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2011 TIMES NEWS baseball capsules

Published March 24. 2011 05:00PM


Head coach Gary Heydt (First season)

Assistant coaches Ricky Strohl, Zac DeMarco

Last year's record 4-16 (2-12 league)

League Schuylkill League Division I

District 11 Classification AAA

Key losses Corey Cinicola, Pat Janecki, Ben Stermer, Dan Russo, Zac Knox

Key returnees Sean Green (Sr., OF/P), Dane Ciavarella (Jr., P/IF), Michael Hickey (Jr., C/P/IF), Thomas Prontnicki (Sr., 1B, 3B).

Others to watch Colton Knox (So., Util), Ian Sterling (Fr., CF/P), Christian Gavornik (So., OF/P), Patrick Duvigneaud (So., C).

Strengths Jim Thorpe may not have many power hitters on its roster, but it should make up for it with its speed. Heydt expects his team to be good on the basepaths with disciplined running. He wants his team to be 'smart' and gain knowledge of the game as the season progresses. Look for the Olympians to take the 'small ball' approach offensively.

Weaknesses Along with being somewhat young and inexperienced, Jim Thorpe will not be able to rely heavily on its pitching this year. The team is shaping up to have only one senior pitcher (Green). The other two will probably be a sophomore (Gavornik) and a freshman (Sterling). The two youngsters may take some lumps this season.

Quotable "What I want to get out of this year is to have a bunch of disciplined kids that learn as the season goes on. We want to win the games that we should win, and maybe win some that we shouldn't win," Head coach Gary Heydt.


Head coach Brian Polaha (Second season)

Assistant coaches Kelly Bollinger, Don Rehrig, Joe Mooney, Matt Dierolf

Last year's record 18-8 (8-4 league)

League Mountain Valley Conference

District 11 Classification AAA

Key losses Kyle Hunter, Dave Behler, Nick Storm

Key returnees Jacen Nalesnik (So., C), Tyler Hill (Sr., P/OF), Derrick Heffelfinger (Sr., IF), Tyler Harris (Sr., P/IF).

Others to watch Anthony Farole (Jr., OF), Jager Ziegenfus (Sr., 1B), Alex Storm (Jr., 3B), AJ Wenrich (Jr., P/IF).

Strengths Lehighton returns a number of players that should provide good leadership for the underclassmen. These returnees will play a very important role thanks to their experience from last season. The four main guys for the Indians - Nalesnik, Hill, Heffelfinger and Harris - has been at all of the off-season workouts and have been setting a great example so far.

Weaknesses Much like a couple of other area teams, the Indians will have some inexperienced players at some key positions. Between Hunter and Behler, Lehighton lost over 90 solid innings from its pitching staff. Polaha will try to spread those innings out between four or five different guys.

Quotable "We are looking to do what we did last year. It is too early to tell if we should or can duplicate last year's success, but I think we set a nice precedent in my first season. I fully expect to make noise in the MVC playoffs and qualify for district play," Head coach Brian Polaha.


Head coach Jeff Nietz (17th season)

Assistant coaches Andy Sherkness, Al Bostdorff, Tony Radocha, Curt Gimbi

Last year's record 15-7 overall (12-4 league)

League Schuylkill League Division II

District 11 Classification A

Key losses Joe Kloap, Drew Sherkness, Scott Nietz, Jim Stavinski, Damian Gallagher, Brenden McGowen

Key returnees Mark Stawick (Sr., C/P), Ryan Gimbi (Sr., P/INF), Justin Petrovich (Sr., OF), Brandon Dopira (Sr., INF/P), Scott Morris (Sr., OF)

Others to watch JT Keer (Sr., OF), Corey Ryba (Sr., INF/P), Ron Kosar (Jr., C/INF), Zack Motil (Jr., OF/P), John Sullivan (So., INF/P), Luke Stawick (Fr., INF/P)

Strengths The Colts have a good number of returning players who saw varsity time last year. The experience of the returning lettermen combined with the experience of the transfers will help the Colts to keep their heads in tight games. Also, the Colts have good numbers depth will be a plus .

