Head coach - Derick Reis (1st year)
Assistant coaches - John Searfoss, Jake Zurn, Adam McFarland.
League - AAA, Schuylkill League Division 1
Last year's record - 2-18 (1-11 SL)
Key Losses - Pat Duvigneaud, Justin Kaminski, Colton Knox, Christian Gavornik, Nicholas Montanaro.
Key returnees - Bryce Micciche (Sr., P/IF), Ian Sterling (Sr., P/OF), Mitch Peters (Sr., P/OF), Dominic Pompa (Jr., 1B/P), Dave Everitt (Jr., C/P), Alex Steigerwalt (Jr., OF/C), Jordan McEmoyle (So., IF/P).
Others to watch - Ryan Saunders (Sr., OF), Ricky Saez (Sr. IF/P), Will Kovolenko (Jr., OF), Ryan McCullough (So., OF/P), Brendan Carroll (Fr., IF/P), Chris Micciche (OF/P), Max Pompa (Fr., OF).
Outlook - This year's Jim Thorpe team looks to see a stong mix of contributions from both returning players and underclassmen, with 17 of 29 players in the program being underclassmen. The Olympians have been focusing on the fundamentals, playing the game the right way, and not giving games away. This unit is dedicated, so look for the Olympians to improve in 2014.
Quotable - "Our staff is really happy with the dedication that the players have shown, starting back in the fall and we're optimistic with direction the program is heading. The players are really buying into what we're preaching and are already showing improvement," Jim Thorpe head coach Derick Reis.
Head coach - Brian Polaha (5th year)
Assistant coaches - Matt Dierolf, Don Rehrig, Justin Roberts.
League - AAA, Mountain Valley Conference
Last year's record - 14-9 (7-5 MVC)
Key Losses - Jacen Nalesnik, Josh Kern.
Key returnees - James Farano (Sr. SS/P), Anthony Rossino (Sr. OF/P), Thatcher David (Sr. C/P), Nick Hill (Sr. OF/P), Vince Mele (Sr. 1B), Kyle Troch (Sr. DH/3B), Zach Rex (Sr. P), Jordan Knappenberger (Jr. OF), Brady Niehoff (Jr. 3B/P).
Others to watch - Brody Hydro (So. OF), Wyatt Clements (So. C), Ben Cordova (So. P/IF), Zach Kamowski (Jr. 2B).
Outlook - Lehighton will return several starters from last year's district semifinal team, which will surely help from an experience standpoint. However, losing two of their best hitters in Kern and Nalesnik is going to be a major issue. This year's team will have to lean on pitching and defense to lead the way to victories. With nine seniors on the squad, the Indians have expectations of once again qualifying for the MVC playoffs as well as district playoffs. From an offensive standpoint, this year's team will have a lot to prove.
Quotable - "On paper, this team certainly has enough to qualify for post-season play. Ultimately, the overall success of this team will lie with the offense, and the team's ability to find ways to score runs," Lehighton head coach Brian Polaha.
Head coach - Jeff Nietz (20th year)
Assistant coaches - Curt Gimbi, Pete Radocha, Tony Radocha, Al Bostdorff, Ken Snerr, Chris Higgins, Pete Salerno, Tim Marchetti.
League - A, Schuylkill League Division 2
Last year's record - 13-9 (9-7 SL)
Key Losses - Nick Kweder, Mike Cataldo, Eric Swankoski, Justin Bilka.
Key returnees - Frank Nietz (Sr., OF), Peter Baddick (Sr., P/IF), Luke Stawick (Sr., P/IF), Anthony Agosti (Sr., OF), Logan Mehalshick (Sr., P/IF), Austin Paisley (Sr., OF), K.J. Snerr (So., C/P), Dante Salerno (So., P/IF), Nick Kubishin (So., P/IF).
Others to watch - Robbie Hinkle (So., P/IF), Aaron DeAngelo (So., OF/P), Josh Inama (Fr., P/IF), Dan Keer (Fr., P/OF).
Outlook - Marian has an abundance of players returning with at least three year's of playing experience from last year's postseason squad. As usual, the Colts are looking to challenge for the Division 2 championship. The Colts coaching staff expects their team to be very deep, which should help them with all the back-to-back games they'll be playing to due the weather.
Quotable - "The 2014 edition of the Marian Colts baseball team will be extremely similar to last years Colts a great mixture of returning talent as well as a mix of new players to compliment the chemistry of the team. As usual, our goal will be to try and put a lot of pressure on other teams offensively, while playing solid defense," Marian head coach Jeff Nietz
Head coach - Erv Prutzman (8th year)
Assistant coaches - Steve Hluschak, Greg King, Chris Bennett.
League - AA, Colonial League (North Division)
Last year's record - 4-16 (2-14 CL)
Key Losses - Eli Oswald, Ryan Martinez, Dan Dailey, Drake Steele, Kris Seiler, Cody Hallman.
Key returnees - Tyler Dibilio (Sr. OF/1B), Matt Egan (Sr. P/IF), Austin Landis (Sr. C), Travis Nelmes (Sr. OF), Josh Hamm (Jr. P/1B).
