Forbes Road could be team to beat in SHL
Forbes Road Cardinals
Coach: Randy Gelvin, 31st year, 243-284-1
Last year: 12-8 (9-6 Sideling Hill, 9-5 Inter-County Conference); lost in District 5 Class 1A semifinal to Meyersdale
Returning starters: Matt Brown (sr., 3B/P), Aaron Schepis (sr., CF/C, P.O. Second Team), Jackson Chilcote (sr., OF), Brycen Hohman (sr., SS/P), Grayson Hall (so., SS/P, P.O. First Team), Talon Blair (jr., 2B/OF), Logan Grubb (sr., 1B), Dalton Zeger (jr., DH/1B), Lane Kendall (sr., C)
Other top players: Bow Ramsey (OF)
Outlook: “We pretty much have our whole starting team back, and we have three quality pitchers in Hall, Brown and Hohman,” Gelvin said. “We also have a really good group of 10th-graders who can play, and multiple guys at different positions, so we are looking forward to pushing each other for positions.
Notes: Forbes Road boasts an already successful senior class as well as a number of underclassmen who can contend for starting positions … With a 22-man roster, this is one of the largest teams Forbes Road has fielded in years.
Season opener: Friday, at home vs. Fannett-Metal, 4:30
Coach: Brian Ramsey, third season, 27-16 (.628)
Last season: 10-11 (8-8 Sideling Hill League, 7-7 Inter-County Conference)
Returning starters: Chase Novak (sr., SS/P), Matt Huston (jr., 3B/P), Cale Harmon (so., 1B), Jacob Miller (P/OF, Brice Feagley (P/OF)
Other top players: Tray Swope, Weston Brunner, Lucas McClane
Outlook: “We have a couple spots still open right now and we are still evaluating,” Ramsey said. “We haven’t had a whole lot of opportunity to go outside, but I feel we should be fine. We have some decent pitching, we just have to get some timely hits and get the ball into play.”
Notes: McConnellsburg looks to replace a core group of players lost due to graduation ... Six players joined the preseason late after the Spartans' basketball playoff run ... "We also had our seniors leave for a senior trip (on Friday)," Ramsey said, "so some other kids are getting some opportunities to be evaluated, and it's up to them to take advantage."
Season opener: Tuesday, at home vs. Forbes Road, 4
Southern Fulton Indians
Coach: Keith Potter, first year
Last year: 19-5 (12-4 Sideling Hill League, 11-3 Inter-County Conference) Won District 5-1A championship, lost in PIAA quarterfinal to Vincentian Academy.
Returning starters: Branden Lynch (jr.), Dylan Gordon (sr.), Carl Potter (P.O. First Team), Cooper Grove, Mitch Potter, Kyle Smith
Other top players: Gabe Stotler (fr.), Isaac Fitz (fr.), Dylan Ensor (jr.), Eaven Gordon (jr.), Tyler Unger (jr.).
Outlook: “I think we will be competitive,” Potter said. “We need to emphasize defense in every game we play. The key is going to throw strikes and play sound defense and we will be in every game.”
Notes: Southern Fulton is in the process of trying to replace one of the area’s best pitchers in Trent Rider (P.O. First Team) … The Indians have three freshman who Potter said will be nice additions to the roster as utility players, who can also pitch.
Season opener: Friday, at Tussey Mountain, 4:30
Coach: Jamie Funk, second season
Last year: 6-14 (3-13 Sideling Hill League, 3-11 Inter-County Conference)
Returning starters: Cole Funk (sr., P/SS, P.O. Second Team), Austin Raymer (sr., C/LF), Brandon Winegardner (sr., 2B/OF), Taylor Miller (sr., P/RF), Kyler Harris (sr., 1B/3B), Dalton Friese (sr., SS/P/OF), Kyler Goshorn (so., INF/P),
Other top players: Frankie Ryder (so. OF/C), Billy Peppernick (so., 3B/P)
Outlook: “I think we should see a good improvement,” Funk said. “We lost two starters, but overall these guys are another year stronger and smarter about the game, and in five seniors this year, most have been starting for three or four years so we are confident and I think we should hold our own.”
Notes: The Tigers return Cole Funk, the team’s ace, and will look to sophomore Kyler Goshorn as their No. 2 on the mound … Fannett-Metal has a young core with six sophomores and a freshman making up half of the varsity roster.
Season opener: Friday, at Forbes Road, 4:30
Cumberland Valley Christian Blazers
Coach: Keith Propst, eighth season
Last year: 5-8 (3-7 MDCC)
Returning starters: Spencer Propst (sr., P/1B), Noah Barnhart (sr., C/OF), David Bolich (sr., C/2B), Jackson Park (sr., CF), Austin Garcia (sr., P/SS), Aaron Johnson (sr., 3B/1B), Devon Landis (OF), Caleb Fisler (so., P)
Other top players: Isaih Merriman (sr., OF), Caden Rosenberry (so., OF), Kole Faokunia (jr., OF), Blake Witter (fr., P/3B) Blane Minnier (8th, OF) Carson Hull (8th,1B/P)
Outlook: “We’ve got a lot of returning players and young guys have a lot of experience,” Propst said. “We are looking for a good season, we have a lot of talent and the guys have matured since last year – I’m expecting a lot out of them.”
Notes: The Blazers’ roster is padded with pitchers with eight players who will likely see some time on the mound, including eighth grader Carson Hull. Seven of the starting nine are seniors with extensive experience.
Shalom Christian Flames
Coach: Tyler Moody, first year
Returning starters: Colby Maun (sr., P/INF), Micah Lehman (sr., Of), Chase Martin (sr., Util), Mikey White (sr., OF).
Other top players: Jacob Nicholas (jr., SS), Brady Bakner (fr., INF), Seth Appleby (fr., P), Tobin King (so., C), Jonah Stains (sr., util/P).
Outlook: “We are turning the corner as a program and implementing some new things,” Moody said. “The program has had mild success in the past, but I think this season we are going to compete with Grace for the conference championship.”
Notes: Moody, a former player at Messiah College is implementing a “college-like atmosphere” during practice with the help of his former coach Pat Lightle … Senior Colby Maun signed to play baseball at Frederick Community College next year.