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2013 WVC Record/Finish: 11-4, first place; Lost in district quarterfinals

State classification: 3A

Coach: Brian Pinterich

Home field: North Berwick Field, Heights Road, Berwick

Outlook: Last year’s prolific senior class will be difficult to replace in both quality and quantity. Seven of the team’s nine hitters from the 2013 postseason, including a pair of .400 hitters in T.J. Lashock and Joey Favata, have graduated. Included in that group are top pitchers Kyle Miller and Clay DeNoia. But that group learned from the success of the Bulldogs’ state championship team, and those lessons can carry on to the new group. Returning are leadoff man Anthony Melito and catcher Jorden Stout. On the mound, senior Alex Klinger won four games primarily as a reliever last year with a 1.19 ERA.


2013 WVC Record/Finish: 8-7, fourth place; Lost in district first round

State classification: 3A

Coach: Moe Rodzinak

Home field: Hilldale Park, North Main Street, Plains Twp.

Outlook: Towson recruit Dave Marriggi returns for his senior season, giving the Crusaders a top performer at the plate and on the mound. Marriggi led the team with a .388 average in league play a year ago and also struck out 33 in 32 innings. He’ll be joined by returning starters Dave Parsnik, Kyle Lupas, Eric Adamczyk and Mike Wozniak. The biggest departure would be Josh Featherman, who had been one of the league’s top pitchers the past few years. Regardless, pitching should still be a strength for Rodzinak, who feels defense could be the team’s weak point.


2013 WVC Record/Finish: 4-11, fifth place; Lost in district quarterfinals

State classification: 3A

Coach: Tony Caladie

Home field: Mountain Post Legion, Church Road, Rice Township

Outlook: The Comets have a new coach as Caladie takes over for Mark Modrovsky in Mountain Top. Crestwood played some of its best baseball in the postseason in 2013, blanking a tough Tunkhannock squad before falling just short of a berth in the semifinals. Returning senior Brian Markowski particularly impressed during that run, throwing a complete-game shutout and finishing the posteason 4-for-9 with four RBI and a home run. A large group of seniors led by Drew Munisteri is now gone, but the Comets still return starters Anthony Caladie, Ethan Markowski, Jon Wychock and Curt Yenchik.

Hazleton Area

2013 WVC Record/Finish: 9-6, third place; Lost in district quarterfinals

State classification: 4A

Coach: Gino Cara

Home field: Antinozzi Field, East 22nd Street, Hazleton

Outlook: There’s plenty to like about this Cougars team that returns its top two hitters along with a talented pitching staff. Joe Baran (Boston College) hit .475 as a sophomore and he teams with Sal Biasi (Penn State) to form an excellent heart of the order. Both players also excel on the mound, as does Tony Hernandez, who struck out 39 with a 2.14 ERA in WVC play. Other regulars back for 2014 include David Klein, Mitch O’Donnell, Chris Panzarella and Robbie John. Hazleton Area is a strong contender, but it still wouldn’t hurt to avoid Scranton in districts after being eliminated by the Knights the past four seasons.

Pittston Area

2013 WVC Record/Finish: 4-11, sixth place; Lost in district semifinals

State classification: 3A

Coach: Paul Zaffuto

Home field: Primary Center, Rock Street, Hughestown

Outlook: A rough regular season quickly faded away as the Patriots nearly parlayed a No. 12 seed into a trip to PNC Field for the district championship. Pittston Area has its top hitter and top pitcher back for 2014 to try and build off that finish. Josh Razvillas enters his fourth year in the starting lineup after leading the WVC in home runs a year ago. Lefty Michael Schwab leads a pitching staff that returns four players who started at least one game a year ago. Those three lead a 10-man senior class that will look to take the Patriots through another extended run in the postseason.

Wyoming Valley West

2013 WVC Record/Finish: 10-5, second place; Won D2-4 championship; Lost in state quarterfinals

State classification: 4A

Coach: John Milius

Home field: Spartan Stadium, North Gates Avenue, Kingston

Outlook: Entering his ninth season with the program, Milius has helped the Spartans reach the PIAA tournament four times, including last season’s trip to the state quarterfinals. Many highly productive players such as Mike Leonard, Nick Hogan and Joe Pechulis have graduated, as have starting pitchers Dan Flaherty and Chris Nixon. But Valley West is used to replacing talent and still succeeding. Jeremy Sabecky and Evan McCue were both everyday starters a year ago. Ryan Hogan made an impact as a freshman with his walk-off double in the district title game. Bill Gregory looked strong as a reliever and spot starter in 2013.