Others to watch - Ryan Klass (Sr. 2B/P), Tom Quigley (Sr. P), John Taylor (Jr. P/3B), Brad Owens (Sr. OF), Nick Hoffer (Sr. P), Alex Sigley (Sr. C/1B), Jamil Alejandro (Jr. P/OF), Matt Pender (Jr. P/1B), Jeremy Tomkins (Jr. OF).
Outlook - Despite losing several key players from last year's team, Northern Lehigh will still be returning a great deal of experience this season. Matt Egan (.301 avg; 3.50 ERA) was a Colonial League Honorable Mention selection a season ago, and the Bulldogs will feature a number of other players that earned invaluable varsity experience last year. Defensivley, the Bulldogs should be strong up the middle with a core group that is familiar with one another. While satisfied with most areas of his team, Prutzman knows his squad will have to produce on offense to compete in the Colonial League.
Quotable - "The kids have been working hard. They've all had great attitudes and I think we're going to have a nice season," Northern Lehigh head coach Erv Prutzman .
Head coach - Len Smith (32nd year)
Assistant coaches - Duran Purrino, Billy Dayton, Josh Zimmerman, Dave Dorney, Brandon Olewine, Bob Fatzinger.
League - AAA, Colonial League (North Division)
Last year's record - 13-8 (9-7 CL)
Key Losses - Richard Perry, Alex Smith
Key returnees - Collin Breidinger (Sr. C), Austin Yanek (Sr. OF), Taylor Breininger (Jr. OF), Nick Rodriguez (Jr. OF), Josh Williamson (Jr. 3B/P), Brandon Eden (Jr. P/1B), Brady Mengel (So. 2B), Jake Augustos (So. SS).
Others to watch - Patrick Brannan (Jr. OF), Dakota Hamm (Jr. C/INF), Jordan Storm (Jr. P), Brandon Miller (So. P/INF), Isaac Fatzinger (Fr. UT), Tyler Schreiner (Fr. 1B).
Outlook - A year after reaching the District 11 Class 3A quarterfinals, Northwestern will be leaning on a nucleus of key returning players to once again reach the postseason. The experience gained last year should make the offense and defense more polished this time around. Pitching will also be a key for the Tigers this season, another area where the team should be strong. While Northwestern seems to have its bases covered on paper, there's no doubt someone is going to have to step up and fill the void created by Smith and Perry's departures. While untested, players such as Williamson, Storm and Miller will more than likely need to play major roles on the team this season.
Quotable - "Last season we exceeded expectations, especially when you consider the fact that we only had two seniors on the roster. The kids came out and played with a lot of heart, which helped us get to where we did. We know we have challenges in front of us, but there's no reason we can't improve on what we did last year," Northwestern head coach Len Smith.
Head coach - Mike Svetik (2nd year)
Assistant coaches - Mike Sander, Justin Petersen, Derek George
League - AAA, Colonial League (North Division)
Last year's record - 6-14 (3-13 CL)
Key Losses - Lee Kuntz, CJ Cressman
Key returnees - Nick Frey (Sr. 3B/P), Ty Achtermann (Sr. P/IF/OF), Mark Quinn (Jr. OF), Nathan DeKorte (Jr. 1B), Nick Sander (Jr. SS), Garrett Krome (Sr. 2B), Austin Cook (Sr. OF), Jon Schawz (Sr. OF).
Others to watch - Zach Buck (So. P/3B), Zach Svetik (So. P), Jonathan Schwartz (So. OF).
Outlook - With an experienced group of position players returning, Palmerton should be sound both defensively and at the plate this season. Though the Bombers will feature a relatively young pitching staff, the team should be able to compete in the Colonial League, and possibly challenge for a spot in the district playoffs, if it is able to do the little things well and improve some problem areas from a season ago.
Quotable - "We want to try and build on last year. We had a lot of tough losses and played several extra inning games that could have gone either way. But I think the kids learned from that experience and know what they need to do to improve this season," Palmerton head coach Mike Svetik.
Head coach - John Cooper (13th year)
Assistant coaches - Jimmy Kravelk, Rich Evanko, Jeff Szczecina, Kyle Krajnak.
League - AA, Schuylkill League Division 1
Last year's record - 5-15 (1-11 SL)
Key Losses - Rich Smith
Key returnees - Luke Stano (Sr., P/1B), Jake Szczecina (Sr., P/SS), Mark Williams (Sr., 3B), Kyle Ferryman (Sr., OF), Nate Hrebik (Sr., OF), Jake Kusko (Sr., P/Util), Matt Buss (Jr., C), Darren Goida (So., P/2B).
Others to watch - Anthony Vavra (So., OF/P), Matt Hudicka (So., OF/P), Pat Owens (Sr., 2B), Colton Black (Sr., C/SS), Sam Stanko (So., 2B).
Outlook - The Panthers only lost one starter from last season so they're expecting to improve on their 5-15 record from a year ago. They know they have to play near flawless baseball to compete with the bigger schools in Divison 1 of the Schuylkill League. They're very optimistic of a return to the postseason.
