By Matt Nestor
Last season, the Hononegah Indians and Boylan Titans fought tooth and nail for the NIC-10 baseball championship, as well as their regional championship.
Despite losses from both sides, both teams are primed to repeat these runs.
Hononegah lost arguably the best player in the conference and one of the best players in the state in pitcher Ryan Scarpetta.
But outside of Scarpetta, the Indians relied on a lot of juniors last season on their way to a 17-1 conference record, with that one loss being their only conference defeat in two seasons.
Back is senior pitcher and infielder Jake Lanning. Often overshadowed by Scarpetta, Lanning actually had an 11-1 record with a 1.74 earned run average.
If that weren’t enough, Lanning is also one of the top offensive players in the conference, hitting over .500 last season. He will lead a balanced, senior lineup that also features Grant Atkins, Tanner Rehnberg, Max Frost and Corey Mayo.
Boylan hopes to keep pace with the Indians, and will look to do so behind their offense.
The Titans return two all-conference players in R.J. Roberts and Philip Toldo. They will be bolstered by senior Mark Garton and a talented junior Joe Kubera.
On the surface, the Guilford Vikings could be looked at to fall off after losing all-everything player Cyrus Wimberly from last season. But seniors Sean Ritter and Alex Trautmann lead a balanced, experienced team that is a dark-horse favorite to win the league title.
Harlem will look to be in contention for the title as well, but could struggle after replacing much of their lineup and pitchers from last year.
First baseman Jason Dahle will be looked upon to carry much of the offensive load, while juniors Parker Anderson and Drake Robison will be looked upon to pick up the pitching slack.
From the April 6-12, 2011 issue