2013 WVC Record/Finish: 9-5, third place; Lost in district first round

State classification: 3A

Home field: High school, Conyngham Avenue, Dallas

Coach: Ken Kashatus

Outlook: It’s never easy to replace the league MVP, as Brian Stepniak is now pitching for the University of Hartford. But it sure helps to have another Division I recruit returning. Nigel Stearns is bound for Niagara after hitting north of .400 and striking out 32 in 22 innings as a junior. Jordan McCrumm also showed promise on the mound as a sophomore in 2013, giving the Mountaineers at least two experienced arms back. At the plate, seniors Domenic Oliveri, Bill Gately and Justin Brojakowski will once again join Stearns and McCrumm in the lineup.

Holy Redeemer

2013 WVC Record/Finish: 3-11, fifth place; Lost in district first round

State classification: 2A

Coach: Chris Ritsick

Home field: Hollenback Park, North Washington Street, Wilkes-Barre

Outlook: The Royals understandably struggled last season after losing the bulk of their 2012 district championship team. Now begins the climb back up the ladder. Helping that effort will be players like Jeremy Worlinsky, who led the team in average, RBI and extra base hits a year ago despite missing a few games. Eric Kerr and Jimmy Strickland also provide experience at the plate and on the mound. Worlinsky and Kerr handled most of the pitching a year ago and the Royals return seven players with at least one pitching appearance as they look to improve on a league-high walk total in 2013.


2013 WVC Record/Finish: 3-11, fourth place; Lost in district first round

State classification: 3A

Coach: Brian Gorski

Home field: High school, Old Route 115, Lehman Township

Outlook: Now in the second year of his second stint with the program, Gorski has four of his top five hitters back as the Black Knights look to right the ship. Lehman will miss the production of the departed Jeff Carter, but Cahil Carey (.371) should fit in well in his former spot at short. Division I-bound Scott Bean (Maryland-Eastern Shore) will again top the pitching staff after striking out 31 in 2013. In all, seven players who started in the playoffs last year are back, and that experience should help Lehman improve after making the step up in competition last year.


2013 WVC Record/Finish: 10-4, first place; Lost in district first round

State classification: 3A

Coach: Gary Custer

Home field: High school, West Tioga Street, Tunkhannock

Outlook: The last starters from the Tigers 2011 state finalist squad have graduated, and now it’s time for a new group to lead Tunkhannock. This year’s team is heavy on underclassmen with just four seniors and one junior on top of 20 total sophomores and freshmen. Seniors Sean Soltysiak and Ryan Weiss both return, as does Cody Brown, who earned his keep last season as a freshman. Gone are familiar faces Josh McClain and Jeremy Lee, as well as Ty Weiss. The Tigers must replace their entire pitching staff, as all four players who took the mound in 2013 have moved on.

Wyoming Area

2013 WVC Record/Finish: 9-5, second place Division 2; Lost in district semifinals

State classification: 3A

Coach: Dean Carey

Home field: Atlas Field, Erie Street, West Pittston

Outlook: A deep and productive senior class led the Warriors within just a few run of the district finals in 2013. In 2014, it will be a largely new group led by a new head coach in Carey, who replaces Chick Andrewscavage. Though names like Bart Chupka, Jake Granteed and Nick O’Brien — among many others — are gone, a few valuable contributors are back. Zach Lopatka hit in the three hole during that playoff run with five hits and five RBI in that stretch. Joey Gavenonis was the No. 2 pitcher a year ago behind Granteed, striking out 23 in 22 innings with a 2.82 ERA.



2013 WVC Record/Finish: 3-9, sixth place; Lost in district opener

State classification: 3A

Coach: Vito Pasone

Home field: Coal Street Park, Coal Street, Wilkes-Barre

Outlook: When Pasone took over the GAR job in 2012, he pointed to what was then his sophomore class as the future of the program. Those players are now seniors and the Grenadiers are hopeful to climb back into contention in Division 3. Nearly the entire roster is back from last year, including pitchers Kevin Evans (43 K in 41 IP) and Rich Sickler. Sean-Paul Williamson, Steven Tyson, Dawin Reyes, Zach Gonzalez, Joe O’Day and Greg Skrepenak all had regular roles last season. Joining up is speedster Rashaun Mathis, one of the school’s best all-around athletes who played quarterback in the fall.

Hanover Area

2013 WVC Record/Finish: 12-0, first place; Lost in district semifinals

State classification: 2A

Coach: Mike Zapotoski

Home field: High school, Sans Souci Parkway, Hanover Twp.

