Prep Baseball Report

Season Preview: SOL Continental

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

                  Suburban one league
                                                      continental conference 

                                                                                 Teams listed in order of last year's finish

Hatboro-Horsham (22-5, 12-2)
Notable Losses: Zach Crim (Chestnut Hill), Conner Crookham (Old Dominion), Chris Hens (Gwynedd-Mercy), Casey O'Donnell (Philadelphia U), Casey Saverio (Monmouth), Kyle Scannell (Montgomery County CC), Tyler Zingle (1st-team all-SOL Continental @ 3B, Honorable Mention @ P)
Key Returnees: Grant Opalisky (2013 3B/OF), Zach Prendergast (2013 RHP/IF - Seton Hall), Ryan Kelly
(2013 RHP/1B - Saint Joseph's), Tyler Markovic (2013 RHP/1B), John Hlywiak (2013 RHP), Brad Humski (2014 IF)

While a number of key contributors from the Hatters team that was two wins away from a state title have moved on, the remaining nucleus has enough to keep them going in the always competitive SOL Continental.  Prendergast (.340 AVG, 14 RBI), Opalisky (.326 AVG, 14 R), Humski (.333 AVG), and Kelly (.263 AVG, 14 R) return to solidify the offense and the infield.  A physically imposing pitching staff headed up by 6-foot-2 Prendergast (4-0, 3.24, 48 K in 41 IP), 6-foot-3 Kelly, 6-foot-3 Markovic, and 6-foot-1 Hlywiak, gives coach Pete Moore confidence that this year's team won't lose much steam off last year's post-season run.  A number of 2014s, including RHP David Brown, catcher Eric Thomas, OF Eric Lane, and SS/OF Chris Crookham, are waiting in the wings, ready to assume bigger roles.

Central Bucks West (15-8, 9-5)
Notable Losses: Eugene Alpin (2nd-team all-SOL Continental), Nick Heller (Honorable Mention), Sam Lis (Honorable Mention), Marty Martens (Marist), Ryan Schamp (Elizabethtown)
Key Returnees: Brennan Snyder (2014 OF), Cole Malinauskas (2014 RHP)

Coach Jim Ertel looks to reload after losing a significant number of seniors to graduation, including
Martens, who was named 1st-team all-SOL Continental at both pitcher (2.23, 48 H, 75 K in 69 IP) and first base (.412, 15 R, 11 RBI).  After reaching within one game of the PIAA class AAAA state tournament, Malinauskas hopes to assume Martens' ace role on the mound while Snyder (Honorable Mention) looks to lead the young Bucks offense.

North Penn (16-6, 9-5)
Notable Losses: Chris Boroch (Misericordia), Steve Cameron (Emerson), Casey Clauss (Frederick CC), Tyler Phifer (Montgomery County CC), Anthony Pletscher (Montgomery County CC), Bobby Reddick (Northampton CC), Reed Shuttle (Rutgers)
Key Returnees: Eddie Posavec (2013 C - Binghamton), Bryce Mengel (2013 RHP/IF - Bloomsburg), Chris Kersey (2014 IF), Brady West (2013 OF), Eric Albaugh (2013 OF/RHP), Brad Bertucci (2013 IF)

Mengel (5-2, 2.74, 42 K in 38 IP) is the lone experienced returnee from a pitching staff that lost nearly 100 innings due to graduation.  While a group of fresh arms jockey for position behind the incumbent ace, coach Kevin Manero's offense should be able to keep the team afloat.  Mengel (.350 AVG) and PHSBCA class AAAA 2nd-team all-state selection Posavec (.375, 2 HR, 20 RBI) lead the way at the dish, while Kersey, West, and Albaugh bring speed and athleticism to the table for the Knights.

Central Bucks South (16-7, 8-6)
Notable Losses: Chris Coia (Radford), Dylan Glassmire (Susquehanna), Brian Happ (Chestnut Hill), Kyle Lewis (2nd-team all-SOL Continental), Will Sasser (3rd-team)
Key Returnees: Ricky Dennis (2013 RHP - Monmouth), Bobby Witteman (2013 RHP/OF), Will Foy (2013 OF), Ben Moller (2013 IF - Marist), Jon Mullin (2013 C)

Coming off a District I class AAAA championship, coach Mike Schaefer looks to reload on offense after graduating seven members of his line-up, many of whom were multi-year starters.  Mullin's leadership will be key for an inexperienced group of Titans, while Foy aims to hit over .400 for the second straight year, and the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Moller tries to translate his physical gifts into much needed production.  The 6-foot-8, 230-pound Dennis is a menace (or, at the very least, quite menacing) on the mound, with a fastball that sits 84-87 and a delivery he repeats well for someone his size.  Witteman's velocity is a tick below his teammate's, but his command allowed him to go 8-0 with a 1.64 ERA, 12 walks and 39 strikeouts in 52.1 innings pitched.