Quotable - "We have an outstanding group of student athletes this season. I expect our seniors to be great leaders on and off the field and lead this team into the playoffs," Panther Valley head coach John Cooper.
Head coach - Charlie Inserra (3rd year)
Assistant coaches - Mark Versuk, Jeff Lazowksi, Joe Anderson, Jeremy Gigliotti.
League - AAAA, Mountain Valley Conference
Last year's record - 14-9 (9-4 MVC)
Key Losses - Jordan Caffrey, Connor Cardenas, Dan Hrbek, Dylan Pasnak, Howie Stevens, Troy VanHouten.
Key returnees - Zach Borger (Sr. P), Chris Burke (Sr. P/3B), Ariel Mejia (Sr. 3B/DH), Adam Raseley (Sr. 2B). James Shank (Sr. C), Austin Yoffredo (Sr. Sr. IF), Nicholas Domenici (Jr. P/OF), Travis VanHouten (Jr. SS/P).
Others to watch - Thomas Aruta (Jr. 3B/P), Eric Bond (Jr. P), Walker Wentzler (Jr. P/1B), Brendan Kearns (So. OF/P), Matthew Pierce (So. OF/P).
Outlook - Pleasant Valley is an extremely hard working team that is going to be focused and give its best effort each time out. What the Bears may be lacking in physical talent, they're hoping to make up for with focus and good fundamentals. PV's starting pitching - led by Burke, Borger, Domenici and VanHouten - is very capable of winning in the MVC provided they throw strikes and stay ahead of hitters. The Bears may have to manufacture most of their runs because they certainly won't be a power hitting team.
Quotable - "One game, one inning, one pitch at a time...that's how this team is going to have to approach the season," Pleasant Valley head coach Charlie Inserra .
Head coach - Jeff Reading (13th year)
Assistant coach - Caleb Calarco, Craig Valentine, Bob Workman, Matt DelBorello.
League - AAA, Schuylkill League Division 1
Last year's record - 18-8 (9-3 SL)
Key Losses - Luke Matsago, Josh Zehner, Derek Rottet, Trey Reinhardt, Dylan DeLay, Travis Miller, Matt Yeakel.
Key returnees - Matt Roberts (Sr., C), Ian Nichols (3B/P), Adam Bates (Sr., OF/IF/P), Brett Kosciolek (Jr., IF/P), Bo Rottet (Jr., IF/P), Nate MacDonald (Jr., IF), Matt Minchoff (So., IF/OF/P).
Others to watch - Russell Blaker (So., OF/P), Zack Coleman (So., OF/IF/P), Connor Hartung (Jr., P/IF), Brad Fedor (Jr., OF), Jake Humes (Jr., OF).
Outlook - The Raiders graduated seven seniors from their Schuylkill League championship team a year ago, but return a lot of kids who saw significant time. Tamaqua will look to have another strong season on the mound with TIMES NEWS Baseball Player of the Year Brett Kosciolek returning. The Raiders spring training trip to Hilton Head, SC should also help them get a leg up on the competition as there is no doubt they'll be on the field before all the other area teams. Tamaqua returns a strong nucleus and should be competitive among the top of the Schuylkill League once again.
Quotable - "With the challenge the weather is going to present we'll playing a lot of games in a short amount of time. That means whichever team can get the most out of their arms will probably have the best year. We're expecting to be strong in the pitching department once again. Yeah, we have some questions mark there a little bit, but if everything comes together for us we'll be tough from the mound. We're just looking to go out there and be competitive in every single game and get back to the postseason," Tamaqua head coach Jeff Reading.
Head coach - Brian Kaminski (7th year)
Assistant coaches - Jeff Furmanchin, Tom Hinkle.
League - A, Schuylkill League Division 2
Last year's record - 3-17 (1-15 SL)
Key Losses - Kevin Hinkle, Brett Stallone, Vinny McCroy, Rob Hinkle (transferred to Marian).
Key returnees - Brian Maiello (Sr., C/3B), Tim Lash (Sr., P/SS), Mark Miller (Sr., 3B/2B), Luke Figas (So., P/LF), Kyle Osifat (So. 2B/P), Dillon Bizzare (So., CF), Ryan Hoffman (Jr., RF/C/P).
Others to watch - Adam Capone (Sr., 2B/OF), Andrew Oros (Sr., 1B), Brett Kelly (Jr., OF/P), Chris MacNeal (Fr., 1B).
Outlook - Overall, Weatherly brings back experience in most of the nine positions on the diamond. Bringing back experience, especially their leading hitter from the two previous seasons in Brian Maiello should help the Wreckers improve this season. The Wreckers are looking to get a lot of production from their lineup and will lean on that. Everyone involved has been bringing a good work ethic to the table, which should pay off once the season starts.
Quotable - "We have an excited young team that is working very hard to win more games than last year and improve on our team stats. Our team goals are always to get to the postseason, but we are looking first to get better every game and continue to work hard to make it a great year," Weatherly head coach Brian Kaminski .