Outlook: High expectations are becoming the norm for the Hawkeyes, and 2014 will be no different. With a large and productive senior class at the helm, Hanover Area hopes this will be the year to get over the hump and reach the district title game. Mike Sulcoski and Nick Deno both hit north of .500 last year and fellow returning seniors Jack Windt and Mike Blazaskie were above .400. Add in John Wickiser, Mike Bugonowicz and junior Christian Pack, and the Hawks again look dangerous. The biggest loss to graduation is Mickey Ferrence, who struck out 50 with a sub-1.00 ERA in six WVC starts a year ago.


2013 WVC Record/Finish: 9-3, second place; Lost in district quarterfinals

State classification: 2A

Coach: Matt Skrepenak

Home field: Gibby Field, Gordon Avenue, Wilkes-Barre (Barney Farms)

Outlook: Fresh off starting for the Meyers basketball team that reached the state semifinals, senior Matt DeMarco returns to lead the Mohawks on the diamond. DeMarco hit .432 with 16 RBI for Meyers last year and was one of four pitchers to start multiple games, striking out 21 in 16 innings with a 2.19 ERA. He will be joined by Cal Lisman and Kyle McHale, who were both starters at the plate and on the mound a year ago. The Mohawks lose C.J. Szafran and pitcher Wil Amesbury among others. They’ll get their shot at division favorite Hanover Area right away in Tuesday’s Division 3 opener.

MMI Prep

2013 WVC Record/Finish: 6-6, fourth place; Lost in district semifinals

State classification: A

Coach: Emmett Thomas

Home field: MMI Athletic Complex, Cedar Street, Freeland

Outlook: The Preppers enjoyed their best season in 2013, earning six WVC wins and a trip to the district semifinals before falling to Old Forge, one of the top Class A programs in the state. All but two starters from that squad — Aaron Kollar and Casey McCoy — are back for 2014, and MMI returns most of its production at the plate. That includes starters Alec Andes, Cory Rogers and Charlie Karchner, all of whom hit above .300 a year ago. Catcher Sam Harman has led the team in RBI each of the last two years. Karchner is the most experienced returning pitcher after leading the Preppers in innings a year ago.


2013 WVC Record/Finish: 8-4, third place; Lost in district quarterfinals

State classification: 2A

Coach: Dean Myers

Home field: Ted Hiller Park, Garfield Street, Nanticoke (Honey Pot)

Outlook: Only Dallas’ Brian Stepniak threw more innings during WVC play last year than Nanticoke’s Joe Olszyk, who turned in a solid sophomore campaign. Olszyk again figures to carry the load for the Trojans on the mound after posting a 2.00 ERA over 42 innings. That will be important because the two others who started games in 2013, Sebastian Maul and Morgan Higgs, have graduated. Higgs will especially be missed at the plate after hitting .400 as a senior. Mike Malshefski, Tyler Myers, Mitch Romanowski and Kyle Rosick all return after seeing regular time in the lineup last season.


2013 WVC Record/Finish: 4-8, fifth place; Lost in district quarterfinals

State classification: 2A

Coach: Lou DiPasquale

Home field: High school, Thorne Hill Road, Shickshinny

Outlook: Last season the Rangers picked up their first district tournament win since being bumped up to the 2A ranks, making a long trip up to Dunmore for the victory. That team returns many of regulars including Eric Evans, Zac White, Nick Long, Eric Gurzynski, David Samulevich and Gray Godfrey. Gurzynski led Northwest in innings pitched and strikeouts in 2013 and is the lone starter on the mound who returns. Gone to graduation are Devon Mazonkey and Kevin Volkel. A year ago Volkel led the Rangers in several offensive categories including average, RBI and extra-base hits.

Wyoming Seminary

2013 WVC Record/Finish: 0-12, seventh place; Lost in district quarterfinals

State classification: A

Coach: Brian Kaschak

Home field: Nesbitt Stadium, Schuyler Avenue, Kingston

Outlook: After a year hiatus, the Blue Knights get to return to Nesbitt for home games this season with the renovations at the stadium now complete. Any level of comfort will be welcome as Seminary looks to put a particularly rough 2013 season out of mind. The Knights will have to replace top hitter Gavin Gagliardi and one of their starting pitchers in Zach Wise. Asa Saidman will be counted on as the lone senior with playing experience. On the mound in 2013, Saidman led the team in innings and strikeouts. Colin Toggas, Doug Thomas and Stefan Olsen also return after appearing in every WVC game last year.

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