Baseball: 2019 PAC season preview (team-by-team capsules)

Boyertown

Head coach: Todd Moyer, 26th season
 
2018 Record: 12-4 PAC, 18-7 overall
 
2018 Postseason: Captured PAC championship with 7-0 win over Phoenixville after topping Spring-Ford 5-3 in Final Four semifinals … Finished 2-2 in District 1-6A playoffs, falling one game short of qualifying for PIAA playoffs. After drawing first-round bye in District 1-6A playoffs, blanked Methacton 3-0 in second round before dropping a narrow 7-6 decision to Conestoga in district quarterfinals. Kept season alive with 7-6 victory over Souderton in district playbacks before suffering a season-ending 4-3 setback to Downingtown West in state-qualifying, fifth-place game.
 
Key returnees: Seniors -  Shayne Horrocks 3B, Nolan Kline RHP, Colin Maloney OF. Junior – Broc Babb 2B
 
Players to watch: Seniors – Billy Coleman C, AJ Kline, RHP, Stephen Cisik RHP, Chris Davis SS, Sean Sutterby LHP, Jared Waldman LHP. Juniors – Gavin Richards RHP, Mason Kurtz
 
Key losses to graduation: Quinn Mason SS, Noah Kurtz, P; Mitch Peers, OF/DH, Mike Hohlfeld P/DH, Austyn Levengood OF, Mike Martin C, Jake DiCesare OF, Sam Longacre, Gavin Henderson
 
Program notes: Perennial league and state powerhouse lost 8 senior starters to graduation … 2016 PIAA Class 6A champions … PAC champions in 9 of last 15 years (2018, 2016, 2013, 2012, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004) with five-year run between 2004-08 
 
Coach’s season outlook: "To some, this season may look like a rebuild. But we think of it more as a reload. We lost most of our starting lineup to graduation, but that’s really nothing new. Our expectations remain the same every year and that is to win championships. It’s up to the young guys to step in and play Boyertown baseball – that's what they’re trained to do and remains our mindset. Health is always a factor, and that’s something you can never control. But it’s essential to stay on the field if you hope to compete in one of the best high school leagues in the state of Pennsylvania. The blueprint stays the same for us. Pitching, defense and manufacturing runs are what we always rely upon to win games. The first goal every year is to win the PAC championship, and then have a strong showing in the district and state playoffs. That's what we're looking to do again this season.”
 
Methacton
Head coach: Paul Spiewak, 16th season
Assistant coaches: Kerry Williams, Bruce Brobst
2018 Record: 12-4 PAC, 16-6 overall
2018 Postseason: Lost to Phoenixville 3-1 in PAC Final Four semifinals … After drawing first-round bye in District 1-6A playoffs, lost to PAC champion Boyertown 3-0 in second round of districts
Returning Starters
Ben Christian- Senior P/1B; 2018- 28 Innings Pitched, 2.00 ERA, 31 K’s
Perry Corda- Senior C/OF/INF; 2018- .295 Average, .516 OBP, 16 Runs
Connor Smith- Senior OF/2B- Returning starter at 2B/RF- 1st Team All-League 2018; 2018- 26 Hits, .441 Average, .460 OBP, 18 RBI, 15 Runs
Kevin Trafford- Sophomore OF- 2nd Team All-League 2018; 2018- .367 Average, .457 OBP, 11 RBI
Zack Griffin- Senior Pitcher- 1st Team All-League 2018; 2017- 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA as a sophomore, 2018- 36 Innings Pitched, 4-1 record with 2 saves, .972 ERA, 29 K’s, Only 4 BB’s
Other seniors to watch
Will Romano- C; Mike Daddazio- 2B/C; Ricky McDonald- P; Ryan Sheridan- OF; Chris Douglass- P/RF; Logan Rambo- OF; Trevor Rambo- OF/1B
Key losses to graduation/transfer:
Demetrio Rodriguez- INF and Pitcher- 1st Team All-League 2018; Tyler Whitton- Catcher and 2018 Captain; Jordan Lukas- 3B/P; Colin Shrader- P/1B; Mark Engelman- 2B; Morgan Heckler- OF; Josh Dubost- SS/P- 2nd Team All-League 2018
Coach's season outlook: "Given the number of returning starters for this season, we feel very confident in our ability to play strong defense and throw strikes. We feel that we are an experienced team at the varsity level, and feel that our returning players will be complimented by some exciting young first-year players. The 2019 team is very much looking forward to the challenge of proving to ourselves and to our opponents that we can compete at a high level in one of the toughest baseball conferences in the state of Pennsylvania. We hope to compete for a spot in the PAC Final Four playoffs, and hopefully earn a district playoff spot and compete for a spot in the PIAA state playoffs. We had a great regular season last year, but we came up short offensively in the postseason.  We hope to work toward another great regular season in 2019, but we will look to build off 2018 and prepare ourselves to play our best baseball in May!"   
League outlook: "We hope to compete first and foremost for a 2019 PAC championship. Although our league is very strong and that will be a big challenge for us, our goals have not changed from past seasons. On paper, Perkiomen Valley (top projected pitching rotation), Spring-Ford and Boyertown are league favorites this season, along with Phoenixville from the other division."
Methacton Players Currently Playing in CollegePatrick O’Neill- Villanova University; Danny Visnov- Washington University; Nick Wheeler- Thomas Jefferson University; Tim Carfrey- Alvernia University (Medical Redshirt, Tommy John Surgery); Kyle Feaster- West Chester University; Jim Shomberg- Penn State Altoona; Demetrio Rodriguez- Polk University; Tyler Whitton- Eastern University
 
