Division I AUSTINTOWN FITCH Falcons
Coach: Wally Ford, 16th season.
2013 record: 22-4 (10-0 All-American Conference American Division).
Projected starters: Scott Pierce (SS-Sr.), Zack Miller (3B-Sr.), Shane Vitullo (CF-Sr.), Phil Socha (1B-Sr.), Luke Peterson (2B-Sr.).
Other contributors: Trent Collins (P-Sr.), Alex DiFrancesco (P-Sr.).
Outlook: Area coaches almost unanimously see Fitch as the team to beat in the conference. After winning it last year, the Falcons return seven seniors from that team. Ford says developing pitching depth will be the key to the season as Pierce, Miller, Socha and Vitullo are all entrenched in their positions and as team leaders.
Coach: Eric Pellegrini, third season
2013 record: 1-15
Projected starters: Brandon Jackson (OF/P-Jr.), Jeremy Woodberry (SS/P-Jr.), Imoni Donadelle (OF/P-So.), Mohammad Mujahed (3B-Sr.).
Other contributors: Richard McBride (C/P-So.), Ali Mujahed (1B-So.).
Outlook: Donadelle led the Panthers in earned run average last season. He, Jackson and Woodberry all started games in 2013.
Division II BEAVER LOCAL Beavers
Coach: Steve Dawson, first season.
2013 record: N/A
Projected starters: Ethan Campbell (RF/P-Sr.), Chandler Cornell (1B/P-Sr.), Caleb Jackson (3B/P-Sr.), Josh Beck (CF-Jr.), Jason Plum (OF/P-Jr.).
Other contributors: Michael Pomeroy (OF/P-Jr.), Chris Heaton (IF/P-Jr.).
Outlook: Chase Wilcox will man the shortstop position as a freshman, and sophomore Bryce McKenzie will be his double-play partner at second. The Beavers will also have a freshman at catcher in Zach Boni, but the rest of the lineup is filled with upperclassmen.
Coach: Matt Koening, ninth season.
2013 record: 13-11 (6-4 AAC American).
Projected starters: Jimmy Leone (P/3B/OF-Sr.), Edmond Pilolli (P/SS-Sr.), Colton Crissman (P/OF-Sr.), Alec Hammond (P/1B-Sr.), Jake Dawson (OF-Sr.), Carter Rhoads (C-Sr.), Alec Buchenic (1B-Sr.).
Other contributors: Dan Brown (P/INF-Sr.), Alec Pool (OF-Sr.).
Outlook: One of the area’s best baseball programs experienced a rare mediocre season in 2013, but returns a wealth of experience in 11 seniors. Jimmy Leone was named to the all-conference team last season. Koening says the Cardinals’ traditionally strong non-conference schedule will prepare his team for a very competitive conference race and ultimate run for another district crown.
CARDINAL MOONEY Cardinals
Coach: Al Franceschelli, seventh season (131-51 overall).
2013 record: 21-8
Projected starters: Drew Beck (3B-Sr.), Gino DiVincenzo (2B-Sr.), Denver Martin (RF-Sr.), Harrison Wagner (CF-Sr.), Ryan Megyesi (LF-Sr.).
Other contributors: Christian Lowery (1B-Jr.), Jon Saadey (SS-Jr.), Joe Cunningham (P-Sr.).
Outlook: The Cardinals return most of the production from their regional finalist team. University of Dayton-bound Beck is not only one of the area’s best, but one of the top players in Ohio. Cene Park still plays home to Mooney baseball and any team’s Division II district title hopes at the venerable high school facility probably run right to the Cardinals.
Coach: Sean Price, second season (15-12).
2013 record: 15-12.
Projected starters: Kurt Koszmoul (CF/P-Sr.), Tyler Spain C/P-Sr.), Kyle Watson (SS/P-Sr.), Evan Steele (1B-Sr.).
Other contributors: Austin Cooley (2B/P-Jr.).
Outlook: Koszmoul, who batted .350 a season ago, and Spain, who hit .426, will need to be stellar. Price is worried about the team’s pitching and experience. They will be chasing Canfield and Fitch in the conference.
Coach: Scott Barber, 14th season (220-110).
2013 record: 16-9 (8-2, AAC champions).
