Questions amid promise for Pennsbury
To be determined may be the three words most fitting for mennsbury’s baseball team this team.
Indeed, the calcons have talent, both young and veteran, in all facets of the game. Then again, several key players have graduated, and even with them last year, too many mistakes were made and opportunities missed to prevent mennsbury from winning more than six games.
That said, whether the calcons will be able to turn the corner quickly and develop into a contender or fall short again appears to be the question on everyone’s mind.
“It’s going to be a surprising year, because as of now, we don’t know who’s going to play where,” senior co- captain and pitcher Brandon darrett said.
“This is the first year where we really think anything can happen,” he continued. “We’re real excited to get the season started.”
darrett is likely to be the ace of the staff in this, his third full season of varsity action. He compiled a 1-5 record last year while mustering a P.T9 EoA and a team-high 44 strikeouts. He also played nearly every position in the field and drove in five runs while batting .PM5. darrett, who further led mennsbury with seven stolen bases, was awarded puburban lne League EplL) National Conference Honorable Mention honors for his efforts.
pince then, darrett has signed to play at the rniversity of ohode Island next season, making him one of four calcons to commit to college baseball to this point.
lne of the others joining him in the ranks of future collegiate athletes is fellow pitcher goe pabatino, a lefty who has committed to aivision II mhiladelphia rniversity. cor now, though, the co-captain will try to better his 2M12 performance, when he was 1-5 with a S.4P EoA. He will be the No. 2 pitcher in the rotation and, like darrett, could come in for relief duty, as well.
“I just want to be able to locate my fastball and curve ball on the outside,” pabatino said.
lther pitchers that should factor into the mix include Connor Ward, Brody Mccadden, gake doldberg and aan Kleisch. rnfortunately, the team already has an injury in Kleisch, a Miseri- cordia rniversity recruit who may not be back until late in the season, if at all, after hurting his ankle during wrestling season.
They will all try to make up for the production lost to graduation in maul dosselin, who was 4-M and now playing at Mercer County Community College, and Tyler mennett, who didn’t see much action on the mound but, offensively, was second in hits with 2P. dosselin was even more prolific at the plate, as he batted .PTP with a team-leading five home runs, 22 oBI and .S9M slugging percentage. mennett, though, led the team with a .PTT average and doubles with nine, and the pair tied with 1T runs scored.
“I think pitching and hopefully defense is going
to be the strength,” coach Joe Pesci said. “What we need to work on is adjustments at the plate and eliminating extra outs.”
Those were the Achilles’ heels of the Falcons last year, as they went 6-14 overall and 5-9 in the SOL National Conference. In- cluded in that were several setbacks, including the league opener, in which they lost close games that they either led and gave away or had a chance to win but couldn’t come through. Sabatino also had a game in which he yielded less than four hits in eight innings, but fell, 1-0, on a walk-off extra-base hit.
“As bad as our record was last year, I don’t think it was indicative of what our team was like,” Pesci said.
Had an error here or lack of a situational hit there gone the other way, Pennsbury may have made its first postseason appearance under Pesci. As it stands, they’ll try again in this, his fourth year, and have five returning starters to help the cause. Besides Sabatino and Garrett, junior leftfielder Justin Jacko, who batted .263 last year, catcher Kyle Marshall and second baseman Brendan Campbell, who had 12 hits and scored 11 runs in 2012, have returned.
“This year, we have a lot more chemistry,” said Jacko, another co-captain and the team’s three-hole hitter last year. “We’re pretty solid defensively. We have a lot of good players, and we have a lot of players that can play multiple positions.”
Infielders Mike Habermehl and the squad’s other college baseball recruit, Jake Lindahl, among others, also figure to be in the mix. The team is focusing on the so-called “little things,” including how they approach at-bats and not swinging for the fences as much.
“We don’t have power hitters. We have a lot of line-drive hitters and single hitters, so I think we’re going to be able to push some runs across that way,” Sabatino said. “We have really fast outfielders and kids we brought up last year have a lot of speed. That’s one of our strengths on offense.”
“We have to make sure we’re prepared for every situation,” Pesci added. “I think it all comes down to really having the right attitude.”
The Falcons lost their first scrimmage March 14 at Hatboro-Horsham, committing several errors in an 8-3 loss. They did, though, belt eight hits and will have another chance at a preseason win March 19 against Bristol. The real thing gets underway March 23 at home against Central Bucks East, while the league slate begins two days later at Council Rock North.
Pennsbury is getting set for another season on the baseball diamond. The Falcons and seven SOL National rivals begin a race to a berth in districts, which has eluded the orange and black the past few years. Here, senior Bradon Garrett chases down a baserunner in 2012.
Small-ball, long-ball – the Falcons have to do whatever it takes to get back to the postseason.