Owen J. Roberts
Head coach: Greg Gilbert, 22nd season
2018 Record: 7-9 PAC, 9-11 overall (ended season on four-game winning streak)
Key returning players
Seniors - Jordan Siket, C, Jake Rinehimer, SS, Ben Samuelson, P, Ryan Sayers, INF, David Bealer, INF, Brad Pryor, P, Casey McGinley OF
Players to watch
Ryan Walker, 1B, Sr., Josh Diamond, 1B, Sr.: Sam Morris, P, So: Ben Karpinski, P, Sr.:  Jake Iyoob, OF, Sr.
Key Losses to graduation: Dawson Stuart, PAndy Blum 1B, Dan Stofko P, Frank Guinan INF
Coach’s season outlook: “One of the most important things this team brings to the table is experience. We have a lot of guys with varsity level experience. Being older does not necessarily mean you are better but hopefully the leadership will be there to guide the team through this challenging league. We will need to fill some holes in both our lineup and in our pitching staff from last year. Injuries to some key players were a big factor last year, so we are trying to keep everyone healthy so we have a lot of guys contributing in different ways.”
League outlook: “The league once again will be tough top to bottom. We hope to be competitive in both divisions this season but each day will be a challenge due to the talent in our league, particularly on the mound.” 
OJR players currently playing in college: Andy Blum, Kutztown; Dan Stofko, Albright; Josh Fulmer, Arcadia; Brian Siket, Arcadia; Cory Hennessey, PSU Berks; Alex Condello, Desales; Joe Zgleszewski, Lock Haven
 
Norristown
Head coach: Jack Sturgeon, 3rd season
2018 Record: 1-15 PAC, 1-16 overall
Key returning players (all seniors): Nick Chiodo (P/1B); Dom Proietto (P/1B/OF), 1st team All-PAC Liberty INF in 2018, Division 2 Kutztown commit; Matt Hahn (3B/P/OF); Pat O’Brien (INF); Tyler Gorman (SS/P) 
Players to watch: Elijah Levine Jr (C);  Christian Freas Jr (CF/P)
Key Losses to graduation: Ben Carty, Matt Bates, Jeremiah Levine
Coach’s season outlook: “Most of our seniors are all three- year starters so we should start some good team progress.  Our pitching should be one of our strengths and if we can get our defense to make the routine plays on a consistent basis, we should be in most games. We are working hard to put the ball in play on offense and be aggressive on the basepaths to create more scoring opportunities than we have had in the last couple of years.”
 
Perkiomen Valley
Head coach: Ryan Hinkle, 7th season
2018 Record: 10-6 PAC, 13-8 overall
2018 Postseason: Defeated Council Rock South 5-4 in opening round of District 1-6A playoffs before falling to Downingtown West 3-2 in second round (state qualifier)
Key returning players
Tyler Strechay (2019) - RHP, IF – Division I West Virginia recruit – 1st team All-PAC Liberty P in 2018
AJ Hansen (2019) - IF
Connor McShea (2019) - OF
Kyle Bohannon (2019) - IF, DH – 2nd team All-PAC Liberty DH in 2018
Player to watch: Brendan Shayer (2020) - C
Key Losses to graduation: Joe Gorla, Brock Helverson, Brian McMonigle, Evan Hacket, Mike Gama, Joey Giunta
Coach’s season outlook: “This team is a group that really came together well during the off-season. This group will want to compete day in and day out. Players work hard to improve their craft, and we have worked hard this off-season to improve our offensive approach and abilities. Tyler Strechay will be at the top of the pitching staff, and other players will look to step into key roles to help fill losses to graduation from the pitching side of our game.” 
Perkiomen Valley players currently playing in college: Mike Gama (Cabrini), Brock Helverson (West Virginia), Joe Gorla (Lehigh), John Turner (Millersville), Nate Yoder (Salisbury)
 
