Annville-Cleona baseball preview
Head coach: Scott Shyda, fourth season
Last year's record: 10-12 overall, 9-7 Section Four
Key returners: Alec Barr, Sr., P-INF; Nick Hughes, Sr., OF-C; Hunter Long, Sr., C; Mitch Long, Jr., P-OF; Tyler Schrader, Sr., INF-P; Tyler Talhelm, Sr., P-1B.
Promising newcomers: Brad Balmer, Jr., OF; Jake Mannion, Sr., 2B-OF; Darien Peris, Jr., 3B; Josh Renninger, Sr., OF-P; Ben Rita, Jr., C-OF-P; Eli Setlock, Jr., IF-P; Jordan Seyfert, Jr., IF-P; Drew Speraw, Jr., C; Cole Waldhausen, Jr., 2B-P.
Outlook: Annville-Cleona coach Scott Shyda makes no bones about what most excites him about the Little Dutchmen this season.
“We’re going to have pretty good pitching. And we certainly have a real solid middle of our lineup," Shyda said.
Senior All-County catcher Hunter Long will again wield a big stick at the dish and work behind it, fronted by senior Alec Barr, who is scheduled to pitch and man the middle infield. Junior Mitch Long, a staple in the No. 5 hole of A-C's lineup a year ago, will bounce between the rubber and outfield.
How well the other Little Dutchmen fit in around those key returners, among others, will be determined awfully early, when they take on the reigning Class A state champion, Lancaster County Christian, in the season's opening week. Akin to his excitement about the meat of Annville-Cleona's lineup and pitching staff, Shyda is also quite clear about the expectations for this year's version of the red and white.
"Our goals are certainly to make the playoffs again and advance into the playoffs some more," he said.
And if the Little Dutchmen should advance, one year after exiting in the opening round of districts, there is no doubt as to who will carry them there.