbes, Zane Vargason, Sam Perri.