After finishing 9-14 last spring, Perry opens the 2018 campaign with high hopes and for good reason.
The Pirates return six starters and have more depth and cohesion throughout the lineup.
“This team has more chemistry and we are deeper at every position,” said Perry coach John Grdina. “We have much more pitching and more hitters in the lineup as well.”
Perry’s stable of pitchers is both talented and deep.
Spencer Kane returns after allowing just 3.28 runs per game with 20 strikeouts to just seven walks. Alex Koppel also posted a sub-4.00 earned run average and Donny Watters recorded 17 strikeouts last year. David Stewart, Sampson Agostine and Josh Martin also are capable arms.
“We should have 5-6 viable starting pitchers, which will turn into three with the other guys helping in relief and closing appearances,” Grdina said.
The Pirates also return several All-Chagrin Valley Conference performers.
Martin, a senior center fielder, is a four-year starter who earned first team All-CVC and Lake County All-Star honors last season. He batted .459 with a .512 on-base percentage.
“(Martin) is having a great preseason with his ability to hit, field, and pitch,” Grdina said.
Watters, a senior catcher, was an honorable mention all-league selection who also earned Lake County All-Star honors. The three-year starter batted .381 last season with a .512 on-base percentage and a .508 slugging percentage. He also can pitch and will bat cleanup in the order.
Koppel, a senior shortstop, was named second team all-league after batting .347 with a .429 on-base percentage. He’ll pitch, play short and is very consistent at the plate.
The rest of the Perry lineup includes junior Ben Patrizi at first base,Stewart at second, junior Eric Pentek at third and juniors Kyle Davanaugh and Josh Adams in left and right fields, respectively.
“I feel very confident with this group of men,” Grdina said. “They have good chemistry, enjoy being around each other and playing for each other. Of my seven years coaching, this is the tightest group of kids I’ve had and I hope that translates to also helping each other on the field as well for our success this year.”