Harford County high school baseball teams have been getting ready for the 2017 season. Here's a preview:
Head coach: Tim Lindecamp (eighth year)
2016 record: 15-8
Top returning players: David Fulp, senior (P/OF); Anthony Cuellar, senior (C/OF); Dylan Mariano, Sr (P/OF); Chris Melendez, senior (INF)
Key newcomers: Steven Schultz, freshman (P); Ryan Feathers, sophomore (C/INF/P)
Outlook: The Eagles made a run all the way to the Class 3A state semifinals a year ago, but the loss of the the Smith brothers (Sam and Jack) leaves a hole in the Eagles offense. The Eagles also lost Andrew Brndjar, a real workhorse on the mound. Lindecamp knows it will be hard to replace the offensive production of the Smith tandem. "We will need to manufacture runs and play solid defense with good pitching," he said.
Head coach : John Swanson (16th yer)
2016 record: 19-4
Top returning players: Mike Yetter, senior (P/SS); Zack Radcliffe, senior (LF/P); Drew Gagnon, junior (1B/P/3B/OF); Liam Bowers, junior (CF); Cam Kalandros, junior (P/3B)
Key newcomers: Jonah Einsig, junior (2B/3B/OF); Spencer Sanza, junior (SS); Nick Rhodes, senior; Logan Barnes, senior
Outlook: The Bobcats are the defending Class 4A state champs, but gone are six players in key spots, including Jack Jenkens (P/1B) and starting catcher Andrew Cotton. Both are at Shippensburg University, but only Jenkens is playing. Mike Koski, a steady third baseman, was also an impact player on the successes last year. "It was a special group last year, not just the seniors, but everyone who made up that 2016 team," Swanson said. "As we look forward to the 2017 season, we will be a quick team with athleticism and pitching. Yetter, who closed out the state title win a year ago and Radcliffe (LH) will give the Bobcats a stout 1-2 punch from the mound. Both threw no-hitters during the Bobcats playoff run last year.
C. Milton Wright
Head coach: Joe Stetka (sixth year)
2016 record: 8-14
Top returning players: Sean Eppig, senior (INF/P); Jordan Thomas, senior (INF/P); Cam Outten, senior (P); Allen Hokanson, senior (P); Tyler Sherman, senior (OF/P); Zach Walter, senior (INF); Tanner White, senior (OF)
Key newcomers: Eric Brettschneider, sophomore (INF); Jacob Ford, sophomore (INF); Noah Springer, sophomore (OF); Jacob Spurlock, sophomore (OF); Sean Dadamo, junior (C); Trevor Davison, junior (P); Bryan Hokanson, junior (C); Sam Kincaid, junior (INF); Ryan Kregel, junior (P); Zach Miller, junior (OF); Cory Poulson, junior (P-1B)
Outlook: Pitching will be the key for the Mustangs this season. With pitch counts playing a role this season, "we will go as far as our pitching will allow us," Stetka said. "Defensively we are very solid all around the diamond. We are young this year along with some very good seniors and we have added some speed on the bases. I'm really looking forward to the season."
Head coach: Greg Rodenbaugh (first year)
2016 record: 7-9
Top returning players: Mayan Greene, senior (INF); Dylan Knoble, senior (INF/P); Trevor Swann, senior (C); Mahki Dunnock, senior (OF); Drew Richter, senior (OF); Jason Rodriguez, sophomore (INF)
Key newcomers: Justin Rockell, junior (P); Will Hunter, freshman (INF)
Outlook: "With a good core of returning players, we are looking forward to helping our younger players gain valuable experience, while we do our best to send our senior class off on a positive note," first year coach Rodenbaugh said.
Head coach: Grant Morlock (fourth year)
2016 record: 13-8
Top returning players: Bryce Logan, senior (LHP/OF); Blake Loewe, senior (UTIL); Noah Hagenston, senior (INF); Everett Cox, junior (SS); Brett Sperl, senior (OF)
Key newcomers: Kyle Moody, sophomore (OF/RHP)
Outlook: "I am very excited about this team in 2017. We return six starters and several key contributors from the 2016 region finalist," Morlock said. "We have our work cut out for us in '17 in the very competitive UCBAC that features Bel Air (4A state champ) and Patterson Mill (1A state runner-up)." Morlock expects this team to compete at the top of the league. "We have a good mix of senior leadership and underclassmen that are ready to go," he added.
Head coach: Tim Olinger (first year)
2016 record: 9-2
Top returning players: Chris Beirle, senior (OF); Jordan Tymes, senior (OF); Jake Edwards, junior (C/P/3B); Nate Griffin, junior (Pitcher/1B)
Key newcomers: Bryce Schmidt, freshman (INF); Mack McCurry, Grade 8 (C/INF)
Outlook: Last year Harford Christian enjoyed a great deal of success and a MACSAC championship. "We lost four key players to graduation and another to an out-of- state move. There are some core players returning and we will need to look to those players for leadership both on and off the field," Olinger said. "I am excited about the possibilities for this year's team and believe that we can repeat as MACSAC champions.
