FACTORYVILLE — The success of the Lackawanna Trail boys baseball team will likely depend on the production it receives from several new starters.
“The guys who have been with the program for the last couple years need to hit the ball,” Lackawanna Trail head coach Todd Peters said. “We have a lot questions going to the season. We will need to catch the ball in the infield and we’re also very young in the outfield.
Senior Cooper Rosiak is expected to play shortstop and pitch and serving as the starting catcher last season. Senior Liam Dougherty, who was the starting shortstop last season, is also expected to contribute as a pitcher. Senior Jason Guthrie is expected to start at third base. Senior Jared Phillips, who served as the team’s primary designated hitter last season, should contribute as a first baseman or outfielder. Senior Jordan Hannon will serve as the team’s starting catcher. Senior Vic Mallory, who is new to the team, is expected to see time as a pitcher and outfielder. Junior Nick Rolka is expected to contribute as an infielder. Sophomore Tyler Baltrusaitis returns as an infielder and sophomore Thomas Huffsmith is back as an outfielder.
According to Peters, several veteran players have taken ownership of practices and have made sure the young guys are progressing.
“Leadership should be a plus for us with our seniors,” he said. “Liam and Cooper, specifically, have been making sure everyone is working hard at practice.”
The Lions must replace starting pitcher Matt Flynn and starting outfielders Jon Zedar and Brian Kearney who all graduated from last year’s team.
“There are some areas where we need to fill some holes,” Peters said. “We’re hoping to get outside soon (to practice) and get a good look at some guys to see what they can do. We will be relying a lot on our seniors. Rosiak and Dougherty will have to handle the bulk of the pitching duties and Mallory will also be expected to fill a big gap as a pitcher.”
With the departure of Flynn, Peters believes the success of the new pitchers will likely determine how the team fares on the diamond.
“We’re going to go as they go,” Peters said. “If they can throw strikes, we should be able to score enough runs, offensively, to be in games.”
Peters, in his ninth year as head coach, expects Montrose and Mountain View to provide the toughest competition within Lackawanna League Division 4 play, but feels the league should be fairly even from top to bottom.
“I think the league should be pretty solid,” Peters said. “Susquehanna has a lot of players returning, Blue Ridge has a tough pitcher and Elk Lake is always competitive.”
Lackawanna Trail finished last season with a 10-2 record and was defeated by Blue Ridge, 6-2, in the District 2 Class A semifinals.