As the weather starts to turn and a new sports season gets under way, it's time to get to know the new faces and teams that will take the field this spring. If there's one thing I learned from GameTimePA's inaugural spring sports media day, it's that there are a lot of new faces to get to know in the Hanover-Adams area before the season starts. Here are a few of the people I met and stories I got to hear about:
New baseball coaches at Littlestown and Hanover
Several new baseball coaches brought their teams to media day, including two Hanover-Adams coaches looking to turn things around after disappointing seasons last year. Jordan Smith takes over a Hanover team that only won two games last year, while Larry Baumgardner takes over a Littlestown team that started hot but missed district play after late-season losing streak.
YAIAA baseball players, softball players and boys' lacrosse players took turns lighting up a radar gun at GameTimePA.com's spring media day. Jim Seip/GameTimePA.com
Both new coaches aren't so new to their players, as they've been assistants in their programs for multiple years.
“He was our JV coach when we were on JV, and when we moved up to varsity, he came with us as an assistant coach," Littlestown senior Lucas Schuman said of Baumgardner. "He’s different as a head coach, he’s being more of a leader, but I think he’s doing a great job.”
They've both worked with their players during the offseason in an effort to build for this season.
“We’re getting to the point where guys are understanding their roles," Smith said. "Instead of every guy going up to the plate trying to hit doubles, triples, home runs, we have guys now that understand the game a little bit better and are just able to do what they need to to win those ballgames we lost last year.”
Hanover also added former Florida Marlins minor leaguer Fritz Allison to the staff, while former coach Mark Williams remains on board as a volunteer assistant.
New Rickrode for Delone Catholic softball
Area softball fans have become pretty familiar with the name Rickrode over the past few years, as Delone Catholic pitcher Cassie Rickrode helped the team to back-to-back state quarterfinals appearances.
Rickrode returns for her senior season, but she'll have a new teammate and battery-mate: her sister Maggie.
“She’s a good player, she’s a good pitcher," assistant coach Matt Rickrode said of Maggie. "She’s a good bat and she’ll probably be catching this year.”
Growing up three years apart, the sisters have never played on the same team before.
“I don’t know how it's gonna be yet," the elder Rickrode said with a sheepish grin. "Hopefully it’s gonna be good.”
Delone Catholic boys lacrosse inches closer to varsity
Delone Catholic, one of two YAIAA teams making the transition up to varsity lacrosse, made an appearance at media day.
The Squires, as well as Dover, will officially move up to varsity and join the YAIAA next season. Delone Catholic coach Neil Myers, who launched the program last spring, expects the league will divide into two divisions at that point.
Even though they won't play a varsity schedule and have no hopes of a postseason, the Squires' senior captains remained enthusiastic about the upcoming season.
“We’re gonna be playing a lot of teams we played last year," Jacob Mueller said. "I like seeing familiar faces. It’s alright that we’re not playing varsity. I like playing people we’ve already played before to see if we can beat them.”
Added Cole Myers: “I like taking the new kids who haven’t touched a stick at all and helping them get into the sport and helping spread the sport throughout Delone so the program can keep going."