The baseball team will open up its season March 22 against Sherwood. While many of the players remain from last year’s team that upset archrival Wootton in the first round of the playoffs, two notable new faces dotted the tryout field during the first week of March: new head coach Scott Blackwood and senior starting pitcher Harris Fanaroff, who is returning from an ACL tear that sidelined him for the entirety of last season.
After controversy mired the team a year ago, the transition to a new coach is a welcomed change for a Bulldog team with plenty of promise.
“I’m very excited to have a coach like coach Blackwood,” senior Bryce Shemer said. “He has played the game, coached the game and knows the game well. We are all very excited about the season.”
The addition of offseason workouts is not all that Blackwood brings to the team; he brings a more aggressive managerial approach than has been seen in past years.
“We are going to be aggressive, both at the plate and on the bases,” Blackwood said. “I truly believe you have to give everything you have every single pitch. I expect the team to play with a ‘Bulldog’ mentality, a never give up attitude.”
The other major storyline of the season for the team will be the return of Fanaroff, the Lehigh commit and potential ace.
Fanaroff will join a loaded rotation that includes Shemer, seniors Tyler Siegel and Jameson McGrane and junior Ben Kramer, all of whom have pitching experience at the varsity level. One would think the Bulldogs have too many pitchers on the roster, but as anyone in the baseball world will tell you, there is no such thing as having too many good starters.
“I think one of our strengths on this team will be pitching,” Blackwood said. “We have a lot of depth at that position.”
The potential explosiveness of the offense is nothing to scoff at either. The offense is highly experienced, led by senior outfielder Eric Skrzyniarz, and experience is always something to fear. The team has four sophomores on the roster, but is also heavy with senior leadership.
“One thing that shocked me in the beginning was after every practice or workout almost every single student athlete came up and shook myself and my coaching staff’s hand,” Blackwood said. “That shows a lot about a person. Just the amount of respect they showed us from the beginning made us respect them even more. I have so much admiration for these kids. I can’t ask for anything better.”