Area MPC Colonial Division baseball preview
Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils
Coach: Eric Shaner, sixth season, 66-41 (.616).
Last year: 12-9 (6-4 Mid Penn Colonial Division). Lost in the quarterfinals of the District 3 Class AAA tournament.
Returning starters: Derek Measell (sr., P/IF, P.O. First Team, 0.83 ERA), Matt Kline (sr., SS/P, P.O. Second Team), Quin Ambeault (sr., C, P.O. Second Team), Myles Gayman (sr., P/SS), Bailey Parker (sr., OF, P.O. Honorable mention).
Other top players: Austin Branchman (sr., IF), Shawn Keller (sr., RF), Dillon Morgon (sr., RF), Nathan Starliper (so., P).
Outlook: “I expect us to win a state championship until someone proves otherwise,” Shaner said. “We have improved 10-fold from last year. Last year they were young men, this year they look like men. It’s the natural maturation in high school. Their attitude is totally different, and I’m excited to see what lies ahead. The seniors have grasped the concept that this is the last chance to leave a legacy.”
Notes: The team returns virtually all of its starting lineup from last year … The Blue Devils have a deep pitching rotation, with what Shaner calls “four aces and a bunch of other good pitchers.” … Gayman enters his senior year as a Penn State baseball commit, and has eyes on the MLB draft. Sophomore Nathan Starliper, a left-handed pitcher, enters his first year on varsity throwing in the upper 80s, adding to the Blue Devils’ depth on the mound ... Measell is starting in the opener.
Season opener: Monday, at East Pennsboro, 4:15 p.m.
James Buchanan Rockets
Coach: Dave Sanchez, first year.
Last year: 6-13 (2-8 Mid Penn Colonial Division).
Returning starters: Zach Vosburg (sr., CF), Jared Pine (jr., SS, P.O. Honorable Mention), Remington Spoonhour (so., P/IF).
Other top players: Jakob Dorty (fr., P), Toby Sowers (sr., 1B), Peyton Thomas (sr., P), Hunter Spoonhour (sr., IF), Kyle Buchanan (sr., OF).
Outlook: “Our team goal is getting better every day, and improving every time we walk onto the field," Sanchez said, "and going into each game with that mindset. That’s a big part of what I do and what I can bring to this program - the sense of confidence that these boys can play with big schools and the powerhouse talent and compete. They have the talent, it’s just a matter of getting them mentally on the same page.”
Season opener: Monday, at Trinity, 4 p.m.
Coach: Nate Rosenberry, second season, 24-16 (.600).
Last year: 16-5 (8-1, Mid Penn Colonial champions). Lost in the first round of the MPC tournament and District 3 Class AAA first round.
Returning starters: Cole Friese (sr., 1B, .423 BA, P.O. First Team), Matt Frick (jr., Util), Teagan Staver (sr., P 1B/3B), Noah Auman (sr., P), Zane Hershey (sr., OF/P).
Other top players: Colton Zeigler (jr.), Zach Barnhart (jr.), Hunter Johnson (sr., 3B/P), Nathan Holt (jr.).
Outlook: “I expect as long as we keep improving every game and find the offense we need, we will be able to compete at the end of the year,” Rosenberry said. “Hitting will be the area we need to come together.”
Notes: The Greyhounds return Cole Friese, who posted a .423 batting average last season and will likely pick off where he left off in the top of the order ... Shippensburg must solidify the middle of the batting order and must replace three infield position players due to graduation ... “We have a lot of competition in different places,” Rosenberry said. “We have a lot to figure out, but it’s coming along nice.”
Season opener: Tuesday, at home vs. Mechanicsburg, 4:15.
Coach: Greg Chandler, 29th season, 421-182-1 (.698).
Last year: 10-10 (6-4 Mid Penn Colonial Division).
Returning starters: Cody Cline (sr., 3B, P.O. Honorable Mention), Francisco Maya (sr., OF/P), Kyle Hoffman (jr., OF/P), Clay Wolfe (jr., IN/P).
Other top players: Brady Rydell (jr., C), Jarrett Blesecker (so., SS), Bubba Hamilton (jr., 1B), Cole Reed (fr., Util/P), Matt Peck (sr., OF).
Outlook: “We have all the pieces to the puzzle,” Chandler said. “We have a big test to start with, so we don’t have any time to not show up to any games. I think 90 percent of our workouts have been outside, so we are getting a better look at the guys.”
Notes: Waynesboro opens the season with a tough road slate, playing its first eight games on the road against tough competition … Two underclassmen, Blesecker and Reed, look to make a big impact this year as a starting shortshop and a utility player, respectively.
Next game: Monday, at Northern York, 4:30.