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Sports

Woodridge baseball team keyed by ‘hitting and experience’

3/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

PENINSULA — Woodridge High School baseball head coach Dennis Dever said his players enter the 2013 season with a strong offseason under their belts.

“We have gotten much stronger physically in the offseason and have been working hard since last October in open gyms,” he said.

Last season, the Bulldogs were sectional runners-up and had a 15-13 overall record. Woodridge finished in third place in the Portage Trail Conference County Division with a 10-4 record.

The team lost seniors John Weniger, Seth Bills and Dan Rice to graduation following the 2012 season, but Dever said this year’s squad has plenty of experience.

“Although we will only have three total seniors on the roster, we will be very experienced as we return seven starters and nine lettermen,” he said.

The seniors on this year’s team are Brad Snyder, Logan Johnson and Bryson Swain.

“Brad — a left-handed pitcher and outfielder — will be the ace of the staff and will be competing for a starting outfield spot,” the coach said. “Logan Johnson will be battling for the starting second base job, but will also play a great deal in the outfield. He will also give us a few innings as a right-handed pitcher. Bryson Swain will be a backup at many positions, getting a few at bats as the designated hitter and pinch hitting.”

According to Dever, Woodridge has a strong junior class this season.

“Tommy Morehouse returns as the starting catcher and we are expecting a huge season from him this year,” he said. “Kevin Kelleher will be our No. 2 pitcher and probably start at first base and designated hit some. Anthony Yacobucci will compete for the starting shortstop position and probably bat leadoff. Justin Whitely will probably bat second and start in centerfield.”

A key underclassman this season, Dever said, will be sophomore Tom Finegan.

“He will add a power bat to the middle of the lineup and serve as our No. 3 pitcher,” the coach said.

Dever said the team strengths will be “hitting and experience,” with numerous pitchers looking to compete for innings.

“Hitting will be a strength for our team, as we have 11 quality hitters on the team that should experience success vs. varsity pitching,” he said. “Our one, two and three starters have had excellent training camps and will provide the bulk of the innings. However, after this, it is wide open as senior Logan Johnson, junior Chase Radovic and sophomore Christian Owens will compete for innings. If everything works out, our closer will be junior Tommy Morehouse, moving sophomore Tommy Finegan behind the plate.”

Woodridge’s season is scheduled to get under way April 4 at 4:30 p.m. at Firestone High School. The Bulldogs’ first home game is slated for April 6, when the team will host Twinsburg High School for a double header at 11 a.m.

Dever is in his 14th season as coach. His varsity assistant is Rick Hardy, who also is in his 14th season.

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