Another year has meant another Del Val League title for Interboro, but then that’s not the barometer by which the program is measured any longer. A first-round dismissal in the District One Class AAA tournament – despite garnering a No. 2 seed – means it’s back to square one for the Bucs.
The rebuilding process will be multi-faceted for Interboro. First off, manager Tony Meccariello has told his players that he is unlikely to return next season, electing instead to spend time with his growing family. His ability to navigate the Bucs to their recent dominance in the league and his knowledge of the Southeastern Pennsylvania baseball scene will be tough to replicate.
The roster turnover will also be significant. Gone is All-Delco shortstop Bob Barnett and do-everything centerfielder Josh Dellipriscolli. They leave after strong senior campaigns and will be followed out the door by a significant chunk of the lineup. The likes of Dave Gideon, who took huge strides in his final season, Austin McCray, Mike Christaldi and Josh Kohlbrenner all graduate.
Next season’s title defense will be centered on the right arm of Sean Menold. The sophomore shouldered the burden of being the go-to guy in the rotation this season, posting a 6-2 record. Though he got tagged with the loss in the playoff defeat at the hands of Pottstown, he gained valuable experience at a very young age and capably filled a high-pressure role.
It’s a good thing that the Bucs have Menold to rely on, as the vast majority of their pitching depth graduates among the 10-contributor deep senior class. Mike Hess (4-0) and Joey Zajac (3-1) are both seniors along with Nick Rentos and McCray (one win each). It means that Menold’s six wins are the only ones of the 15 accumulated by the Bucs this year recorded by someone who’ll be on the team in 2014.
The lineup is hardly devoid of talent. Pat Cashin will grow into a more integral role next season after a solid junior campaign. Steve Philips, John Bellano and Jason Schwartz are also members of the class of 2014 who pitced in this season and will be called upon to do the offensive dirty work.
The reality for Interboro is this: Whatever the developmental carousel spins out next, it’s likely enough to accumulate sufficient wins to be postseason-bound in the Del Val; the next hurdle is a playoff win. And of all the ingredients for winning baseball, the one commodity most likely to help them them surmount that is having a staff ace like Menold.