Younger players will look to step up for baseball team
Last season, the Emmaus baseball team finished 12-9 overall and 8-6 in the Lehigh Valley Conference. Those numbers were pretty good, considering that they featured a lot of younger players, who are now moving into even more important roles with the team.
Gone from the roster are five seniors who graduated. This year's team features four seniors - Zach Fotta, Kristyan Koenig, Luke Miller and Luini Ortiz - who could all play important roles with the team.
Last year, Miller was the player who generated the most excitement and the same will likely be true this season. Miller lost just three games last season, but pitched well enough in each game to have walked away with a win, had he gotten more offensive support. A perfect example was the game Miller lost in the District 11 quarterfinals when Emmaus dropped a 2-1 decision to Nazareth and was eliminated from the tournament.
Joining Miller on the pitching staff is lefty Connor Healy. Healy provided help on the mound and also some offense at the plate, which was much needed for a team that relied on pitching and fundamentals to win games last season.
Notably absent from the staff is Vinny Romano, who also served as the team's leadoff man and played center field when he wasn't on the mound. Romano transferred to Central Catholic last November, which will add another dimension to the rivalry between the two schools. Last season, Central Catholic beat Emmaus 1-0 late in the season to help push the Vikings to the West Division Championship in the LVC. In each of the previous two seasons, the outcome was the opposite, with the Hornets picking up the key late season win.
Coach John Schreiner admitted at the end of last season that because his team was so young, it was tough to gauge coming in just how good they might be.
"A 12-win season isn't bad, but we lost five or six games in the last inning and Miller wound up with three losses, but the way he pitched, he could have gone undefeated. The thing is that we're young and we've got a lot of young players that got a lot of experience this season and they'll be even better down the road," said Schreiner after the season-ending loss to Nazareth.
To go along with the four seniors, Emmaus will have 11 juniors and one sophomore on the roster going into this season.
With their lone scrimmage cancelled by impending bad weather on Monday, the Hornets are scheduled to begin the regular season Friday with a game at Germantown High School. They'll return home on Monday to host Wilson before opening Lehigh Valley Conference play March 28 at Allen.