March 31, 2009


Returnees create optimism for CHS

ReturneesBob Ellis/staff photographer
Junior Matt Carr will see some time on the mound for Cortland High this season.

Staff Writer

A solid core of veterans will be on hand as the Cortland High baseball team opens its 2009 season and 14th under head coach John Tobin by visiting Chittenango Wednesday.
A total of 10 players are back from last season, when coach John Tobin’s Purple Tigers went 4-9 in the OHSL Freedom American Division and 8-13 overall.
Junior third baseman-pitcher Ryann Hubbard, a first-team all-leaguer, was the team’s top hitter in 2008 with a .417 average, driving in 12 runs (tied for second on the team) with a team-high six doubles and seven stolen bases. He also compiled a 1-1 record as a pitcher. Senior outfielder-pitcher Trevor Williamson (second-team all-league) was next with a .319 average with eight RBIs and five stolen bases, while senior first baseman-pitcher Ian Spafford (honorable mention) batted .286 with a team-high 14 RBIs, four doubles and team highs in home runs (two) and stolen bases (eight).
Other returnees are senior Cody Smith (pitcher-outfielder), juniors Justin Burns (first baseman-pitcher; honorable mention, 12 RBIs to tie Hubbard for second on the team), Tony Whitt (shortstop), Brandon Watkins (second baseman-pitcher) and Matt Carr (outfielder-pitcher) and sophomore catcher-outfielder Tabel.
Key losses were first-team all-leaguer Steve Wright and second-teamer Jason Hogan. As a pitcher, Wright went 3-4 with a 2.23 earned run average with 48 strikeouts in 44 innings, while Hogan batted .321.
Newcomers this spring include senior pitcher-outfielder Justin Guerin, juniors Jake Robillard (catcher), Andrew Edwards (outfield) and Nick Crosby (first base) and sophomore outfielder-pitcher Justin Hogan.
Smith, Carr, Watkins and Hubbard are projected as starters by Tobin, with Burns either a starter or reliever, and Guerin, Williamson (closer), Spafford and Hogan the relievers.
“We improved as last season went on and have quite a bit of optimism going into this season,” Tobin said. “Our strength is our defense up the middle with Tabel, Watkins, Whitt and Williamson. We have a nice nucleus of players, but only 14 on the team so we have to stay healthy. We have to improve our hitting in the clutch. We left way too many runners in scoring position last season and lost some close games because of it.
“We’re back to one league this year,” he adde of the OHSL Freedom, with the American and National Divisions having been dropped. “Mexico and Jamesville-DeWitt won the divisions last season and Syracuse CBA is back in, so those three are the favorites. I think we can be very competitive with them; the last time we played each of them in league games we won. We have to keep improving and do the things we need to do.”
Jeff Tabel, Jeff Johnson and newcomer Yale Hughes (who will also be helping with the Modified squad after being its head coach last spring) are the varsity assistant coaches. Dave Darrow is the JV head coach, assisted by his son Zach. Brandon Galutz is the head Modified coach, assisted by Eric Comtois and Hughes.

The schedule:

April 1- at Chittenango, 4:30; 8- at Syracuse CBA, 4:30; 11- *at Solvay, 11:00; 13- *HOMER (SUNY Cortland), Noon; 15- at Jamesville-DeWitt, 11:00; 18- *PARTIGIANONI TOURNAMENT (TULLY Noon; HOMER or DRYDEN, 3 p.m.); 20- FOWLER, 4:30; 22- at Fulton, 4:30; 24- EAST SYRACUSE-MINOA, 4:45; 27- MEXICO, 4:30; 29- CHITTENANGO, 4:30; 30- *TULLY, 4:30.
May 4- SYRACUSE CBA, 4:30; 6- PHOENIX (2), 4:30/7:00; 12- at Fowler, 4:30; 14- FULTON, 4:30; 15- JAMESVILLE-DEWITT, 4:30; 20- at East Syracuse-Minoa, 4:30; 22- at Mexico, 4:30.
*- Non-league games