Weaknesses Replacing the leadership of last years' seniors. This group of seniors is action more than words oriented - it will be interesting to see which young men step up to provide player leadership.

Quotable "The key to winning the Schuylkill League Division III title and others will be the Colts playing good solid defense and scoring runs any way possible. In the division there is not a big stud pitcher on any team that can dominate opposing teams….. It's doubtful there will be many pitching duels this year, so to win the division and possibly the League, teams will need to score some runs while keeping their opponent's run totals low," Head coach Jeff Nietz.


Head coach Erv Prutzman (Fifth season)

Assistant coaches Steve Hluschak, Greg King, Gary Andrew, Chris Bennett

Last year's record 17-7 (13-3 league)

League Colonial League

District 11 Classification AA

Key losses Joe Seremula, Andrew Hoch, Tyler Bolton, Joe Dugan

Key returnees Matt Gill (Sr., 3B), Jake Kern (Sr., P), Eric Snyder (Sr., P/IF/OF), Trevor Yashur (Jr., OF), Dylan Bolton (Sr., OF).

Others to watch Kirk Bender (Jr., C), Branden Papay (Jr., IF), Kyle Schomp (Jr., P/3B/OF), Joel Seyler (Jr., P/1B), Ryan Trexler (Jr., IF), Nick Valentini (Jr., P/IF), Kyle Wasilkowski (Jr., P/1B), Matt Williams (Jr., C), Nick Heyer (Sr., OF), Marcus Kremposky (Sr., OF), Chad Mazepa (Sr., IF), Zach Palansky (Sr., P/1B).

Strengths Northern Lehigh has a handful of seniors back that should lead by example. Gill and Kern, two returnees who hit over .450 last season, look to either take the hill or lock down the left side of the diamond defensively. Yashur, who was a Colonial League second-teamer in the OF last year, also returns with a .341 average.

Weaknesses The Bulldogs lost an All-League first-team pitcher in Seremula and it will be tough to replace his 71 innings and 95 strikeouts. Gill and Kern will be first in line to replace his 1.09 ERA, but only time will tell if they can get the job done.

Quotable "After winning the Colonial League championship last year, we would like to think that we have a competitive team back again for this up-coming season." Head coach Erv Prutzman.


Head coach Len Smith (29th season)

Assistant coaches Duran Purrino, Beau Schleicher, Kyle Creyer

Last year's record 11-10 (9-7 league)

League Colonial League

District 11 Classification AAA

Key losses Adam Wehr, BJ Schantz, Nick Boyd, Colton Breininger, Dalton Conway, Nate Kester, Sean Nagle, Bill Moyer

Key returnees Sawyer Smith (Sr., P/1B), Tom Hudak (Sr., OF), Andrew Rivera (Sr., 2B), Tim Schaeffer (Sr., OF), Steve Bennett (Sr., C), Peyton Bachman (Jr., OF/P), Ty Cunningham (Jr., 3B).

Others to watch Matt Maher (Jr., 1B), TJ White (Jr., C), Talon Williams (Jr., SS/P), Austin Kelly (Jr., 2B), Kyle Lutton (Jr., P), Rich Perry (So., P/OF).

Strengths Northwestern has been working hard so far this year. Not only have the Tigers been working hard, but they have been working well together as a group. Whereas they have had some power in their lineup the last few years, the Tigers will rely more on their speed this season.

Weaknesses Northwestern lost a lot from last year's district qualifying club, so it looks like it may take Smith some time to get his club together. He vows to be patient early as most of his players will be making the transition from JV to Varsity competition.

Quotable "As always, we want to be competitive in every game that we play. Then, our next goal is to have at least a .500 record and qualify for districts," Head coach Len Smith.


