Prep Baseball: Season opens with battle of heavyweights
Washington County Preps Previews
The schedule makers made an MVAL Antietam Conference showdown between Williamsport and North Hagerstown the season opener for those schools in 2013.
What a way to get the season off to a rousing start.
It was no surprise North Hagerstown reached the Maryland Class 3A state tournament. The Hubs lost to North Harford on Kevin Mooney’s perfect game.
The off-field adversity Williamsport faced just before the postseason made the Wildcats’ run to the Class 2A state title much more unexpected.
But it’s a new year, and everyone already has their eyes shifted toward the North camp and much balleyhooed senior Andrew Yacyk, the 2012 Herald-Mail All-County Hitter of the Year.
Yacyk hit .455, set a single-season state record with 51 runs batted in, had 35 hits, 35 runs, eight doubles, three triples, 11 home runs and 10 stolen bases. He will head to Liberty University after graduation.
“It starts with the big boy,” head coach Drew Crawford said of Yacyk. “I don’t doubt that he can outperform last year.”
Yacyk won’t just be asked to hit. When he’s not at first base or in right field, he’ll be on the mound, where he can bring some power with his pitches.
In the Williamsport camp, there are holes left from graduation, so there could be some growing pains in the early stages of the season.
“We have some lessons to learn, but it only comes in games,” Warrenfeltz said. “We need to define some starting roles, so we’ll be a different team in the beginning than at the end.”
First-year coach Ronnie Stewart is looking forward to getting the Warriors into some old-school, hard-nosed baseball. Stewart, who succeeds Ben Leonard, is familiar with area prep baseball, but this is his first time on the bench as a head coach.
“We’ve got some good talent,” Stewart said. “We want to bunt, run, play good defense ... stress fundamentals.”
The Warriors, 10-11 last year, spent much of the time scoring late to win or losing in the late innings.
Senior Scott Bennett (2-2, 5.64), second-team All-County as a second baseman last year, will get plenty of work on the mound, along with seniors Chad Cowden and Ryan Ruiz, who hopes to stay healthy this year. Ruiz will split time on the mound and at second base.
“Bennett is our only shutdown pitcher and Cowden could be a sleeper on the mound,” Stewart said. “We’ve got some speed at the top of the lineup.”
Senior Zack Poffenberger is back for his third varsity season in the outfield and a healthy outfielder Gunnar Whipp will help the Warriors.
Boonsboro has not had a winning season since going 11-10 in 2008.