Projected starters: Joe Piscsalko (SS-Sr.), Stever Hoover (2B-Sr.), Ryan Zindash (P/3B-Sr.) , Ethan Pawlowski (P/OF-Sr.), Cole Erdel (P/OF-Sr.), Kurtis Fusco (P-Sr.), Matt Barber (1B-Jr.), Chris Wittenmyer (C/OF-Jr.).
Other contributors: Sam Caskey (P-Jr.), Andrew Burnett OF-Jr.), Tyler Maylish (C/OF-So.), Colten Erdel (P-So.).
Outlook: Pitching depth is Jefferson’s biggest strength this season, led by four senior starters. The Falcons will also be strong up the middle with shortstop Joe Piscsalko and second baseman Stever Houser, who will also hit one and two in the batting order.
Coach: Ron DeJulio, sixth season.
2013 record: 7-15 (3-7 All-American Conference)
Projected starters: David LeMasters (P/IF-Sr.), Carmen Romano (OF-Sr.), Evan Olbrych (IF-Sr.), Jake Pishotti (OF-Sr.), Andrew Grove (OF-Jr.).
Other contributors: Chris Romano (OF-Jr.), Anthony Setner (IF-Sr.), Ethan Myers (C-Jr.).
Outlook: LeMasters, who plans to pitch at Lake Erie College next spring, will be one of the area’s dominant pitchers. He will need to be on his game every outing for the Bulldogs to keep pce with Struthers and Jefferson.
Niles Red Dragons
Coach: Mike Guarnieri, seventh season (92-64 overall).
2013 record: 21-7 (7-3, second in AAC American Division).
Projected starters: Justin Lopes (CF-Sr.), Chris Parry (SS-Sr.), James Tate (1B-Sr.).
Other contributors: Kyle Paden (P/OF-Sr.), Chance Hanshaw (P/OF-Jr.), Murphy Miller (P/IF-Jr.).
Outlook: There’s no doubt Niles has some major holes to fill since they lost eight players off last year’s team. Justin Lopes was first team All-AAC last year, and James Tate earned second team honors, so those two will have to be the catalyst for this year’s club. Watch out for first year player, and former Red Dragons quarterback, Kyle Paden, who’s hoping to contribute on the mound this season.
Coach: Rich Murray, 11th season (154-94).
2013 record: 13-12.
Projected starters: Pat Carlozzi (P/1B-Sr.), Chase Knodle (2B/OF-Sr.), Jon Shurilla (OF-Sr.), Nick Lipari (3B-Sr.), Nick Maillis (SS-Sr.), Ryan Burkert (P-Sr.), Mark Passarello (P-Jr.).
Other contributors: Matt Granger (P-Sr.), Corey Svatosky (OF-Sr.), Ricky Svetlak (C-Jr.).
Outlook: Carlozzi earned All-American Conference honors last season. Passarello showed flashes of brilliance the last two seasons and will supplement a veteran stable of arms in Carlozzi, Burkert and Granger. The Bulldogs should be in the thick of the Division II district race with the likes of Canfield, Mooney and Struthers.
Coach: Dave Clegg, 29th season, 261-227).
2013 record: 18-9 (12-2 Portage Trail Conference County Division co-champion)
Projected starters: Josh Lock (1B/P-Sr.), Shayne Meadows (3B/OF-Sr.), Eric Pitcher (1B-Sr.), Nick Sigworth (OF-Sr.).
Other contributors: Jake Lock (C/OF-Sr.), Nick Tarter (OF-Sr.).
Outlook: Josh Lock, Meadows, Pitcher and Sigworth were all named to conference honors last season. Clegg likes his upperclassmen and has circled the 2014 season as a golden year since they became high schoolers. Lock, who went 7-1 with a 0.83 earned run average and a 6-1 strikeout-walk ratio, is a standout.
Coach: Michael Donatelli, 13th season.
2013 record: 14-9 (District runner-up).
Projected starters: Brandon Kish (C-Sr.), Jon Mundrinich (P/1B-Sr.), Pat Carden (2B-Sr.), Dan Diloreto (P/SS-Sr.), Gary Muntean (P/3B-Sr.), Kolton Rudzik (P/LF-Sr.), Marcus Donnadio (P/CF-Sr.), Anthony Angelelli (P/RF-Sr.).
