Age is rarely an object at Delco Christian; it’s a luxury reserved for those drawing from a larger talent pool. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that many players in Jeff Wisnewski’s rotation will return next season.
The No. 4 seed in District One Class A and winners of the Bicentennial League Constitution Division, Delco Christian (12-7, 9-3) nonetheless got to the playoffs on the back of its seniors.
It was Brad Warmhold, despite getting tagged with the loss in the district opener against Church Farm, who inherited the role of staff ace. Lead-off man Eric Driscoll (and his 33 stolen bases) and Mike Kyne provided most of the pop, while it was Kyne who got the ball to start the playoff game. There’s no doubt that their contributions will be missed next season.
But the beauty of the Knights’ system is that by the time their players get to their senior season, many have three years of experience under their belts. Take Johnny Reese. A year ago, he was the first guy off the bench, drafted into their District One semi with Bristol because of an injury to Kyne where the challenge for Wisnewski was to minimize the defensive liability he presented. As a sophomore, Reese scored 25 runs and reached base at a .449 clip. The change over a year is staggering.
The first priority will be replacing pitching depth with Nos. 1 and 2 in the rotation, Kyne and Warmhold, graduating. But when the likes of freshman Josh Vanmeerbeke can come into a district game and throw a composed inning as he did in the fourth against Church Farm, the future looks bright. It’s hard not to see a Reese-like development trajectory for Vanmeerbeke moving forward (which is not to say that Reese is anywhere near done improving).
They’ll have a pair of big bats on which to anchor the lineup in hulking first baseman Garret Vanderwaal and catcher D.L. Browne (who is improbably still just a junior). The brothers Grim – Gator, a junior, and Jack, a freshman – will likely contribute more, as will sophomore Colin Daly.
The future is youthful for Delco Christian, and the growing pains may soon pay dividends.