Phoenixville
Head coach: Neil Herman, 4th season
2018 Record: 14-2 PAC (Frontier Division champions), 17-5 overall
2018 Postseason: Lost to Boyertown 7-0 in PAC championship game after topping Methacton 3-1 in Final Four semifinals … Lost to West Chester Rustin 8-6 in opening round of District 1-5A playoffs
Key returning players: Luke Bagley, Senior, P; Trip Shoemaker, Senior, OF; Colton Brown, Senior, INF; Devon Goryl, Senior, INF; Dylan Clark, Senior, 1B; Justin Blakey, Senior, OF
Players to watch: Jason Bilotti, Sophomore, P; Ethan O’Donnell, Junior, OF; Brandon Fink, Junior, Utility; Dylan Crammer, Junior, INF
Key Losses to graduation: Kevin Cushing, P; Colin Bowdish, P; Quinn Danna, P; Nick Opalkowski, C; Luke LeBeau, INF
Coach’s season outlook: “We lost a lot of key components to last year’s team. Fortunately, we bring back some experience on offense and defense. The young pitchers have done a good job so far this offseason filling the void of losing most of our pitching to graduation. There are some question marks, but if this team comes together as a family, they have the ability to do well.”
League outlook: “This league is very competitive year in and year out. Top to bottom all the teams are well coached and compete.”
2018 players currently playing in college: Kevin Cushing, Cornell University; Colin Bowdish, Arcadia University; Quinn Danna, Chestnut Hill College; Nick Opalkowski, Arcadia University; Luke LeBeau, Chestnut Hill College; Sam Perrone, Wilson College; Freddy Bieler, Penn State-Brandywine
 
Pope John Paul II
Head coach: Josh Hartline, 4th season
2018 Record: 7-9 PAC, 8-10 overall
2018 Postseason: Lost to eventual District 1-4A champion Lower Moreland 5-4 in district semifinals
Players to watch
John Wagner, Sr, OF
CJ McCafferty, Sr, IF
Brett Leighton, Sr, P/SS
Tyler Petery, Jr, IF
Jack Cossa, Sr, RHP
Key losses to graduation: Mike Kelly (OF), Logan Mabry (P), Matt Pinone (INF), Colt Narciso (INF)
Coach’s season outlook: “We will look to bounce back after a disappointing year. We have talent, but not much experience. The league is very difficult, week in and week out, and we hope to be in the hunt at the end. Our defense should be very solid and we have good team speed. Our pitching staff has talent, but needs to develop, and come together quickly. Our goal is to get better every day and play our best baseball at the end of the season.”
 
Pottsgrove
Head coach: Jamie Nash, 4th season
2018 Record: 5-11 PAC, 7-14 overall
Key returning players
Colin Templin-Sr 1B, 3B, 2B
Cameron Mowery- Sr- P
Garrett Heft- Sr.-OF
Ethan McMonagle-JR- SS, P
Ethan Edelson- JR- 3B, P
Losses to graduation: Alex Stump-1st team all division; Bailey Delp- 1st team all division; Zane Alderfer
Coach’s season outlook: "With the majority of starters returning from last season and bringing a season of varsity experience, we are looking to take the next step towards competing at a high level with the talent in the league. This season we have plenty of quality arms, depth at multiple positions, and a hard working group of players dedicated to putting Pottsgrove baseball back on the map. Ending last season on a 4-game winning streak with the majority of the core returning, we will look to continue that momentum into the new season."
League outlook: "The league will always boast some of the most talented teams in the state.  There are no easy outs in the league, so you have to bring your best each time you play.  Every team is very skilled, well -coached, and has a chance to win each game they play in,"
Players currently playing in collegeAlex Stump-Freshmen at Albright, Dominque Johnson- Junior at Eastern University, Bailey Delp-Freshmen at Ursinus (football), Adam Girafalco- Sophomore at Bloomsburg (football)
 
Pottstown
Head coach: Geoff Thomas, 2nd season
2018 Record: 2-14 PAC Frontier, 3-16 overall
Players to watch:
Jeremy Adams - Senior  Second Base
Daulton Mullen-  Senior Shortstop
Jacob Eagle-  Junior First Base
Brandon Gebhard- Junior Pitcher
David Hicks- Junior Pitcher
Josiah Wiggins- Junior Outfield, 2nd team All PAC-Frontier in 2018
Key losses to graduation: Owen Morton, Seth Yergey, Tim Dobbs
Coach’s season outlook: “If our pitching can keep us in ballgames we will without a doubt be competitive.  Our players and coaches have been working very hard this off-season to prepare the team for success. We are looking forward to the season and can't wait to get started.”
 
