After a couple of soggy and snowy weeks, it’s time for the baseball season to start in earnest this week, Tuesday being one of the biggest days. So let’s figure out where the teams stand. It’s my early-season Super 7.
Back-to-back wins over Neumann-Goretti make the Friars the frontrunners. There aren’t many teams in the area that boast three Division I commits, and the duo of Pat Vanderslice and Frank Saviski give them a daunting pair of arms.
On paper, the Lions should be Central League frontrunners with basically the entire team back from a season ago. With the likes Billie Buckwalter, All-Delco Shane Donnelly and Cole Gamber among the returnees from a team with District One experience, they may duke it out with Conestoga for a league title.
3. Strath Haven
The Panthers seem to be slipping under most people’s radars. Not sure why, since they return seven starters. Junior Kevin Mohollen is one of the county’s best catchers, and a lineup that features Donovan Davis and David Splain is treacherous.
4. Cardinal O’Hara
Don’t sleep on the Lions, who are coming off a win over Malvern Prep. They may have one of the deeper pitching staffs in the county, with All-Catholic Mark Onimus, Nick Donovan and John Banes in the mix.
5. Haverford School
The Fords are tough to figure out in the early going. They have as deep a staff as anyone, able to roll out the likes of Matt Galetta, Connor Burke and Pat Valentine. But a 16-3 loss at the hands of Strath Haven is perplexing to say the least.
6. Marple Newtown
We’ll see if the late-season swoon a year ago has any carry-over effects. But the Tigers were one of the county’s best teams for the first half of last season and could be again this season.
The Red Raiders surprised people with a districts berth a season ago. Should they duplicate the feat this year, it wouldn’t be a shock in the least. Though they lose Kevin Connor, they have a pair of top-end rotation guys in Billy Greenfield and Adam Erkis back plus All-Delco shortstop Ellis Schaefer and up-and-comer Sean Correlli.
Also under consideration (in no particular order):
Interboro: They may be the class of the Del Val and have a very deep lineup, but it remains to be seen how that translates out of the league.
Garnet Valley: The Jags lost a lot to graduation last season, and a lot will be expected from Dalton Mayberry to carry the staff and an inexperienced lineup.
Haverford: A young team that went through growing pains a season ago, the Fords could see a payoff this year.
Archbishop Carroll: The Patriots have a maturing staff and one of the best pure sluggers in Evan Harvey to navigate a tough Catholic league.
Episcopal Academy: The Churchmen have some pieces back and could contend in the Inter-Ac.