Head coach: Paul Daniele (eighth season)
2016 record: 6-14
Top returning players: Ethan Rachuba, senior (2B); William Weaver, senior (OF/P); Jarryd McCormick, senior (C); Joey Conn, senior (P); Jarrett Schneider, senior (1B/P/OF); Blake Godwin, senior (SS); Parker Norcross, junior (3B/1B)
Key newcomers: Julio Sanchez, freshman (P/INF/OF); Wesley Atteberry, junior (P/1B); Brandon Huffman, junior (SS); Dylan Peacher, junior (P/3B/OF); Travis Bouthet, junior (OF); Adam Flenner, junior (OF); Cameron Raab, junior (3B); Carter Raab, junior (2B); Shaun Hires, junior (OF/P); Jordan Wyatt, junior (C)
Outlook: "We will look to compete in the Susquehanna Division this year. We have a two-time All-County shortstop and top hitter in the UCBAC Conference in Blake Godwin who will provide great leadership to a team that does not have many returning starters," Daniele said. There will be many position battles with returning players and a large number of players moving up from the JV level. The goals are always the same: "work hard every day to improve so we can compete for a conference championship, regional championship, and state title," Daniele added. The sky is the limit with this young and hungry group of players. Freshman Julio Sanchez has brought a great spark to these early season practices with his positive energy.
Havre de Grace
Head coach: Chad Blevins (seventh year)
2016 record: 5-17
Top returning players: Mike Flosser, senior (SS); Jarod Baker, senior (CF); Josh Casazza, senior (1B/3B/P); Alex Beam, senior (P); James Simmons, senior (P); Matt Mussman, junior (UTIL); Shane Jewel, junior (INF); Bay Wettig, junior (INF); Alex Gresock, sophomore (C)
Kew newcomers: Clay Harris, junior (OF); Jesse Fenner, sophomore (UTIL)
Outlook: Look for Flosser and Baker to hit 1-2 in the lineup as both players are poised for an excellent season, notes Blevins. "We are expecting great leadership from both of them," he said. "Cassaza is a corner player, who will add a nice left handed stick to the lineup and also be one of our key pitchers." Beam and Simmons are expected to be key contributors on the pitching staff. Mussman is a very talented, hard-nosed player who will play multiple positions, while Jewel and Wettig are returning and are expected to make a huge impact in the infield and at the plate. Gresock returns to handle things behind the plate. Harris, who set records kicking footballs in the fall, brings pitching, fielding and hitting to the lineup. Fenner, a raw, strong talent, will find ways to play and contribute. "Our outlook is very positive and we seem to have a very cohesive bunch of guys," Blevins said. "We anticipate a season to remember."
Head coach: Darrion Siler (first year)
2016 record: 8-14
Top returning players: Ryan Archibald, junior (P/UTIL); Nick Collier, junior (P/OF); Alex Marlow, senior (P/OF); Grant Astle, junior (INF/P); RJ Price, junior (C); Zach Rasmussen, senior (UTIL); Luke Zagurski, junior (UTIL/P); Ryan Waugh, senior (OF/P)
Key newcomers: Hunter Tipton, sophomore (P/INF); Nico Santoro, sophomore (INF); Ben Pika, sophomore (P)
Outlook: John Carroll baseball expects to compete for a top spot in the MIAA "A" Conference this year. "We have a strong team with depth at all positions and a young and talented pitching staff. We are rock solid as a team, and expect to put pressure on opposition defense with our speed," Siler said. The Patriots also have a few guys with serious power potential for the long ball.
Head coach: Neil Lauryssens (second year)
2016 record: 2-12
Top returning players: Jordan Meads, senior (CF); Nolan Klado, senior (P/1B); Kylon Lymon, senior (OF); Triston Doering, junior (P/SS); Trace Haveland, sophomore (P/3B); Justin Edwards, senior (OF/INF/P)
Key newcomers: Ruben Roldan, junior (C)
Outlook: Joppatowne looks to improve on last year and field a strong competetive team.
Head coach: Tim Larrimore (27th year)
2016 record: 14-8
Top returning players: Jordan Wax, senior (P/1B); Jack Stinar, senior (C); Nick Phillips, junior (3B); Andrew Lechner, junior (OF/P); Jake Helewicz, junior (SS)
Key newcomers: Derek McManus, junior (P/OF); Paul Keeney, sophomore (P/OF)
Outlook: "We are the youngest team I have ever had, but at the same time this is the best freshman class I have ever had," Larrimore said. "We have three freshmen, two sophomores and just two seniors on the team. We should be OK but not in the top group by any means."
Head coach: Matt Roseland (ninth year)
2016 record: 21-4
Top returning players: Austin Koehn, (junior (RHP/SS); Max Elliott, Junioor (OF); Thomas Kragh, junior (OF/3B); Nick Cress, junior (2B); Jake Sheesley, senior (RHP/1B); Eric Raley, senior (C)
Key newcomers: "The team last year was very young with eight sophomores on the roster. Carson Uebersax, Jordan Reid and Steve Spencer will have expanded roles on the mound," Roseland said.
Outlook: On paper, expectations are set high for a program that reached the Class 1A state final a year ago. The Huskies graduated just three seniors, but losing their leadership will be hard to replace. Injuries have been an issue early with Nick Cress and Austin Koehn both out the entire preseason. "We continue to be competitive in the Chesapeake Division as the smallest school in a large group of great teams and coaches. It's outstanding competition and helps to build our program come playoff time," Roseland said. "We look to compete for a regional championship and make a return to the final four/state championship. We understand the work it takes to get to this level and we hope to be right back there again this year, but we have to earn it from day one."