Young Delone tries to find its groove under new coach
Our top-five teams three weeks into the season,, along with honorable mentions. (Teddy Feinberg/GameTimePA.com)
With a new head coach and only three seniors on the roster, Delone Catholic's baseball team has seen its share of ups and downs so far this season.
First-year skipper Dave Neumayer is new to the head coaching role, but he is now in his ninth year as part of the Squires' program. He spent the past three seasons as the top varsity assistant under former head coach Doug Arnold, and he was the JV head coach for the previous five years.
"I know all of these guys very well, I've been around all of them since at least ninth grade," Neumayer said. "They're a good group of guys that gets along well together."
Neumayer credited the leadership of the Squires' three seniors, but acknowledged that only one of them — catcher Wes Deporter — had significant starting experience before this year. Fellow seniors Ethan Slusser (outfield) and Andrew Hernandez (third base) were part-time players in years past.
Junior Evan Haymaker is the team's ace on the mound, and he mans shortstop when he isn't on the hill. Haymaker was a full-time starter as a sophomore.
The junior class populates the Squires' roster heavily: Half of the team's 14 varsity players are 11th-graders.
"We're kinda young and we're definitely inexperienced. But that's no excuse," Neumayer said. "We want to compete in every game, regardless of who we are facing."
The team has struggled to find its groove on offense, carrying a .218 batting average through seven games. It's managed to score more than four runs in a game just once, an 11-run outburst in a win against Hanover on April 5.
But Delone's pitching staff has been a bright spot, posting a 3.75 team ERA.
"The coaching staff figured that our biggest problem would be hitting the ball well enough that we could score enough runs to win games," Neumayer said. "Our pitchers have done a fine job of giving us a chance to win and they've kept us in almost every game."
The team has struggled to translate lessons from the practice field to game action, Neumayer said.
"We have good practices almost everyday, but we've had problems getting the same thing in games," he said. "We want them each to focus on what they have to do individually to make the team better."