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This year’s Hall baseball team will be armed and dangerous.
With four returning pitchers who registered ERAs of 2.00 and under — and some new arms joining the bullpen — the Red Devils look to be loaded with pitching.
“We’re bringing a lot back and I’m hoping that we’ll have a lot more depth to be able to make a deeper run in the postseason,” said fourth-year varsity pitcher/infielder Brett Fanning, who tallied an ERA of 0.92 last spring with a team-best 74 strikeouts while hitting .346.
Joining Fanning in returning to the Red Devil rotation will be senior Danny Nolasco (1.32 ERA, 34 K in 2012) and juniors Miguel Villarreal (1.75 ERA, 37 K) and Austin Schmitt (2.00 ERA, 43 K).
Bolstering them will be junior Pete Mautino, who saw limited innings last spring as a sophomore, as well as junior newcomers Ian Trevier, Zach Urbanski and St. Bede transfer Taggart Venegas.
“We’ve got a lot of varsity experience returning on the mound,” said Hall coach Tom Keegan, whose squad finished 22-10 last year.
Blake Moreno will work with the Red Devils staff behind the plate at catcher and look to be a dual threat after hitting .377 last year with five doubles.
Hall’s flexible infield will shift with pitching assignments.
Trevor Urbanski and Matt Boucher will see time at first base, while Nolasco and Zach Urbanski will share duties at second.
Fanning, Villarreal or Nolasco (.301 BA in 2012) will patrol the left side of the infield at shortstop, while Villarreal, Nolasco and Schmitt will get looks at third base when not pitching.
Venegas, Mautino, Trevier and Boucher as well as Colten Zibert and Jake Byczinski will all platoon early in the outfield.
“We’ve got some quality outfielders. We’ve got some kids who are pretty confident that if the ball’s in the air they can track it down,” Keegan said.
Keegan will settle into more assigned roles as the season progresses and his team gets to practice and play outside after winter weather cooped up the squad all preseason.
“Well find out more when we get outside,” Keegan said. “We’re going to have to figure some things out, figure out some rotations of what we’re going to do here.”
The wealth of returning talent has given the squad high hopes for its final campaign in the Tri-County Conference before moving to the Three Rivers Athletic Conference next year.
“We really want to go out big. We definitely want to stick it to Putnam County and Marquette. They were our only losses last season in the TCC. I guess time will tell, but hopefully we can stick it to them,” Fanning said.
While the Red Devils still have to forge an identity this spring, Keegan said his squad has the possibility for a strong season.
“There’s high hopes, and on paper we have a chance to be competitive. But paper’s paper. I’m more concerned about what happens on the diamond,” Keegan said. “Are people going to buy into their roles and the more intangible-type stuff? Are they going to be able to handle that and be a cohesive group? These are things that are going to have to play out during the year. On paper we’re competitive. In real life we’ll have to wait and see.”
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.
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