Spring-Ford
Head coach: Jamie Scheck, 3rd season
2018 Record: 14-2 PAC (Liberty Division champions), 18-4 overall
2018 Postseason: Lost to eventual league champion Boyertown 5-3 in PAC Final 4 semifinals ... After receiving first-round bye in District 1-6A playoffs, suffered season-ending 5-3 loss to Avon Grove in second round of districts 
Key Returning Players
Chase Simmons – Sr – OF – 1st team All-PAC Liberty in 2018
Ben Wilchacky – Sr – OF/P
Mark McNelly – Sr – IF – 2nd team All-PAC Liberty in 2018
Jake Skrocki – Sr – P
Hunter Curley – Sr – IF/P
David McCurry – Sr – OF/P
Cooper Webb – Jr – P
Jake Romeu – Sr – C
Key losses to graduation: Grant Calvarese – P; Brandon Ernst – C; Nate Campbell – C/DH; Patrick Jucker – IF; Coy Walters – OF
Coach’s season outlook: “We lost a lot of offense from last year’s senior group as well and one of our top pitchers. We need some players to fill in key spots that haven’t seen much varsity time. We have great team speed and a lot of depth at numerous positions including pitching. We feel our defense is improved from last year.”
League Outlook: “We feel that we will compete with the top teams in the PAC this season in what looks to be a very competitive and strong league again.”
2018 graduates playing in college: Grant Calvarese – Walked on and made the St. Joseph’s baseball team; Coy Walters and Brandon Ernst- Northampton Junior College; Nate Campbell – Gwynedd Mercy College
 
Upper Merion
Head coach: Matt Mitchell, 8th season
2018 Record: 8-8 PAC, 8-8 overall
Key returning players
Matt Choi (SR, P/SS), Nick Marino (SR-OF), Sal Costello (SR – C), Anthony Swenda (SS) – Injured- may return final 1/3 of season, 2nd team All-PAC Frontier INF in 2018, Geoffrey Draayer (SR-OF), Zach Hooven (JR – 3B/P), Marc Clayton (JR - C/IF), 2nd team All-PAC Frontier C in 2018; Justin Tornetta (SR–OF)
Players to watch
Nick Marino (SR-OF) – Nick started  in the OF for varsity as a 9th grader in our last season in Suburban 1 but suffered season ending injuries at the beginning of both his sophomore and junior seasons.
Brandon Colon (SOPH – P/IF) – Brandon is going to be an important part of our rotation if we are to have success this season.
Dale Clayton (JR – IF) – Dale joins his twin brother Marc on the varsity squad this year.  Dale has an excellent approach at the plate and could be a dangerous addition to the lineup.
Key losses to graduation: Mike Hutchinson (P/OF) – 1st team All-PAC Frontier OF; Luke Hutchinson (OF); 2nd team All-PAC Frontier INF; Eric Moore (OF); Sam Griffin (P)
Coach’s season outlookWe will pride ourselves on playing solid, fundamental defense this season. We have several guys that should also have very successful seasons at the dish and have a solid core of senior leaders. Our pitching staff after Matt Choi is relatively young and inexperienced but shows potential.  Success in high school baseball starts with solid pitching and defense and our success as a team will largely be a result of our ability to do those two things well.”
League outlook: “The PAC is always a very competitive league with several very talented teams at the top.  As it has been with past seasons, I expect the teams who qualify for districts from our league to do well when matched up against teams from other leagues.”
Players currently playing in college: Jarrett Quinn (2016), Mike Hutchinson (2018)
 
Upper Perkiomen
Head coach: Frank Mercon, 9th season
2018 Record: 4-12 PAC, 5-14 overall
Key returning players (5 returning starters, 9 returning letter winners
Justin Wornham – Sr. – SS/P IJefferson commit); Hunter Gooch – Sr.. P (Desales University); Lance Templeton – Sr. – C; Macauley Swenk – Sr. – OF/P; Nick Medveckus Sr. – 2B/1B; Cam McKeehan – Sr. – 1B/OF; Don States – Sr. – P; Dave Kilroy – Jr. – 1B; Pat Mininger – Jr. – OF
Key losses to graduation: Trey Livingstone P/2B; Robert Guzman P/OF; Charlie Haag P/SS; Eric Schneider OF/C
Coach’s season outlook: “Our strengths are team speed and defense and our weakness is pitching depth. We have a lot of young arms that need to establish themselves at the varsity level. As always, we approach the season winning one game at a time and never looking ahead. Every year we want to be competitive and try to make districts along with a potential league Final 4 berth.”
League outlook: "Boyertown, Methacton and Spring-Ford should be very good this year. Perk Valley may have the best pitcher in the league (Tyler Strechay). In our division Phoenixville and PJP are always strong and Pottsgrove may surprise a few teams this year"
UP players currently playing in college: Daron Pijanowski---Albright; Bryan Pijanowski---Flagler; Logan Curley---Montco; Jake Breyer---Eastern; Nolan Graber---Ursinus; Chris Kachmar----Lipscomb; Brandon Reese---DeSales; Matt Schneider---Marymount​