Head coach Tom Smelas (Seventh season)

Assistant coaches Don Delich, Matt Krempasky, Ryan Sharkazy

Last year's record 0-20 (0-16 league)

League Colonial League

District 11 Classification AAA

Key losses Travis Verzino

Key returnees Christian Marcin (CF/P), Aaron Cook (2B), Tyler Hahn (1B), Tanner Gutekunst (OF), Joey Tyahla (2B/P), Travis Labyack (OF), Tyler Svetik (SS/P), Rich Steigerwalt (DH), Joevonnie Rodriguez (OF), Nick Brogan (P).

Others to watch Nick Fiouris (C), CJ Cressman (3B/P), Mike Horvath (OF), Mike Sander (C/INF).

Strengths Palmerton has experience all the way around. Cook had an outstanding .433 average last year. Marcin wasn't far behind with a .354 average. The Bombers also return their leading RBI-man in Hahn. They also have depth at the infield positions. So far the team has worked well together.

Weaknesses Despite all of the experience, Palmerton is still somewhat young at some key positions. As most teams believe, consistent pitching and depth in the batting order can always be deeper.

Quotable "After going 0-20, we can only go up. With a year of maturity and experience We're expecting a much more consistent pitching effort and we have to have a better defensive effort this year. Being still somewhat young we need to get a few wins in a row it to build confidence in the kids. These kids will stick together and fight hard all year like we did last year which can only help us as the year goes on." Head coach Tom Smelas.


Head coach John Cooper (10th season)

Assistant coaches Jeff Szczecina, Matt Davis, Jim Kravelk, Phil Shelton

Last year's record 11-10 (5-9 league)

League Schuylkill League Division I

District 11 Classification AA

Key losses Casey Lawrence, Greg Pecha, Jeff Corby, Kyle McAvoy, Ryan Porambo

Key returnees David Marouchoc (Sr., C), Zach Stanko (Sr., P/SS), Stephen Gulla (Sr., P/1B), Brandon Gurka (Sr., P/2B), Matt Tucker (Sr., OF)

Others to watch Zack King (Jr., 3B), Thad Ogozalek (Jr., P/OF), Nick McArdle (Jr., OF), Mike Hadesty (Sr., OF)

Strengths With a group of five core seniors back, Panther Valley looks to have enough senior leadership. They will help make the Panthers strong up the middle defensively. Cooper believes he will have a decent hitting club as well, which is always a plus.

Weaknesses The Panthers lost their two aces in Lawrence and Pecha to graduation. That leaves inexperienced hurlers to fill the hole. Still, a few seniors figure to take the hill and that will hopefully make it a little easier on them.

Quotable "Our No. 1 goal every year is to qualify for districts. We would also like to compete in the Schuylkill League despite being in a tough division. Lastly we would just like to improve and get better as the season progresses," Head coach John Cooper.


Head coach Karl Rentzheimer (Ninth season)

Assistant coaches Joe Anderton, Mike Borger, Marwk Versuk, Charles Inserra

Last year's record 22-4 (11-1 league)

League Mountain Valley Conference

District 11 Classification AAAA

Key losses Pat Kregeloh, Jake Chamberlain, Tim Shea, Chris D'Arcy

Key returnees Travis Raseley (Sr., OF), Derrik Walling (Sr., OF), Drew Borger (Sr., IF), Rob Getz (Jr., OF/IF), Chris Kerschner (Sr., DH/1B), Chris Mendoza (Sr., DH/1B), Xavier Hammond (Sr., P), Russ Baldno (Sr., P), John Guadagna (Jr., P), Jim Beidleman (Sr., OF/P), Joe Weismeth (Sr., C).

Others to watch Dan Hrbek (So., 3B/P), Tom Agosta (Jr., P), Justin Raad (Jr., Util), Greg Wierzbicki (Jr., P)

Strengths Pleasant Valley has a lot of experience and athleticism back and is looking to put together another strong season. The Bears' roster consists of nine seniors, nine juniors and three sophomores. With that, they have nine different guys capable of taking the mound. Hammond and Baldino look to be the top two starters with Guadagna and Hrbek next in line. But after his team's recent scrimmage, Rentzheimer also likes the way Beidleman and Agosta have thrown. Still, the rotation is not set in stone as Pleasant Valley will likely 'spread the wealth' amongst its staff.