Other contributors: Brandon Cortez (P/IF-Jr.).
Outlook: Struthers returns eight seniors that will fill out their fielding positions and pitch on a rotation basis. They question will be whether or not this team can improve upon last year’s district runner-up finish.
WEST BRANCH WARRIORS
Coach: Shawn Alazaus, third season.
2013 record: 12-15 (8-6 Northeastern Buckeye League).
Projected starters: Jeff Vizzuso (P/OF-Sr.), Jake Evanoff (P/1B-Sr.), Jacob Clayton (P/INF-Sr.), Kip DeShields (1B/P-Jr.).
Other contributors: Chipper Tuel (3B/P-Jr.).
Outlook: Vizzuso, Evanoff and Clayton are the Warriors’ top returning pitchers on a staff that Alazaus feels will be the team’s strength. The conference crown goes through perennial state contender Canton South.
Division IIISFlbBROOKFIELD WARRIORS
Coach: Robert Trudo, sixth season.
2013 record: 15-12
Projected starters: R.J. Leon (2B/P-Sr.), Tyler Harley (OF-Sr.), David Wise (OF-Sr.), Jacob Varga (3B-Sr.).
Other contributors: Josh Byers (C-Jr.), Brandon Harley (OF-So.).
Outlook: Trudo says his team is “very inexperienced” and has “one returning full-time player.” Any team that loses a standout like Jeremy Quinlan will have to make some adjustments. The former Warrior P/SS is now taking the mound for Youngstown State. Senior R.J. Leon, a three-year starter, will need to step up for the Warriors to smooth the transition from the Quinlan era.
EAST PALESTINE BULLDOGS
Coach: Eric Barone, first season.
2013 record: 9-13.
Projected starters: Alec Dumbald (C-Sr.), Sam Yarosz (2B-So.), Justin Fristik (P-Sr.), Drew Wilson (LF-Sr.).
Other contributors: Chris Raley (RF-Sr.), Ricky Telischak (CF-Jr.).
Outlook: A new coaching staff takes the reigns of a program coming off a rare losing season.
Coach: Beau Norton, 10th season (151-92 overall).
2013 record: 15-15 (8-6). Lost to Wickliffe in district final.
Projected starters: Chase Chapman (1B-Jr.), Nate Pratt (2B-Sr.), Jared Damko (C-Sr.), Nick Kaiser (P/3B-Jr.), Nick Jurcevic (SS-Jr.), Marcus Miller (Jr.), Brad Martin (P/3B-Jr.).
Other contributors: TJ Learn (P/OF-Sr.), Logan Steiner (P/OF-Jr.), Scott Everett (OF-So.), Nate Emens (OF-So.).
Outlook: Garfield will have to replace three solid contributors, including two of their most reliable pitchers. Sophomore lefty Scott Everett is pegged as the G-Men’s third starter on the mound and will also see action in the outfield when he’s not pitching. They were two outs away from a regional tournament berth last season, and althought they’re young, focus should not be a problem with this team.
Coach: Aaron Alejars, second season (11-18).
2013 record: 11-18 (5-5 AAC National).
Projected starters: Jim Standohar (2B-Sr.), Evan Standohar (3B/SS-Sr.), Kyle Harris (SS/P-Jr.), Christian Bello (P/1B-Jr.), Zack Cochran (3B/DH-Sr.), Jordan Graziano (CF-Sr.).
Other contributors: Zane Chase (C/OF-Sr.), Ryan Leasure (P-Sr.).
Outlook: Cousins Jim and Evan Standohar will be looked to as senior leaders on a veteran team. Jim batted .362 with 23 RBI’s and 22 stolen bases a season ago and Evan was close behind at .337 with 18 stolen bases. Cochran hit .302. Their speed on the basepaths will have to make up for a lesser power hitting line-up, Alejars said.
Grand Valley Mustangs
Coach: Russ Bell, 12th season (135-131 overall).
2013 record: 17-7 (15-3, Northeastern Athletic Conference co-champions).
Projected starters: Chandler Verhas (P/1B-Sr.), Matt Larned (P/SS-So.).
