April 1, 2010


New skippers for Lions, Rockets

Staff Writer

Two of the three local Central Counties League baseball teams will have new coaches this spring, as Mike Gleason takes over for Chad Newton at DeRuyter Central and Bob Enright assumes the Cincinnatus Central reins held by Jon Protheroe in recent years.
Former Cortland High standout Abe Johnson is back as the coach for the Eagles of McGraw, as the league is slated to open the 2010 campaign this afternoon.
Here’s a look at the local CCL squads:
Coach: Mike Gleason
The Rockets return only three players from the team that went 11-1 in the league last year for its second straight championship, this one shared with Stockbridge Valley. Senior catcher Ryan Karp was a first-team all-leaguer last season, while junior first baseman-rightfielder John Conklyn and sophomore pitcher-shortstop leftfielder Zach Thomas are also back from 2009.
Lost to graduation were first-teamers Matt Stevens (catcher-outfielder-third baseman-pitcher), Mike Harris (outfielder-pitcher) and Josh Weaver (third baseman-pitcher-outfielder), second-team shortstop-pitcher Ethan Grime and honorable mentions John Haggert (outfielder), Dan Raymond (outfielder-pitcher), Brandon Chapman (second baseman) and Cody Tiffany (first baseman-third baseman-pitcher).
Newcomers to the varsity level are seniors Ethan Fox (second baseman), Sean Rutherford (first baseman-pitcher), David Ruiz (rightfielder), Andrew Driscoll (third baseman-pitcher) and Tim Vedder (rightfielder/leftfielder), juniors co-captains Brett Vosburg (centerfielder) and Ryan Covney, sophomores Sam Farewell (leftfielder), Kyle Newton (pitcher-third baseman-first baseman) and Kyle Pelcher (second baseman-shortstop) and freshman rightfielder-pitcher Zack Fish.
“Our keys to success will be to work hard and focus, and our goal is to win the league,” Gleason said.
Coach: Abe Johnson
The Eagles, who finished fifth in the seven team league at 4-8 and 5-9 overall, return four honorable-mention all leaguers from ‘09 — seniors Chris Torres (outfielder- lefty pitcher, .262 in league play with a team-high 12 RBIs), Cody Brown (pitcher third baseman, .316 league with a team-high five doubles and nine RBIs) and Kyle Tuttle (designated hitter, .368 league with two triples) and freshman pitcher-infielder Nick Cowen (.270). Torres and Brown are the Eagles’ co-captains this spring.
Also back are seniors Tom Frost (outfielder), Doug Medler (catcher) and Joey Steinhoff (second baseman) and sophomores Austin Chambers (pitcher-outfielder-catcher) and Mark Hitt (shortstop-pitcher).
The newcomers, all up from the JVs, are sophomore first baseman Matt Kenyon and freshmen Wayne Buerkle (catcher) and Aaron Hitt (centerfielder, Mark’s brother).
Lost to graduation were first-team outfielder Eric Ralyea (.378 league) and second-teamer Josh Shepard (first baseman-catcher-pitcher, .333 league with eight RBIs).
“All of our starting pitchers have returned and they have been showing improvement so far,” Johnson said in talking about the Eagles’ keys to success. “We will go as far as they’ll take us this year. A lot of teams came back and stole wins from us last year. We need to figure out a way to put teams away when we are up and make that a focus this year. Our outfield defense will be much improved.”
As for the league race, Johnson said that “Brookfield will be strong. DeRuyter lost a lot of seniors, but they always have a strong program and they have a new coach. Stockbridge Valley will also be in the mix. Madison is always competitive. Cincinnatus has improved the past few years and also has made a coaching change.
“If the first few weeks of practice are any indication on how this team will do, I am excited. They have been working hard, focused and are ready to go. I look forward to a great season.”
Coach: Bob Enright
Enright, who coached the modified team the past few years, inherits a squad that returns eight players from last year, when the Red Lions were 1-11 in the league (seventh) and 3-15 overall, and has nine veterans overall.
Senior pitcher-shortstop-third baseman Arin Baldwin earned all-league honorable mention last year, when he hit .300 and scored 11 runs. Also back are seniors Nick Scott (third baseman-outfielder) and Shannon Metcalf (outfielder, last played in 2008), juniors Chris Prentice (catcher-second baseman), Charles Kemak (outfielder) and Jeremy Adams (outfielder-pitcher) and sophomores Joe Peri (shortstop-pitcher-catcher), Selby Castine (first baseman-third baseman-pitcher) and Harold Scott (outfielder). Baldwin, Nick Scott and Kemak are the captains.
The key loss from last season was catcher-pitcher-first baseman Jacob Silverstein, a second-team all-leaguer in ‘09 after leading Cincy in batting average (..400), RBIs (18) and triples (four) and scoring 15 runs, second-best on the squad.
This year’s newcomers are seniors Joe McUmber (second baseman) and James Davis (third baseman-outfielder), juniors Phil Clark (second baseman-catcher) and Dean Fish (outfielder) and, up from the modified team, freshmen Chris Hall (first baseman-pitcher) and Cody Kemak (outfielder-pitcher).
“The keys to success for us,” Enright said, “are to throw strikes consistently and not walk too many hitter, play solid defense and relax and play good fundamental baseball. My goal is for the team to continue to improve and to better the win total from last year, which is what the players are shooting for.
“This being my first year I’m not sure who the top teams in the league will be, but I think that DeRuyter, McGraw and Brookfield might be the top contenders. I also think that we might surprise teams as we continue to improve.”