The Cougars look to reach the district tournament again in 2016 and go a little bit further



Head coach: Tim Gingrich, 20th season

Last year's record: 12-10, 7-9 Mid-Penn Keystone

Key returners: Colby Acri, Sr., P-OF; Isaac Blatt, Jr., P-INF; Brandon Charochak, Sr., P-INF; Nick DeCarlo, Sr., C-INF; Evan Hallowell, Sr., OF; Tyler Julian, Sr., P-INF; Zach Yingst, Sr., P-OF.

Promising newcomers: Chris Connell, Jr., C; Conner Friedel, Jr., 1B; Chris Good, Jr., INF; Brady Powell, Jr., P-INF; Dylan Spagnolo, Jr., P-OF; Matt Brandt, Sr., P-OF; Ryan James, Soph., C-OF.

Outlook: The last time these Cougars were spotted on a diamond they stood within a few strikes of a state tournament berth.

This spring, the plan of a postseason trip remains the same with one slight difference: finish the job.

Boasting largely the same club that upset No. 2 West Perry and dropped an ensuing 3-2 decision to Donegal in last year's District 3 Class AAA tournament, Palmyra is as well-rounded as any ball club in the county. Senior outfielder Evan Hallowell, an All-County honoree last season, returns with classmates Brandon Charochak, Tyler Julian and Zach Yingst. The latter pair will be relied on to eat up innings from the mound and round out an experienced lineup.

"I used more of him more in relief than starting last year," Cougars coach Tim Gingrich said of Julian. "But for the most part, we'll go with him, Zach (Yingst) and Dylan Spagnolo."

Spagnolo, a junior, is among a handful of fresh faces expected to contribute full-time for Palmyra, including catcher Chris Connell, whose insertion behind the plate should allow senior Nick DeCarlo to kick out permanently to third base. Another junior, though, will be a familiar face both at shortstop and near the top of Palmyra's order.

Having recently recovered from a hairline fracture suffered at the end of basketball season, Isaac Blatt has participated in most preseason work to date and once again is expected to serve as a key cog for the Cougars.

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