The Swanton baseball team has some big holes to fill this spring but the return of several letter winners should make that job easier.
Among the graduates are outfielder Matt Kusz and catcher Clayton Ringle. Kusz was first team All-NWOAL last season and Ringle had previously been first team all-league but an injury caused him to miss some games last season.
Also gone are pitcher Zach Turk, who was honorable mention all-league in 2015 and Liam Bloom, who was honorable mention all-league in 2014 and is playing at Lourdes University.
“We have a very talented and athletic group of underclassmen looking to step up and fill the void left by last year’s graduating seniors,” said third-year head coach Tim McCarthy. “The underclassmen, along with a handful of seniors, are working extremely hard and competing every day.”
Eight letter winners are back for the Bulldogs, including four seniors. Senior pitcher and infielder Jordon Nyler, a three-year letter winner, leads the way after being named second-team all-league last season.
Gunnar Oakes, a two-year letter winner, returns in the outfield and on the mound after being named honorable mention all-league last season.
Other returnees are senior Dean Sego (DH/Utility), senior Bryce McComb (OF/P), senior Hunter Schad (IF), junior Noah Johnston (P/IF), junior Jonny Shanks (Utility), and sophomore Marek Spiess (IF/C).
A trio of athletic freshman also look to make an impact for the Bulldogs this spring. They are Michael Lawniczak (C/P/IF), Roman Epley (IF/P), and Brennan Spiess (OF).
“Our inexperience is a bit of a concern but the talent is there,” said McCarthy, who has compiled a 31-19 record at Swanton. “Overall consistency (both offensively and defensively) and mental toughness will determine our success.”
McCarthy feels he will have a very athletic team. “Team speed, pitching depth and small ball are a few other strengths,” he said.
Swanton will look to improve on last season’s 17-9 overall record and 4-4 mark in the league.
“I believe the hard work and continued improvement will lead to a successful season,” said McCarthy. “These kids are hungry to take the program to the next level.”
Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010