Hat­ters to rely on ex­pe­ri­ence, pitch­ing

Public Spirit - - OPINION - By Nick Iuele

ni­uele@mont­gomerynews. com ost teams that lost its fiUsW IRuU hit­ters in the lineup and two great pitch­ers a year af­ter reach­ing WKH sWDWH sHPLfinDOs ZRuOG panic. Hat­boro-Hor­sham and coach Pete Moore are not the pan­icky type.

It is no se­cret that this is a dif­fer­ent Hat­ters team than last sea­son. wach Crim and Casey O’Don­nell threw some great games en route WR WKH sWDWH sHPLfinDOs DnG bats like Chris Hens, Conor Crookham and Casey Save­rio will be greatly missed. How­ever, you’ll have to ex­cuse the Hat­ters if they seem cool and col­lected head­ing into 2013.

“Last year’s se­nior class

Mwas the most tal­ented that I have coached in my ten­ure as the head coach at Hat­boro-Hor­sham. They were very gifted play­ers and played with a pas­sion that led to our success,” Moore said. “They have laid the foun­da­tion for what our pro­gram can do mov­ing for­ward. Their pride in their per­for­mance has been passed down to this group of play­ers. Th­ese guys saw the work ethic that is nec­es­sary to suc­ceed at a high level and win cham­pi­onships.”

One of H-H’s great­est as­sets head­ing into the spring is ex­pe­ri­ence. Although the Hat­ters lost many starters, a few re­main and they will be key to any success the Hat­ters have this sea­son. Ryan helly, drant Opalisky

and wach Pren­der­gast are all re­turn­ing starters and will make an im­pact both in the lineup and on the mound. Pren­der­gast, who threw a no-hit­ter least sea­son, and Opalisky were both Car­pen­ter Cup play­ers a year ago and se­nior helly was very pro­duc­tive as ju­nior.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence that they gained last year is in­valu­able,” Moore said. “I have seen them tak­ing lead­er­ship roles this year and push­ing guys to work up to their po­ten­tial. Ryan helly has stepped up as a vo­cal leader for us and some­one who other guys lis­ten to.”

That be­ing said, the younger play­ers who learned from a great squad last year are a year older and wiser. Brad Hum­ski, who came up big in cer­tain pinch-hit­ting sit­u­a­tions in 2012, will be the start­ing sec­ond base­man and hit at the top of the or­der this sea­son. The ju­nior showed a great deal of heart last sea­son and is primed for a very suc­cess­ful sea­son.

“Hum­ski is a coach’s dream with his work ethic, lead­er­ship and will­ing­ness to do what­ever makes the team bet­ter,” Moore said. “On top of that, he is a very tal­ented player. bric Lane is D WDOHnWHG yRunJ RuW­fiHOGHr with great bat speed at the plate. He plays a solid left fiHOG DnG cDn sZLnJ LW vHry well.”

bven with miss­ing two top start­ing pitch­ers, 0RRrH Ls vHry cRn­fiGHnW in a tal­ented, deep pitch­ing corps. The Hat­ters will once again look to the up­per­class­men to get outs and eat up in­nings. Pitch­ing was a ma­jor strength and es­sen­tial for a deep post-sea­son run last sea­son. Pitch­ing does, af­ter all, win cham­pi­onships.

“Tyler Markovic and John Hly­wiak re­turn to give added ex­pe­ri­ence to the staff. Markovic was a guy we turned to last year to get key outs for us on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions,” Moore sDLG. “TKLs yHDr KH ZLOO fiOO a big­ger role throw­ing more in­nings. Hly­wiak also will see more in­nings and should be suc­cess­ful in his sec­ond sea­son at the var­sity level. Ju­nior David Brown is mak­ing his var­sity de­but this year and has looked strong on the mound in the early go­ing.”

Although there is op­ti­mism in Hat­ters Land, the pro­duc­tion that has left the team is glar­ing. Moore is well aware that there are KROHs WR fiOO, EuW DOsR IHHOs he has enough tal­ent on the ros­ter to make an­other run at a state ti­tle.

“Our pitch­ing depth and WKH WDOHnW RI Rur Ln­fiHOGers will give us a chance to com­pete for the SOL Con­ti­nen­tal Cham­pi­onship. The guys are very cRn­fiGHnW EDsHG Rn WKH run that we had in the play­offs last year,” Moore said. “What we learned last year, was that play­ing your best base­ball at the end of the year is one of the key fac­tors in be­ing able to make the post-sea­son run that we made last year. We will work harder to get bet­ter ev­ery day.”

Mont­gomery Me­dia file photo / BOB RAINES

Re­turn­ing pitcher Zach Pren­der­gast will be a key player is Hat­boro Hor­sham is to re­main among the elite teams in the state this spring.

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