Other contributors: Jack Scott (OF/DH-Sr.), Matt Moodt (3B-So.), Jeffrey Russell (2B-So.), Dan Kalman (P/OF-So.).
Outlook: With just two returning starters, the task will be a tall one for Grand Valley this season. One key will be if sophomore Matt Larned can step up and become the leader of a very inexperienced pitching staff. These Mustangs are going to have to grow up quick if they expect to compete.
Newton Falls Tigers
Coach: Rob Bauman, seventh season (83-71 overall).
2013 record: 11-4 (9-1)
Projected starters: Derek Walton (C-Sr.), Levi Reed (3B-Jr.), Larry Zarlengo (CF-Sr.), Zac Kaffer (P-Sr.), Matt Swingle (DH-Jr.).
Other contributors: Nate Harrah (1B-So.), Jason Nicholas (2B-So.), Noah Suarez (SS-So.), Jaden Walton (LF-So.), Alan Boone (RF-So.), Justin Humphrey (P-So.), Ethan Dunn (DH-So.).
Outlook: Newton Falls has a very young team, but many of their players got varsity experience last season so that shouldn’t be a problem. Their seniors are at key positions with catcher Derek Walton, center fielder Larry Zarlengo, and closer Zac Keffer.
South Range Raiders
Coach: James Hanek, 8th season
2013 record: 21-4 (14-0)
Projected starters: Dan Macinga (INF/P-Sr.), Bill Goodall (OF/P-Sr.), Zack Thorpe (INF/P-Sr.), Greg Dunham (INF/P-So.), Ryan Miller (INF-Jr.), Tyler Rothbauer (INF/P-Sr.).
Outlook: The Raiders return the bulk of their offensive production, especially in Thorpe, Macinga and Miller, who all batted at or near .400 last season. After a season that saw them reach the district final, they will need all of their offensive firepower to make up for losing their workhorses on the mound in Mason Miller and Cory Deal.
Coach: Matt Weymer, fourth season (62-23 overall).
2013 record: 21-8 (11-3). Lost in Division III state final.
Projected starters: Joey Wrask (1B-Sr.), James Hillyer (P-Sr.), Hunter Snyder (C-Jr.), Jordon Peterson (P/2B-Jr.), Brandon Chamberlain (P/3B-Jr.), Dalton Donachic (P/SS-Jr.), Ryan Kohler (CF-Jr.), Ian Grdina (LF-Jr.).
Other contributors: Nate Simboli (RF-Jr.), Mark Schuler (P-Jr.).
Outlook: Springfield returns six starters and its top three pitchers from last season’s state runner-up team. The Tigers are moving up a class this year and will compete in Division III. The competition will get tougher, but the Tigers should only be better with experience.
Coach: Sean Durkin, 17th season (289-129 overall).
2013 record: 24-3
Projected starters: Tannor Berry (CF-Sr.), Michael Montalbano (LF-Sr.), Dion Felger (P/1B-Sr.), Joel Hake (P/SS-Jr.), Nick Revak (P-Sr.), Drew Potesta (C-So.).
Other contributors: Bobby Dulay (IF-Jr.), Zach Palton (OF-Jr.).
Outlook: This year’s Ursuline team will have a different look to after losing four four-year starters. However much of their pitching staff returns and Coach Durkin expects his Irish team to be strong up the middle once again.
Coach: Name, Bill McCartney, first season (0-0).
2013 record: 13-14
Projected starters: Aaron Weibe (P/OF/IF-Sr.), Jake Felicetty (C-Jr.), Zeth Tomasiak (P/IF-Jr.), Aaron Williams (P/OF-Jr.), Ben Woods (1B/OF-Jr.).
Other contributors: Brian Burggrof (P/IF/OF-So.).
Outlook: McCartney’s first Panthers team will feature six freshman that figure to see playing time and the lone senior in jack-of-all-trades Weibe. The Panthers fell in a sectional final to rival Maplewood a year ago.
Coach: Benjamin Santiago, Jr., third season (60-49).
2013 record: 18-8, 11-3 (ITCL Tier Two second place)
Projected starters: Spiro Schialdone (SS-Sr.), Nick Micco (C-Sr.), Phillip Alfano (OF-Sr.), Vince Hynes (OF-Sr.), Tyler Rotz (2B-Sr.), Ed Herkleroad (3B-Sr.)
