COACHING STAFF: Steven Dawson begins his fifth season with the Potters. Brock Grafton will serve as Dawson's varsity assistant, while Blake Grafton will be a volunteer assistant.
LAST SEASON: The Potters finished last year at 6-14, a four-game drop from 2010 (10-12). "It was a year of high expectations that ended with some unfulfilled goals," Dawson said. "We thought we'd do a lot of good things, and we did win four in a row, but things kind of fizzled out."
Beaver Local senior Ryan Smith is expected to be one of the Beavers’ top pitchers this season. “It’s his third year as a starting pitcher so he’s got the experience,” Beaver Local coach Bill Sattler said. Smith, who also plays third base, should also be one of Beaver?Local’s main offensive threats. (Review file photo)
KEY LOSSES: East Liverpool will be without the services of three key graduates in Kyle Weyand, Isaac Seevers and Kody Edwards. "That group came all the way through," Dawson said. "They started since they were freshmen. It's hard to lose a group like that because they've been through it all."
PITCHING STAFF: Dawson said there will be a group of about five or six in the mix on the mound. Four seniors - Tyler Barnhouse, Nate Wilkinson, Justin Behana and George Steele - should be the main arms. Two freshman - Tyler Recktenwald and Jay Lane - are also expected to contribute. "We're going to play it be ear each game," Dawson said. "We've got guys who have stepped up that haven't pitched in a while. They've looked good, but we're going to take it one game at a time."
TOP HITTERS: Jon Weyand (2B/C) and Mikey Williams (CF) will look to provide the Potters' a spark on offense. Also, pitchers when not on the mound - Behana (C), Steele (1B), Wilkinson (SS), Recktenwald (OF) and Lane (Util) - will also be expected to produce runs. "There's no one particular person that you can say is going to hit .500 or .600," Dawson said. "But we should be solid up and down the lineup."
OUTLOOK: The Potters have seen their high school roster drop to just 13 players, but Dawson still has his sights set high. "I feel like every year we can win a state title," he said. "If I didn't believe that, I shouldn't be coaching. If you don't strive to be perfect, you're always going to fall short. The goal is to instill that mindset in the kids."
COACHING STAFF: Bill Sattler enters his fourth season with the Beavers. He will be assisted by Ed Kurylak and Kevin Fantone.
LAST SEASON: The Beavers ended with a 4-15 mark a year ago, a six-game drop from 2010 (10-16). "We were a good team, but with all the rain in the spring we got matched up against some great opponents," Sattler said. "Just because we were 4-15 doesn't mean we were a bad team, but when you go up against Canfield and Poland every other day, it's tough. We weren't as bad as our record."
KEY LOSSES: The Beavers will be without graduates Nate Sanford, Josh Lighter and Tony Savina. Sanford was the team's main pitcher last season. "He threw well," Sattler said. "It's going to be tough to make up those innings."
PITCHING STAFF: Sattler said he is expecting big things from senior Ryan Smith on the mound this year. "It's his third year as a starting pitcher so he's got the experience," Sattler said. Seniors Jared Britt, Cody Dawson and Kevin Sevey will also see plenty of mound time along with junior Zack Mick. "Pitching should be one of our strong points," Sattler said.
TOP HITTERS: Nick Miller (SS), Blake McLaughlin (C), Brandon Fetty (LF) and Matt Chamberlain (1B) are expected to be major contributors to the Beaver Local offense. Sevey (CF), Smith (3B), Britt (RF) and Dawson (2B) will also be regulars when not on the mound. "We've got a lot of guys that are good hitters," Sattler said. "You never know who is going to step up and have a good year. Ed Kurylak is our hitting instructor and he always does a great job getting the guys ready."
OUTLOOK: Sattler believes the Beavers' schedule will once again be formidable, but that isn't diminishing his optimism. "It's not so much about the wins and losses," he said. "Our opponents are quality. I'm looking to have a steady team with a good defense. Consistency is what I'm looking for. I like to have a team that is fundamentally sound and doesn't make many mental errors."
COACHING STAFF: David Thompson begins his second season with the Tigers. Thompson, a 1999 Wellsville graduate, will be assisted by Rob Long, Tom Dalrymple, John Stokes and Jeff McIntosh.
LAST SEASON: The Tigers struggled to a 1-16 record last year. "For the most part, we were learning as we went," Thompson said. "Most of them didn't even know how to catch and throw. A couple of them made progress, but not the whole team. This year, we're way ahead of where we were."
KEY LOSSES: The Tigers return all of their key contributors. "Everybody's back and we have five or six freshman who are just as good as the upperclassmen," Thompson said. "It's whoever's ready."
PITCHING STAFF: Senior Jake Reed and sophomore Jarin McInstosh are expected to be the Tigers' aces this season. Sophomores Seth Bradford and Dakota Barnes are also expected to see plenty of time on the mound. "Pitching and defense is going to have to win us some games," Thompson said.
TOP HITTERS: McIntosh (SS) and Reed (3B) will be 'top of the lineup' guys for Wellsville. Senior Mike Call (C) and freshman Nick Bayer (1B) should also provide some pop.
OUTLOOK: "I definitely want to win more games than last year," Thompson said. "I think we've got a chance to go .500. I think this is a group we can build around. These young guys can keep us winning because they've been playing ball their whole life. The kids want to practice now and they want to get better."
COACHING STAFF: Lou Nagy begins his fifth season with the Bears. He will be assisted by Mark Shenton, Perry Moitlowski, Dave Smith and T.J. Osbon.
LAST SEASON: The Bears finished 9-14 a season ago which included their first ever trip to the regional tournament. "We started making progress as the year went by," Nagy said. "We were playing good ball at the right time. We knew we were capable of it and it all started coming together at the end."
KEY LOSSES: The Bears lost to graduation the services of three four-year letterwinners in Bryan Highfield, Martin Mazezka and Ryan Ford. "Those are some big senior holes to fill," Nagy said. "They meant a lot to us. They were team leaders and will be hard to replace."
PITCHING STAFF: Senior Steve Barr, junior Tyler Steed and sophomore Bub Haddox will be the main cogs on the mound for the Bears. Seniors Jeff Hissam and Tanner Crago and sophomore Kyle Woodruff will also contribute. "If we can throw strikes, we'll be OK," Nagy said. "They've got good stuff and can all bring it hard, but they have to learn how to be control pitchers."
TOP HITTERS: Junior Trey Smith (RF/1B/C) along with Hissam (LF/SS), Barr (OF/3B), Haddox (SS) and Steed (3B) will be the main offensive threats for Oak Glen. "Hitting should be our strength," Nagy said. "We've got some power and good team speed."
OUTLOOK: "You go into every year expecting to win the state title," Nagy said. "I thought we had a legitimate shot last year and I think we're a little better this time around."