by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
The varsity Devils are young. Without a senior on the team, baseball coaches Welby Saunders and Scotty George start three juniors, five sophomores and a freshman.
“We only have two returning starters and only four with much varsity experience,” said Saunders. “So it’s definitely a rebuilding year.”
“What we’re hoping to do is improve every week and build some confidence so we’ll be competitive by midseason,” when the Devils start to face conference teams.
Saunders and George, along with assistant William Saunders, will look to junior Danny Hinson and sophomore Matthew Kleinfelter for leadership. Hinson is a returning starter at second base and Kleinfelter returns to start for the Devils on the mound. Hinson is also a pitcher.
“Danny and Matthew have shown they are capable of handling the [leadership] task,” said Saunders. “They’ve shown in practice, they’re up to that challenge.”
Kleinfelter, an all-conference third baseman and second-team pitcher as a freshman, has already verbally committed to play baseball at James Madison University. He was JMU’s first recruit for the 2019 high school graduating class and the youngest athlete at LHS to verbally commit to a Division 1 school.
“Players will certainly be excited to hit against Matthew,” said Saunders. “We know that going in.”
Starting around Kleinfelter will be several varsity newcomers, including junior Jayson Gill at first and sophomore Spencer Crittenden at third. Freshman Adam Wilmore will start behind the plate. Junior returner Brandon Rosalia will start at short.
“With Brandon at short and Spencer at third, we have two very talented kids with quick hands,” said Saunders. “I’m excited to see how they’ll mature in those spots.”
“We start an all-sophomore outfield and there will be some growing pains that go along with that,” he added. “But they’re a group that work hard.”
Starting in the field will be sophomores Hunter Koonce, Jacob Taft and Tahlik Redmond. Koonce, along with senior outfielder Brandon Hill, played varsity last year.
Crittenden and Koonce also will see time on the mound.
Joining Lancaster’s baseball program for the first time will be outfielders, junior Taye Middleton and senior Donovan Gregory.
The Red Devils have their first home game of the season on March 28 against West Point at Dream Fields in Kilmarnock.
VARSITY BASEBALL SCHEDULE
- March 17 at Middlesex
- March 28 West Point
- March 30-April 1 Dream Fields Invitational
- April 3 at West Point
- April 7 at Rappahannock
- April 13 at Nandua
- April 14 at Arcadia
- April 18 at Essex
- April 19 Colonial Beach
- April 21 Mathews
- April 25 at Washington & Lee
- April 28 at Northumberland
- May 2 Rappahannock
- May 4 Essex
- May 9 at Colonial Beach
- May 12 Middlesex
- May 16 Northumberland