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Sports

Green baseball coach replacing key players lost to graduation

3/28/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

GREEN — Green High School baseball team head coach Jon Wallace said his team will be counting on a number of younger players to step up this season.

Last season, the team finished with a 17-8 overall record, with the season ending on a sectional tournament loss to Lake High School. Green compiled an 11-3 mark in the Suburban League — good for second place in the league.

Wallace said he has lost a lot of production from that team due to graduation.

“We lost 10 seniors from last year. Many of them started for two or three seasons,” the coach said. “[This season], we will be very young, experience wise. We only return 11 innings of varsity experience on the mound and only return two starters in the field — both are outfielders.”

This year’s team, Wallace said, has a number of seniors, although most have limited varsity experience. The seniors are: Mazen Hasan, infielder and outfielder; Josh Galayda, catcher; Ronny Brant, outfielder; Clay Romanoski, outfielder; Michael Taylor, third baseman and pitcher; Keegan Dare, first baseman; Marc Owens, second baseman; and Josh Prichard, pitcher.

“We will look for solid leadership from our seniors,” Wallace said. “I think once we put our team on the field and gain some experience, we have the potential to be a good team.”

The juniors this season are: Brandon Papp, first baseman and pitcher; Cody Conley, pitcher and infielder; Lucas Popovich, catcher and pitcher; Austin Ahbe, outfielder; and Evan Clark, outfielder and pitcher. Wallace said the team also will be counting on a trio of underclassmen: sophomores Jeffery Goodwill and Dylan Ramey; and freshman Anthony Snyder.

“I think we have a good mix of players that have been patiently waiting for their chance to compete at the varsity level,” he said. “We have good players, but not a lot of experience.”

Wallace said the team’s lineup will be keyed by Brant, who led the team in batting average last season at .409, and Hasan, who batted .329.

However, the coach noted, Green’s season will be decided by the performance of his pitching staff.

“This will be a big challenge for us and ultimately decide our fate in 2013,” he said. “We have some decent depth, but not a lot of experience returning. Junior Cody Conley is the only pitcher returning who has any varsity experience (11 innings in 2012). The rest of the staff will be a question mark. Senior Josh Prichard (6-foot-6) has tremendous potential. We have converted a few position players — Michael Taylor and Lucas Popovich — to pitchers this off-season. We also will give the ball to sophomore Dylan Ramey and freshman Anthony Snyder.”

Green is scheduled to begin the 2013 season April 2 at 4:30 p.m., when the team will take on Highland High School, the Suburban League defending champions.

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