Other contributors: Joe Capola (OF-Sr.), Vince Rotunno (OF-Sr.).
Outlook: Micco is one of the top players in the area and an invaluable backstop for the Rockets’ pitching staff. Schialdone, Alfano and Hynes are three-year letterwinners along with Micco. One unique advantage the Rockets will have is the presence of six left-handed arms on the pitching staFF. Santiago has his eyes set on a conference title, but Western Reserve will be waiting in the wings.
Coach: Mark Truelline, 13th season.
2013 record: 18-12.
Projected starters: Justin Gardner (INF-Sr.), Josh Murcsan (INF-Sr.), Kevin Jones (INF-Sr.), Mike Palm (OF-Sr.), Sam Perz (OF/C-Jr.), Jordan Godfrey (OF/C-Jr.).
Other contributors: Nate Spitler (INF-Jr.), Derrick Rae (INF-Sr.).
Outlook: Truelline’s wants to see his team manufacture runs this season without a power hitter. He says the Rockets, who were knocked out of a district semifinal by Cuyahoga Heights last spring, scored four or fewer runs in 19 games last season.
Coach: Jared Terlecky, second season (17-7, 150-69 in 11 seasons overall).
2013 record: 17-7 (15-4)
Projected starters: Jeremy Forsythe (P/OF-Sr.), Alex Bagaglia (P/3B-Sr.), Matt Harries (P/CF-Sr.), Mike Kennedy (1B-Jr.), Cobie Pratt (C-Jr.), Bryan Leipply (P/SS-So.).
Other contributors: Tom Sharp (2B/SS-Jr.).
Outlook: Pitching and experience should be the two biggest strenghts of this year’s Mathews team. Those players who lack experience will be counted on to rise to the occasion for the Mustangs.
MCDONALD BLUE DEVILS
Coach: Matt Vukovic, second season (20-5).
2013 record: 20-5 (13-1 ITCL Tier Two, district runner-up).
Projected starters: Brian Kelzer (C-Sr.), Tommy Rebraca (1B-Sr.), Mike Soots (2B-Jr.), Mike Schuller (SS/P-Sr.), Garrett Mulrooney (RF/P-So.).
Other contributors: Ben Carkido (3B-So.), Cameron Ifft (CF-Jr.).
Outlook: Only the Division IV state runner-up Springfield Tigers kept Vukovic’s team from a district title a season ago. All but two contributors return from last year’s squad, Vukovic says. Schuller and Mulrooney, who combined for a 12-3 record, will be called upon as the pitching staff’s go-to arms and both batted over .300 last season.
MINERAL RIDGE RAMS
Coach: Andrew Barker, third season (21-27).
2013 record: 11-12 (7-7 ITCL Tier Two).
Projected starters: Greg Strohmeyer (IF/P-Sr.), Nick Ferguson (IF/P-Jr.).
Other contributors: Darren Colon (OF-Jr.), Collin Cameron (IF/P/C-Jr.).
Outlook: The Rams will need the pitching of Strohmeyer and Nick Ferguson to hold opposing offenses as they will have to make up for the graduation of Dan Ferguson, one of the area’s best hitters last season. The duo pitched 43 and 35 innings, respectively last year. Strohmeyer notched a 3.87 ERA and Ferguson a 2.40.
Western Reserve Blue Devils
Coach: Edward Anthony, fourth season (70-24 overall).
2013 record: 14-7 (9-2)
Projected starters: Nick Allison (P/3B-Sr.), Tristian Bova (SS-Sr.), Parker Clegg (DH-Sr.), Dan Zilke (OF-Sr.), Jon Timko (1B-Sr.), Evan Nesbitt (OF-Jr.), Walker Marlowe (2B-So.), Jacob Clark (3B-So.).
Other contributors: John Clegg (P/3B-Jr.), Andrew Miller (3B-Sr.).
Outlook: Western Reserve certainly doesn’t lack experience. They have 10 seniors on the roster, many of which have multiple years of experience. The Blue Devils’ pitching staff looks promising with Nick Allison, Tristian Bova and John Clegg as it’s horses. They also get a boost from Dan Rosario, who’s returning after an injury-plagued 2013 season.