Baseball: Team-by-team preview capsules

Boyertown

2010 Record: 10-8 PAC-10, 12-8 overall

Coach: Todd Moyer, 16th season as head coach

Key losses: Boyertown lost 15 seniors, including all 8 starting position players

Key returnees: Senior starting pitcher Taras Letnaunchyn, senior starting pitcher Steve Price

Coach’s comments: “We expect to win at Boyertown, but this group of kids hasn’t won anything yet. Our biggest problem will be having them come together as a group. Inexperience is a weakness but this is a good group of kids who’ve been working hard and trying to show a commitment to the team. They seem to have a love of baseball.

“Last year was the first time we didn’t do anything in the playoffs in a long time (Prior to the 2009 season, Boyertown had won five straight PAC-10 titles), and we want to change that.”

PAC-10 outlook (Moyer): “I’m tired of hearing about the quality of play in the PAC-10. It’s usually one of our critics spouting it out. Last year, Owen J. Roberts finished No. 2 in the state and (Spring City) won the state legion championship.”

Methacton

 2010 Record: 17-6 overall and 14-4 in the PAC10

 Postseason: Lost to Spring-Ford in the PAC-10 semifinals; beat West Chester East in the first round of districts and lost to Wissahickon in the second round.

 Coach: Paul Spiewak- 8th Season

 Key losses:  Jordan Carter, Andrew Carr, Mark Romano, Mike Fontanella

 Key returnees: P/3B Joey Casselberry, SS Nick Strizziere, C/IF David Toomey, 1B Andrew Hart, OF Matt Ahlberg. Joey Casselberry, a Junior 3B/P, hit .467 last year with 35 hits and 24 RBIs. He also went 4-0 on the mound with a 2.63 ERA. Andrew Hart, a senior 1B/DH, hit .414 with 21 RBI's.

Newcomers to watch: Steven Dunbar, Matt Dale, Nick Fazio, Roger Collins

 Coach's comments: “We have very high expectations for this upcoming season, but we understand what a challenge the PAC-10 will be for us. We believed that we had the chance to compete for a district title last season, and our players have been working very hard to try and build off of last year's disappointing second round district loss to Wissahickon. But first and foremost, we would be very fortunate to have the opportunity to compete in the PAC-10 playoffs again this year. It was a great experience for our program last season.”

 PAC-10 team to beat: OJR

Owen J. Roberts

 2010 Record: Pioneer Athletic Conference champions and PIAA state finalists finished 25-6 overall

Postseason: Lost in district semifinals to Council Rock North 9-6, advanced to Class AAAA state championship game, losing to West Chester Henderson 7-0

Coach: Greg Gilbert 14th year

Key losses: Jeff Wiand (PAC-10 Player of the Year), David Vining, Brandon Engelhardt, Paul Kochu, Steve Piskai, Jake Tammaro

Key returnees: Dave Raifsnider (C), Rob Patete (3B/P), Tim Ponto (P)

Newcomers to watch: Zach Boehmer (1B/P), Brad Solomon (OF/P), Jared Pinelli (SS)      

Coach's comments: “We lost 10 seniors to graduation and therefore have very little experience. We hope to be competitive and learn quickly as the season progresses.”

PAC-10 team to beat: Spring-Ford.

Perkiomen Valley

2010 Record: 7-12 overall, 7-11 in Pac-10

Coach: David Feight, third season

Key losses: Nick D'Abbene 3B, last season’s top run producer with 25 runs scored, 2nd on the team in RBI

Key returnees:  Andrew Kenney (Senior):  SS/P.  (Had a major shoulder injury last year limiting him to just 13 games and most of those appearances came at 1B or DH, no innings on the mound for PV’s staff ace from two years ago)
 
Zach Isaacson (Senior):  3B.  Isaacson hit .426 a year ago out of the cleanup position.  He was second team All PAC-10

Mark Malantonio (Senior) C, Malantonio led the team with 22 RBI in his first full year as a varsity player

Newcomers to watch:  Nate Struss (Junior):  1B

Coach's comments:  “Expectations for this year are high for us because we have regained health to our pitching staff.  Last season we had just 3 starts from our projected top 3 starters and in a league this difficult that’s a tough way to go into a season.  We played too many games with football scores, (especially against Spring-Ford).  We need to get back to what we stress most here and that’s pitching and defense.  We do return our top 5 offensive players from a team that was 3rd in the league in runs scored so that’s a good thing but we need to cut way down on runs allowed.

“It will be important for us to get off to a good start because our first 5 games are against all 5 playoff teams from a year ago.  This league, year in and year out, is a dogfight. This year will be no different but it may be a bit more wide open than most because of the graduation of some truly special players.”

PAC-10 team to beat: Owen J. Roberts, until the champ is knocked off.

Phoenixville

2010 Record: 11-7 PAC-10; 12-10 overall

Postseason: Lost 1-0 to eventual champion Owen J. Roberts in the semifinals of the PAC-10 Final Four; lost to Upper Moreland 2-0 in first round of districts

Head coach: Jack Sturgeon, 13th season

Key losses: Had 10 seniors graduate from last year’s squad (including seven starters) along with the whole pitching staff.

Key Returnees:(all seniors)- Dillon Fina P/C/OF ,Mike Jones P/1B, Andy Kaye RF, Thomas Romano CF, Tony Sierzega 2B, Jon Wheel 3B

Coach’s comments:  “The first part of the season we’ll be meshing our varsity together and hopefully having players step up and grab starting spots. It will be crucial that the new pitching staff helps to keep us in games early on until we find our offensive identity.”

