The road to the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division title has traveled through Chagrin Falls in recent years.
Geneva hopes to redraw that map this spring.
“The boys have set their goals very high but it begins with taking one game at a time,” Geneva coach Josh Hartz said. “The short term goal is to have the best record in Ashtabula County. In addition, they have circled the showdown with Chagrin Falls, having taken some tough losses to them through previous years. Ultimately, the goal is to win the CVC and advance through the district tournament.”
The Eagles return six starters from the squad that finished 13-7 overall last spring and second to the Tigers in the CVC standings.
Leading the way is senior shortstop Nick Stoltz, a Baldwin Wallace commitment who earned first team All-CVC and first team All-Ashtabula County honors last spring.
Stoltz also will anchor the Eagles’ pitching staff and he hopes to carry over some of the momentum generated from the Geneva basketball team’s run to the Division II district championship game.
“We have a strong group of upperclassmen with plenty of experience in big games,” Stoltz said. “A group of us are just coming back from the deepest playoff run Geneva basketball has made in over 15 years. We plan to continue this run right into our baseball season. We’ve competed for conference and district championships over the past few seasons but haven’t been able to seal the deal. We plan to change that this year before we are done here in Geneva.”
Seniors Tyler Lindberg, Tyler Hartz and Kyle Stark also will see time in the starting lineup.
Lindberg, an honorable mention all-league and all-county honoree, will play second and pitch out of the bullpen, and Hartz, who will play at Lakeland Community College next year, will start in center field and fill the No. 2 spot in the pitching rotation.
“This year is a huge year for Geneva baseball,” Tyler Hartz said. “Our main goal is to go as far as we can in the tournament and hopefully win our district for the first time in a very long time. We have a lot of young talent along with some upperclassmen that could really do some damage. We also have a short term goal to make the people of Geneva take notice. We want to make our community a priority and make them proud by playing to best of our ability.”
Stark will split time with junior Daniel Wilms in right field.
Juniors Edmund Juodenas, Vincent Varckette, Terry Miller and Caleb Coleman and sophomore Austin Berkowitz round out the projected starting lineup.
Juodenas, a second team all-league and all-county honoree, will catch, Berkowitz will play first, Varckette will line up at third and Miller and Coleman will compete for time in left field.
Varckette and Berkowitz also will see a fair amount of time on the hill and Miller, Stark, sophomore Ben Scibona, freshman Wyatt Fuduric and junior Dakota Harvey will throw out of the bullpen.
“Ben Scibona and Austin Berkowitz are exciting new sophomores that have performed very well throughout the spring and could provide a lot of pop to the lineup,” Coach Hartz said. “Dylan Vincent and Tyler Anderson are both senior leaders with a lot of playing experience and they will help us in many spots throughout the year. Freshman Wyatt Fuduric is an excellent young freshman pitcher and utility infielder that could see some time with the varsity as well. Dakota Harvey will be primarily in the bullpen and brings a lot of potential to later innings of games.”
Last spring, Geneva struggled through periods of inclement weather that prevented the Eagles from generating any real momentum.
If the Eagles hope to achieve their goals this spring, they can’t allow the weather or any other outside factors to get in their way.
“The team is geared up and excited to begin to play outside,” Hartz said. “Mentally, a lot of the guys have grown and begun to accept some of the things that needed change.”