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Springfield baseball team planning for winning season

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

SPRINGFIELD — Head coach Scott Swan said the strength of this year’s Springfield High School baseball team is its depth.

“We are two-strong at nearly every position; because of this, I may have to change the lineup more often to keep players fresh and utilize our bench,” he said. “This year’s team will be relatively young, as we only have four seniors, but we do return a lot of underclassmen with varsity experience.”

Last season, Springfield finished 13-11 overall and 5-9 in the Portage Trail Conference. The team lost in the sectionals to Marlington High School.

“Our goal is to improve our league record, continue to succeed in our nonleague games and advance in the tournament. We enjoyed our winning record last season, but are motivated to accomplish even more,” Swan said. “We have looked to improve upon last season by continuing to stress hard work and discipline, both during the offseason and preseason conditioning sessions. Our team’s record has improved in each of the past three seasons, as our players have bought into the system and see their hard work paying off during the season.”

Swan said this year’s senior class is “made up of young men with great character.”

“They each lead by example, both in the classroom and on the ball field,” he said. “Mitch Stubbs will return as our No. 2 pitcher. Last season, he won four games, struck out 33 and had a 3.56 ERA. He also plays second base. Kyle McLean has batted leadoff each of the past two seasons. He hit .338 with 26 hits and had six stolen bases, while playing middle infield last season. AJ Rodrigues is a speedy outfielder who came up with a huge at bat to win our biggest game last season over Ellet. And Aaron Mason is returning from an injury last season to join our bullpen.”

Other key players this season will be returning juniors Shane Robinson (catcher and pitcher), Michael Perkins (outfielder and pitcher) and Brendon Howiler (outfielder), and returning sophomore Ryan Vaughn (infielder and pitcher).

In addition, Swan said he is “very excited about” several newcomers on this season’s team.

“Sophomores Collin Floyd, Sean Rosen and Racco DiLauro are all new to our program. Collin is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound, left-handed pitcher and first baseman. Sean is a solid infielder, pitcher and hitter. He will help us in a variety of ways. Racco has a good glove and arm. He will also play middle infield and pitch,” the coach said. “Junior outfielder Jake Kitchen is also joining our baseball program for the first time. He is a great athlete who has played other varsity sports at Springfield.”

According to Swan, the top of Springfield’s batting order “should be pretty solid.”

“Perkins (.383 batting average), Robinson (.371) and McLean (.338) are our top returning hitters. Both Floyd and Rosen look great in the cage,” he said. “Rounding out the rest of the order will be based upon who looks best in scrimmages or gets hot at the right time.”

The coach said his pitching staff is the deepest he has had at Springfield.

“Right now, Collin Floyd, Mitch Stubbs and Shane Robinson are our top three in the rotation,” he stated. “But we have several contenders for the fourth spot in the rotation and bullpen. DiLauro and Vaughn have good control, Rosen throws a variety of pitches, and Perkins gives us another lefty. Aaron Mason, junior Todd McCarty and sophomore Collin Hefner could work relief.”

Springfield’s first scrimmage is set to take place March 25 at 4:30 p.m. at Archbishop Hoban High School.

“This will be a very good measure to see where we stand, as they are always very good,” the coach said. “Our first game is Wednesday, April 3, [at 4:15 p.m.] vs. Rootstown at JEDD Park, our home field.”

Swan is in his fifth season at Springfield.

“My assistants include Kevin Hall, Michael Canavan, Ed Rasnick and head junior varsity coach Randy Jarvis. They have all been with me from the beginning, and I appreciate their loyalty to the program. They genuinely care about our players and want to see them improve,” Swan said. “Through hard work and dedication, our program is heading in the right direction. We had more young men than ever try out for the team, which is a good sign for our future.”

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