Hitter's eye: News and notes from Y-A baseball
With the first week of baseball in the books, we take a look around the league to see what has stood out so far. All stats are calculated through Saturday's games.
Division I dominance, Division IV struggles: Outside of Central York (0-3), the rest of Division I has really impressed, combining for a 11-3 record. At the top of the division sits New Oxford, which has outscored Hanover, Kennard-Dale and West York, 27-9, in three wins. A big reason for that has been Kobe Brown, who earned an opening day win against Hanover, then shut out West York in his first two varsity starts.
At the other end of the spectrum, Division IV teams have a combined 4-10 record, with only one team (Biglerville) having multiple wins or a winning record. Granted, York Catholic has played only one game, a tough 6-5 loss to Eastern York and defending division champ Delone Catholic is 1-1 against Bishop McDevitt and Gettysburg. So don't panic yet: The wins should start adding up in division play.
Pitching is king: While discussing the local pitching talent with a YAIAA coach earlier this week, we agreed that at this level, a team only needs two really solid pitchers to be successful. There's no need for a full five-man rotation like in the pros, so the teams who can confidently rotate two or three solid arms have the best chance to be successful.
Take a look at Eastern York (Colby Shimmel, Brandon Knarr), Spring Grove (Matt Brooks, Jon Sager), Northeastern (Kody Reeser, Adam Kipp), among others, as prime examples. Eastern has a one-two punch of Shimmel, who already threw a no-hitter this season, and Knarr, who is committed to Notre Dame. That's a solid formula for success. Meanwhile, the teams that have struggled with pitching (Central, West York, Hanover) have also struggled to get into the win column.
New coaches settling in: Five new coaches stepped in this season around the league. Some have found more early-season success than others. Dallastown's Greg Kinneman has the Wildcats at 2-1 and last week blew out his former team, West York, 15-3. Red Lion's Kevin Lawrence and Littlestown's Larry Baumgardner are both 2-0 so far. Scott Erickson (West York) and Jordan Smith (Hanover) are still looking for their first victories.
YAIAA struggling against nonleague opponents: Some of the YAIAA's top teams have squared off against nonleague opponents, and the results haven't been pretty. Northeastern beat Northern York before being shut out by Greencastle-Antrim, Dallastown beat two YAIAA teams, but lost to Mechanicsburg, Biglerville's only loss was to James Buchanan and Central York was 10-run ruled in its season opener against Waynesboro. The YAIAA struggles were highlighted April 1 when three YAIAA teams (Gettysburg, Northeastern and Biglerville) were outscored 30-2 combined by Shippensburg, Greencastle and James Buchanan.