2016 Team Preview: Leonardtown HS

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By Jerry Shank
Maryland Scouting Director

As we prepare for the upcoming 2016 high school season, we will be taking a glimpse at programs from around the state.

Team: Leonardtown HS
Nickname: Raiders
Class:  4A
Conference:  SMAC
Head Coach:  Chris Schoenbauer
Years as HC:  2nd
Twitter: @ltown_baseball
TeamWebsite: www.leonardtownbaseball.weebly.com
2015 Record: 12-10
2015 Conference Record: 7-6
2015 Post Season: Lost in Sectional Final

Returning Starters/Position: 7
Returning Starters/Pitcher: 4

Players with Post-Season Honors
Bowen Plagge ?? 1st Team All-SMAC, 1st Team All-County, 1st Team District 4 All-State, Honorable Mention All-Met
Dylan Caldwell ?? 2nd Team All-County
Spencer Crispell ?? 1st Team All-County
Derek Taitano ?? 2nd Team All-County
Tom Finkelston ?? 2nd Team All-County

Players to Watch
OF Bowen Plagge 2016
RHP Dylan Caldwell 2016
C Tyler Taitano 2018
C/1B Tom Finkelston 2016
LHP Nick Norris 2017
RHP Anthony Martinez 2016

Season Outlook
Leonardtown returns the majority of their starters from a team that made it to the Sectional Finals. Leading the charge is OF Bowen Plagge and his .491 BA from the 2015 season in the cleanup spot of the batting order. Other key returners on the offensive end include Dylan Caldwell (.390 BA) Tom Finkelston (.382 BA) Spencer Crispell (.386 BA), Derek Taitano (.361 BA) and Tyler Taitano (.381 BA in 31 plate appearances). One key loss from the offense is 1B/LHP Aaron Nelson and his .414 BA. Look for 2018??s UT Hunter Masters, and OF Deshawn Polk to make potential impacts on the team as sophomores. Overall the Raiders hit .359 as a team in 2015 and with the core of that group coming back bode well for the team offense in 2016.

The Raiders return staff ace from last year in Caldwell, who went 3-3 in 40 IP with a 1.75 ERA. Also looking to get more time on the mound and improve on the 2015 season is senior Anthony Martinez (24.2 IP, 1.22 ERA) and junior Nick Norris (18 IP, 0.28 ERA, 2 BB). They will need to replace the aforementioned Nelson and his 2.65 ERA as the No. 2 in the rotation. Look for 2017 Kenny Rickett to also get time on the mound for the Raiders coming up to the varsity level.

Team Defense is one are that the Raiders will need to improve on. The team fielded .906 last season, which is a respectable number, but too many errors led to unearned runs being scored against last year and hurt the team last year. With the strong core of offense and pitching returning defense could play a huge key if they can improve in that category for 2016.

Overall the 2016 season could be a big season for the Raiders. A large core of returners back with another year under their belt makes for a potential deep playoff run for Leonardtown this upcoming season.