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Patriot Athletic Conference varsity baseball preview (area teams)

Warriors look to turn the corner in PAC

Patriot Athletic Conference

By Ryan Kaczmarski

The Fairview High School baseball team is on the cusp of something big.

It is coming off a season in which the Warriors finished 10-14, but the only key loss to the team is center fielder Kyle Starks, who graduated last spring.

The key returning players are seniors Tyler Cain and Matt Mears, junior Josh Szoradi and sophomore Derek Schwarber.

Along with Cain and Mears, Fairview will rely on Mark Gus and Sean Kerrigan for leadership.

The key newcomers will be freshmen Jason Sassano and Josh Filkill.

“We will be built on pitching, defense and speed,” Fairview head coach John Carter said. “Offense could be a challenge if we have to start three freshmen, though.”

According to Carter, the biggest games on the schedule are against Lutheran West on April 14 and 15, Columbia on April 21 and 22 and Rocky River on May 3.

As always, the team goal is to win the Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes division.

 

Brookside aims for better record and playoff run

Patriot Athletic Conference

By Joe Ostrica

Brookside baseball head coach Brad Bomback is not too thrilled with his team’s 8-16 overall record from last year. In addition to going just 3-13 in the Patriot Athletic Conference, the Cardinals ended their season with a 4-3 first-round playoff loss to Holy Name in the postseason.

“We are definitely a seasoned team with seven returning seniors,” Bomback said. “We also have great depth of pitching this year.”

Leading Brookside’s pitching staff is is senior Crae Watkins and his key target, senior catcher Mathew Seekins. Seekins has a .333 batting average and will serve as one of the Cardinals’ team captains.

“Mathew Seekins and Crae Watkins are both already committed to playing baseball in college,” Bomback said. “Mat will be attending Notre Dame of Ohio and Crae will be attending Lincoln University for his side-arm pitching abilities.”

Other Cardinals who may see action on the mound include senior captain Bryan Decato (who will also see action at first base); senior Nicholas Wehler (right field); senior Zach Green (third base); junior Kenny Pierson (first base); junior

Kyle Houston (third base); junior Cameron Drew (a center fielder with a .346 batting average); and sophomores Dudley Taw (right field) and Brad Hughes.

Senior Ryan Blotzer (utility); senior David Rangel (second base); junior

Nathan Jasko (shortstop); and sophomore Eric Vraja (utility) round out Brookside’s roster.

“The older guys are going to have to come together with our younger players,” Bomback said. “But I’m not too worried. They all are competitive.”

Bomback said he expects Firelands and Columbia to be key contending teams in the PAC.

“Firelands and Columbia always have great depth and talent in the PAC,” he said. “We definitely are looking to improve our record and do better in the tournament this season. Losing to Holy Name by one run last year was a hard pill to swallow for many of our returning seniors. They are ready to show what they can do.

“I’m looking forward to a great season with these young men. They are all competitive in nature and want to be successful. Combine that with our depth of pitching and it should make for a great season. We can’t wait.”

 

Lutheran West baseball looks to pitch to PAC title

Patriot Athletic Conference

By Ryan Kaczmarski

The Lutheran West High School varsity baseball team is looking to build from its winning season of 2013, when the Longhorns finished 11-10 overall and 9-7 in the Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes division.

The team lost starters C.J. Griffin and Eric Lewis to graduation, but return the bulk of its infield, including Aaron Geye (P-3B), 2013 co-MVP Eric Szczepinski (P-1B) and Collin McCartney (3B-1B).

The key newcomers to varsity this year are sophomore Tommy Walker and freshmen Josh Cales, Scottie Berghaus and Alex Robinson.

There are no games more important than the other for head coach Trey Lamb this season.

“We are going to play each game, one at a time,” he said. “We are built on pitching this year, but the utility players will also be a strength. Most of our players play three or four positions.

“We are also young and inexperienced. Our new group of players have to find out how to fit as a team.”

Winning a conference title and moving deep into the postseason are not the only goals for the team this year.

“We want to prepare our players for the step up to college baseball,” Lamb stated.

Rounding out the Longhorns roster are Greg Kunze, Noah Potantus, Joe Peters, Jacob Pshock, Nick Gambetta, Sam Jakabcic, Timmy Gettinger and Collin Gill.

 

 

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