While members of the boys’ baseball team worked on their tans and fundamentals in Myrtle Beach over spring break, the other spring sports teams practiced on muddy, partially snow-covered fields or under fluorescent lights on wooden floors. Here’s our first round of spring sports previews.
Head coach Kim Cahill is in an enviable position this spring – too many boys coming out for the team. “We had 21 boys go out for the team, but since there are only seven starters on a team, and a handful of others that will play exhibition matches, we had to cut down to 15.
“We lost three seniors to graduation last year,” Cahill said, “but the younger players coming up should give us a good strong team.”
Many of the players have been working on their games over the summer and during the winter at Total Tennis in Saugerties. “It’s nice having a local indoor facility where they can practice,” Cahill said at the outdoor tennis courts at Cantine Field that were surrounded by snow.
“The weather has really not cooperated for us to get in a lot of practice time before our opening game on April 11,” she added.
“I try to get them to bundle up for practice, do some running before going on the courts,” she said. But, pointing to the teens, many of whom were only dressed in shorts and a tee shirt during a recent day where the thermometer showed a temp of about 39 degrees, she shrugged her shoulders and said, “boys will be boys.”
This year’s team will be led by returning seniors Dale Maier and Kyle Melick, but Cahill said she expects strong play from underclassmen Dan Pool, Emlynn Eleaber, Corey Curran, Arny Herzog and Lane Solzer.
“We should have a really competitive team this year,” Cahill said.
For a team that only won four games last year, head coach Robert Slate is confident. He said this year’s team should not only win more games, but should give some of the tougher teams in the area, such as Kingston, a run for their money.
“We have a lot of potential this year, and should surprise a lot of teams,” Slate said.
But noting that only 20 boys went out for the team, he said his concerns are the same as they were last year; “a low turnout.”
Slate said he’s looking for senior goaltender Joe Carmody and junior goalie Tyler Mentz to step up and take charge of action on the field. He added that he has a number of defenders from last year’s team returning, and “this seasoned defense should be the strength of our team.”
Mid-fielders Alex Munoz and Chris Latourette, who played important roles on the school’s wrestling team, will be counted on to shore up the midfield, as will Darius Edwards. Bill Kahner and James Petersen will lead the offense.
Slate is also expecting strong performances from Rob Colijero, Kyle Quinn, Jake Vickery, Pete Larson, Jake Morgan, Amell Mason and Eric Watters.
Because of the weather, the team has spent a lot of time indoors, working in the weight room and running the hallways of the school.
Last year, the Lady Sawyers finished strong, surprising a number of good teams with their spirited play and their use of “small ball.”
This year, coach Melinda Glover said her team will be making use of bunts and heads-up base running again. But there’s some question as to who will be the team’s leaders.
“We lost two great seniors,” Glover said. Standout pitcher Taylor Snyder and power-hitting shortstop Jamie Whittam are off playing ball in college. Some new players are going to have to take the helm.
Darcy Bittner, last year’s third baseman, will slide into the starting pitcher’s spot. Samantha Shultis will be counted on to step up. Courtney O’Connor will be the backup pitcher and utility infielder. Maureen Ball will play shortstop.
“We had some tough holes to fill,” Glover said, “but we have eight returnees, and four newcomers that should give us a good team this year.”
Much like the other teams, getting in some practice time has been difficult because of the weather, Glover said.
This past Friday, March 29, was only the third time the girls had been able to practice outside on a field; the rest of the time has been running the halls and fielding grounders in a gym.
Their season opens this week, but with rain and snow predicted, Glover was unsure of how many games would actually be played.