PAC-10 team to beat:  Spring-Ford will be strong throughout their lineup but I have also heard that Pope John Paul is strong and never count out Greg Gilbert and the Wildcats.

Pope John Paul II

2010 record: First year program merging St. Pius X of Pottstown (5-13 PAC-10) and Norristown’s Kennedy-Kenrick (8-8 Philadelphia Catholic League, District 12-AA championship)

 

Head coach: Tom Sergio, 1st season (43-24 with two District 12-AA titles in three seasons at Kennedy-Kenrick).

Key returnees: A.J. Koscelansky, Sr., SS; Vince DiPiero, Sr., C, Jeff Evans, Sr., SS –P (.296; 1-1 with 3.50 ERA at Pius); Anthony Carr, Sr., C;   Alex DiGenova, Sr., 1B (.365 BA, 12 RBI at Pius); Paul Mills, Sr., 3B; Robbie Barth, Sr., 2B; Steve Zbyszinski, Sr., 2B; Sal DiPrinzio, Sr., CF; Alex Romberger, Sr., LF; Tyler Michael, Jr., RF; Gary Martorona, Sr., RF; John Anuszewski, Sr., C; Vince DiPiero, Sr., C.

Coach’s comments: “It’s a chance to get into a program at the ground level, and play in a very competitive league. We can build it from the ground up. It looks like we’ll have a lot of pitching, but I’m not sure how good it will be. Our hitting should be pretty good, but we still have a lot of decisions to make as to who plays where.”

Pottsgrove

2010 record:
1-17 PAC-10, 3-17 overall.

Head coach: Rich Ashburn, 1st season (Ashburn is the son of the late Hall-of-Famer and Phillies icon Richie “Whitey” Ashburn)

Key returnees: George Gantert, Jr., P-1B; Ryan Christman, Jr., 3B-OF-P; Jason Mansmann, Sr., RF (hit .341 with 5 extra-base hits in 2010); Allen Mendenhall, Jr., SS; Ian Hahn, Sr., P; Zach Birch, So., 1B-3B; Ryan McMenamin, Sr., 2B-SS; Mike Czekaj, Jr., OF.


Pottstown

Head coach:
Terry Bechtel, 2nd season

2010 record: 3-15 PAC-10, 3-17 overall.

Key losses:

  • Seth Regensburg (transferred to Hill School): As a ninth grader, Seth led the team in most of the offensive categories and was of our strongest pitchers.

Key returnees:

  • Our middle infielders, Kyle Dentler (Shortstop) and Jeff Endy (second base). Both seniors are team leaders and solid baseball players. (Endy hit .333 with 9 RBI last season)

 Newcomers to watch:

  • Our sophomore class has tremendous potential. Watch for Zach Davis, Josh Hartman, and Jimmy Mullen. Also a junior, Nick Zipay, will play a vital role on our team this season.

Coach's comments: 

  • "We have to manufacture runs, throw strikes, and play solid defense. I believe we can do all three." 

PAC-10 team to beat:

  • "I like Phoenixville. But Methacton, OJR and Spring-Ford will round out the top. We will be fighting for one of the top spots."

Spring-Ford

2010 record: 14-8 overall, 13-5 PAC-10

Postseason: Reached the PAC-10 championship game, losing 2-1 to eventual state runner-up Owen J. Roberts; lost to Central Bucks South 1-0 in first round of District One Class AAAA playoffs

Coach: Bruce Brobst, eighth season at Spring-Ford

Players to watch

Ricky Gorrell - Senior - 1st team all-league shortstop in 2010, hit .422 with four doubles, one triple, five home runs and 23 RBI

James Hoff - Senior - 1st team all-league catcher in 2010, hit .408 with 25 RBIs, 13 (10 doubles, 2 triples, 1 HR) of 29 hits went for extra bases

Sean Larkin –Senior – P/1B, finished 5-1 with 3.23 ERA in 2010, hit .435 (10-23) with one home run

Pat Medley – Senior – P/OF, hit .349 (22-63) with 18 RBI, seven extra-base hits included 3 doubles and 3 triples.

Josh Mellon – Senior, P/OF

Mike Oczypok – Senior, P/INF, 2-2 with one save and 4.46 ERA, hit .345 (19-55) with 20 runs scored

Coach’s outlook: “Spring-Ford is blessed to have a number of returning players from last year's team who were key contributors and excellent baseball players. I look forward to watching them play this season and am expecting them to lead this team.

PAC-10 outlook (Bruce Brobst): “As a whole the league graduated a number of excellent baseball players from many teams.  However the league powerhouses Owen J. Roberts, Boyertown, and Methacton are well coached and have excellent programs. There are other teams in the league that are hungry to win and play competitively. There are no easy days in the PAC-10. We look forward to competing against these teams.”

Upper Perkiomen

2010 Record: 9-12 overall,  9-9 PAC-10

Postseason: lost to Holy Ghost Prep 8-7 in District One Class AAA opening round


Coach: Frank Mercon, first year


Key losses:  8 of 9 starters from lineup in 2010 were seniors

Key returnees: Mike Paul


Newcomers to watch:
Devyn Kerr
Kyle Saylor
Alex Moll


Coach's comments:
“We want to take one game at a time and be competitive.”