Baseball: Preview – New faces, D1 commits highlight Delco rosters

We’re a little late on the baseball previews, but then, the baseball season’s a little late, too, so we’ll call it even. Earlier, we looked at the Central League, complete with the print preview of Penncrest. Here’s the roundup of the other schools in Delco. (N.B. if you don’t see a team listed here, it’s because their preseason info wasn’t submitted. I’ll update it if that info comes in in a timely manner.)

The strength for Haverford School this season, on paper, is likely its lineup. All-Delco and La Salle commit Kevin McGowan anchors a strong lineup with lots of returnees from last season, including Tommy Toal, Frank Cresta, Ryan Fuscaldo, Nick Greco and catcher James McConnon.

If there’s a question for the Fords, it’s in the rotation and who will step up to develop into the go-to starters. Mike Warnick, Ben Tracy, Tyler Dunbar and Greco are all early contenders.

Bonner-Prendergast and Cardinal O’Hara are both likely to be in the running for the reconfigured, one-division Catholic League this season.

The Friars return a potential staff ace in Nick Bralczyk who’ll be backed by Christian DiGalbo and Interboro transfer Shaun Douglas. The lineup is mostly intact from last season, led by Rider commit Richie Tecco. Steve Furman returns for another year behind the plate and could be on the brink of a breakout year.

Other returnees include Danny Goggin, Nick Lazer, Paul Curran, Alex Brady, Collin DiGalbo and Anthony Martinelli.

Cardinal O’Hara bids farewell to six (!) members of the class of 2014 who are playing baseball elsewhere, including All-Delcos John Banes and Will Latcham. Despite that turnover, three All-Catholic honorees – left-handed ace Chris Fusaro, three-year contributor Colin McGuire and first baseman Chris Salvey – return.

Bolstering the lineup will be Nick Newman, Seamus McCaffrey and Bobby Lukazewski. Kevin Sessa is one of the newcomers who’ll contribute on the pitching staff, while Isaiah Hammond brings some disruptive, top-of-the-lineup speed.

Interboro is still smarting from being dethroned as the Del Val champs by Chichester last year. They have the type of talent to rectify that this season.

Jason Lincoln returns to anchor the staff, along with John Polillo and Sean Menold, the Neumann signee who was limited by arm troubles last season to just playing the field.

In the field, Billy Kelter and Jeff Finley will join Menold on the infield, while the outfield of Brady DiGiacomo, CJ Cardell and Noah Brisach provides plenty of pop.

Chichester will look to defend its title behind staff ace Eric Baiocco.

Sun Valley has a new skipper in Neil Herman, who takes over after the departure of long-tenured manager Kraig Kaufhold. Herman’s first season will be built largely around La Salle signee CJ Pruitt, who enters his fourth year as a contributor for the Vanguards.

His classmates CJ Burton, Cody Herestofa and Tyler Hastings will help take some of the pressure off. Comprising the spine of the team is shortstop Christian Bateman, who saw significant time as a freshman, and center fielder Jeremy Russo.

Delco Christian is tasked with replacing key contributors, but they have some pieces in place to do that. Danny Browne will help lead the pitching staff, while Josh VanMeerbeke, Kyle Winters, Brian Goebel and Johnny Reese are all likely to figure prominently in coach Jeff Wisnewski’s plans. Dylan Campbell is a newcomer to watch.

Speaking of departures, the Christian Academy loses most of the core that led it to two straight Tri-State Christian Conference finals. That puts a hefty load on the shoulders of Joseph Opdenaker, Jake Sitkowski and Brit Haseltine, the latter of whom is the only pitcher with significant varsity experience and who is coming off a pair of collarbone injuries that prematurely ended his soccer season in the fall and abbreviated his basketball campaign this winter.

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