Souderton Area (11-7, 6-7)
Notable Losses: Mike Bartholomew (Honorable Mention all-SOL Continental), Cory Capaldi (George Mason), Jake Ebersole (3rd-team), Scott Giuliano (1st-team), Ryan Grzywacz (3rd-team)
Key Returnees: John Santoianni (2013 LHP/1B - Villanova), Kyle Wenger (2013 OF/LHP), Dan O'Hara (2013 RHP/IF), Stephen Hink (2013 IF/OF), Brian Gibbs (2013 LHP/1B - Swarthmore)

Even though the Indians graduated five seniors who received post-season recognition, this year's version returns five starting position players and a good chunk of the pitching staff, with lefty arms and bats appearing to be a strength.  The senior southpaw two-way trio of Santoianni, Wenger (2nd-team all-SOL Continental), and Gibbs will play a major role in their swan-song season, while Hink adds yet another left-handed stick.  O'Hara (3rd-team), along with 2014 IF Brad Stoltzfus and 2014 C/RHP Zane Moyer, brings some right-handed balance to coach Mike Childs' line-up and pitching staff.

Central Bucks East (7-11, 4-10)
Notable Losses: Ryan Clow (Kutztown), Zach Grace (Carson-Newman), Clay Sebesky (Kutztown), Tyler Zeleny (Bloomsburg), Craig Lager (Widener)
Key Returnees: Ben Hauser (2013 IF - East Stroudsburg), Vince Careghini (2013 OF), Robbie Welhaf (2013 P/OF - Elon), Pat Reilly (2014 IF), Blair Killough (2013 RHP/IF), Anthony Barrila (2013 RHP/IF)

The Patriots return the starting trio of Killough, Barrila, and Welhaf, who totaled 70% of the team's innings and all but one of the team's wins last year.  Hauser (team leading .526 SLG) and Careghini (.345 AVG, 19-20 SB) will set the tone for an offense that otherwise lacks significant varsity experience.  As luck would have it, Coach Kyle Dennis will welcome a talent infusion from outside the program, with 6-foot-4, 215-pound 2014 RHP/IF Brandon Birkhead transferring to CB East.

Pennridge (9-11, 4-10)
Notable Losses:  Brandon Souder (Honorable Mention all-SOL Continental)
Key Returnees: Mike Kacergis (2013 C - DeSales), Jake Gordon (2013 1B), Evan Myers (2013 RHP), David Tatoian (2015 RHP/Util), Danny Shane (2015 OF/LHP), Joe Unangst (2015 OF), Ben Schweitzer (2013 IF/RHP)

One year after running out an opening day line-up that contained no varsity starters from the previous season, coach Tom Nuneviller welcomes back virtually his entire starting nine.  Kacergis (.356 AVG) and Gordon (.375 AVG) provide senior stability in the middle of the order.  Tatoian (.271 AVG, 17 R), Shane (.360 AVG, 12 R), Unangst (.340 AVG) look to improve upon a freshman year that saw them receive significant playing time.  The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Myers (2.91, 57 H, 17 BB, 48 K in 55.1 IP) exhibits good command and will set the tone for the pitching staff.

Quakertown Community (6-14, 3-10)
Notable Losses: Mike Potynski (1st-team all-SOL Continental), Eric Sloss (Honorable Mention), Cody Stoneback (Millersville)
Key Returnees: Justin Hughes (2013 OF/LHP), Doug Barndt (2013 OF/C), Sage Fuhrmeister (2015 RHP/3B), Seth Chase (2013 OF)

A trio of seniors, right-handed hitters Barndt and Chase, plus left-handed hitter Hughes, will spearhead the offense for coach Steve Cherrybon this season.  The 6-foot-3, 165-pound Hughes will be the example for a group of young Panther hurlers, led by Fuhrmeister, to follow.