Baseball: Boys determined to improve on last season’s playoff results

Ending the 2016 season with a first round playoff exit, the Patriots are back and better than ever. Led by two seniors and coach JD Marchand, the Patriots have high hopes this spring.
After losing eight seniors last season, seniors Andrew Lu and Anthony Vondas lead the Patriots into their season this year. “Losing seniors is always difficult,” junior Gabe Pollack said. “But, we have a lot of young, strong players that will help this season.”
With a roster of 14, the team has a plethora of players to be on the lookout for this season. With such a young team, consistency will be key for the Patriots.
The young players are one reason to get excited for the upcoming season. Sophomore transfer Ryan Mariani is going to bring depth and talent to the team as he joins for the first year. In addition, sophomores Harrison Cance, Chris Vondas and Niko Jones were all placed on varsity this season to back up the five juniors and two seniors.
In order to make a run at playoffs, the younger members must step up and learn the consistency needed in a varsity sport. “I think we’re a really young team with a lot of good potential,” Pollack said. “We need to play in sync every game in order to have hopes with playoffs.”
Since the start of preparation for the upcoming season, players took part in conditioning leading up to the tryouts in early March. “Offseason conditioning helps tremendously,” Marchand said. “It helps with the players’ strength, confidence and mental toughness.”
The schedule could pose a threat to the Patriots and could cause problems once April hits. On Apr. 3, the team will host Quince Orchard, the team that eliminated them last postseason. The regular season will end on May 6 with a home game against Whitman.
“Coming off our record last year, we need to take it all seriously,” Marchand said. “There were teams like Einstein and Kennedy who have struggled in the past but had a lot of upsets, so we need to be on our game at all times.”
Although the season has not officially started, the Patriots have been hard at work in scrimmages.
The team pitched and hit well in their win against Rockville.
Although they pitched well in the scrimmage against Paint Branch, the team lost on a diving catch in the seventh inning. “Our defense struggled against Paint Branch,” Marchand said. “That is where the consistency needs to come in if we want to succeed this season.”
The 17-game regular season started on Mar. 21 with a home game against Magruder. Toward the middle of the fifth inning, the team was down 2-1, hoping for a comeback. Just in time, junior Jeremy Goldstein and sophomore Ryan Mariani hit back to back runs, ultimately leading their team to a victory over Magruder. The team won 3-2.
In the coming weeks, the team will go on to play Rockville, Springbrook and Northwest. The Patriots played biggest rival Churchill on Mar. 23, but the game was too late to be covered in this issue.

Katie Schreck

Features Editor

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