Weaknesses The only thing that could hold Pleasant Valley back is how long it takes for the new-comers to find their niche.

Quotable "We don't sit around and talk about winning the conference or the district. We just try and improve each and every day. Yeah, we want to repeat but the kids and I realize it is a day-to-day process," Head coach Karl Rentzheimer.


Head coach Jeff Reading (10th season)

Assistant coaches Tim Gombar, Caleb Calarco, Craig Valentine, Henry Woods, Jay Pilla, Tom Rodgers, Brian Reading, Dylan Peters

Last year's record 6-13 (4-10 league)

League Schuylkill League Division I

District 11 Classification AA

Key losses Eric James, Jordan Heisler, Anthony Bumbulsky, Adam Smarr, Zach Nicholls

Key returnees Ryan Palsgrove (Sr., OF/P), Michael Streisel (Sr., 3B/P), Derrek Linkchorst (Sr., SS/P), Mike Toth (Sr., OF), Trevor Reinhardt (Sr., P/1B), Carl Wittig (Sr., DH).

Others to watch Matt DelBorrello (Jr., 2B), Brandon Hosler (Jr., IF/OF), Luke Matsago (So., C/1B/3B), Matt Roberts (Fr., C/IF/OF).

Strengths Tamaqua has a nucleus of players back from last year's team so that is definitely a plus. Its pitching, with Palsgrove, Streisel and Reinhardt at the top of the rotation, should be strong as well. Last year the Raiders lost a handful of one or two run games. Reading is hoping his team sees that as a positive and continues to build on their progress through this season.

Weaknesses Although the Raiders have a nucleaus of returnees back, it is yet to be seen how they will mesh with the group of underclassmen. Underclassmen will play at some key positions and will be required to contribute if the team wants to win. Tamaqua's success will ride on how quickly it happens.

Quotable "Every year our goal is to qualify for districts. That means we have to win half of our games, which is something we should strive to do anyway. We didn't qualify last year so we are hoping that will serve as some motivation. We would also like to compete in the division and the league playoffs. In order to do that we just have to take it one game at a time," Head coach Jeff Reading.


Head coach Brian Kaminski (Fourth season)

Assistant coaches John Barna

Last year's record 0-19 (0-16 league)

League Schuylkill League Division II

District 11 Classification A

Key losses Keith Barna, Nathan Pfeiffer

Key returnees Christian Ormiston (Sr., SS), Dominic Palermo (Sr., 1B), Will Lech (Sr., LF), George Wallish (Sr., Util), Alex Martens (Sr., 3B/DH), Samson Walton (Jr., C/1B), Kevin Hinkle (So., P/3B).

Others to watch Brett Stallone (So., P/CF), Cody Hoffman (So., OF), Dylan McDonald (So., 2B), James Belletiere (So., P/3B), Brad Keyser (So., P/C/3B), Tim Lash (Fr., P/SS), Mark Miller (Fr., 2B).

Strengths Weatherly has some pitching depth and will deploy a standard rotation, so it should be good enough on the mound to keep itself in games. Kaminski also likes the experience of his lineup and how there should not be many changes in it this coming season.

Weaknesses Surrendering big innings was a problem for the Wreckers last year and that will be one of their keys to success this season. If they can get short innings from their pitching, and their defense can back up their pitchers whenever they make a mistake, then they should be able to compete.

Quotable "Overall we should be better than last year. We have a good senior class that will lead our young guys. There seem to be a lot of leaders in our younger players as well. Our goals are 1, 10 and 21+. Win the first one, win the 10th one to get us to the post season and compete in districts." Head coach Brian Kaminski.

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