Franklin Co. baseball boasts strong potential
Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils
Coach: Eric Shaner, seventh season, 84-43 (.661).
Last year: 18-2 (10-0 Mid Penn Colonial Division champions); lost in the second round of the District 3 Class 3A tournament.
Returning starters: Cade Bender (sr.)
Other top players: Nathan Starliper (jr.), Caleb Schaeffer (sr.), Tanner Rock (jr.), Noah Brown (sr.), Cade McDowell (jr.), Evan Maun (sr.)
Outlook: “The outlook never changes,” Shaner said. “The goal is the state championship. We’re going to have a little more growing pains from inexperience on varsity. But the end goal is always the same, but time will tell. There are a lot of good teams going into 5A, and there are going to be some blue-bloods left out of the district tournament this year – I just hope it’s not us.”
Notes: The Blue Devils must rebuild nearly its entire starting lineup after graduating P.O. Player of the Year Myles Gayman, first team-selections Derek Measell and Quin Ambeault and second-teamer Matt Kline … Left-handed ace Nathan Starliper recently committed to play baseball at Maryland … Although it is his first year on varsity, Shaner said Cade McDowell has already stepped up as a leader. “You can tell why he’s the quarterback,” Shaner said.
Season opener: Friday, at home vs. Cedar Cliff, 4:15
James Buchanan Rockets
Coach: Dave Sanchez, second season
Last year: 10- (4-6 Mid Penn Colonial Division)
Returning starters: Jared Pine (sr., P.O. First Team, SS), Remi Spoonhour (jr., P/IF), Jake Dorty (so., P), Zach Monniger (sr., P), Hunter Reath (jr., 2B)
Outlook: We are very excited about this year,” Sanchez said. “I like our chances against the tough conference we play in. We want to build off of the momentum of the first winning season in many years. This team has tasted success and we are optimistic and excited about this group of kids and where they can go this season.”
Notes: In Sanchez’s first season at the helm the Rockets achieved a winning season ... Sanchez said although the team will be without some of its power at the plate, the Rockets have been working on manufacturing runs against good pitchers … JB welcomes Zane Bray behind the plate after having to replace last year’s starting catcher Dillon Sanders.
Season opener: Friday, at home vs. Susquehannock, 4:30
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Coach: Nate Rosenberry, third season, 32-26 (.551)
Last season: 8-10 (4-6 Mid Penn Colonial)
Returning starters: Nate Holt (sr., C/P), Adam Maring (so., SS, P.O. Second Team), Colton Zeigler (sr., CF), Brady Kuhn (sr., P), Zach Barnhart (sr., P).
Other top players: Aaron Ross (jr., C), Clayton Stine (sr., OF), Bailey Custer (sr., 1B/P), Matt Frick (sr., INF), Brock Dull (sr., INF), Ethan Stouffer (so., P)
Outlook: “Pitching and defense will be out strength,” Rosenberry said. “Each of these guys has tasted success but also faced struggles at the varsity level. Now it is all about learning from those experiences to compete more consistently each time we are on the field.”
Notes: The Greyhounds boast a strong group of seniors, and has a few up-and-coming players who Rosenberry will likely make a play at varsity this season … Rosenberry said a weakness will be consistency at the plate and putting together “quality at bats and compete every time we are at the plate.”
Season opener: Tuesday, at home vs. Fairfield, 4:15
Coach: Greg Chandler, 30th season, 436-188-1 (.698)
Last year: 15-6 (6-4 Mid Penn Colonial, lost in District 3 Class 3A first round)
Returning starters: Kyle Hoffman (sr., OF/P, P.O. First Team), Clay Wolfe (sr., IN/P), Jarrett Biesecker (jr., SS), Bubba Hamilton (sr., 1B), Cole Reed (so., Util/P). Derek Buhrman (so., OF), Nick Irizarry (sr., OF)
Other top players: Hunter Clever (so., 3B), Alex Miller (fr., P), Jeb Newman (sr., C), Tobiah Walizer (jr., C), Preston Witte (sr., OF), Paul Steiger (jr.), Jerry Virden (sr.), Cole Reed (so.), Coby Rogers (jr.,2B).
Outlook: “I think we will be pretty good but we had some big losses,” Chandler said. “We lost Brady (Riddell, P.O. Second Team) – he had arm surgery. He had five homers for us last year and his defense behind the plate – and we had a couple of other key guys we lost there and they will be tough to replace.”
Notes: Almost 60 percent of Waynesboro’s varsity roster can also pitch, including four left-handed pitchers in the mix … Senior Jeb Newman will step in behind the plate to replace veteran catcher Riddell ... The Indians were picked first in the preseason coaches poll conducted at PennLive's Media Day.
Season opener: Friday, at home vs. Lower Dauhpin, 4:15