Newfoundland may have lost a Mercy Rule-shortened game Monday night to Waymart, but Coach John Schroeder's lads are on the road to future success. There isn't a single 15-year-old on this team's Wayne County Teener League roster, so Southern Division foes had better watch out next season...
Although his team took one on the chin Monday night in Wayne County Teener League baseball action, John Schroeder is optimistic about the future.
“We’re about as young as you can be,” Newfoundland’s coach told TWI Sports just moments after his squad suffered a 16-5 loss at the hands of Waymart. “We don’t have any 15-year-olds on our roster. But, what we do have is a solid nucleus of good, young players...so we’re definitely excited about the future.”
Thus far in the current campaign, Newfoundland’s youth and inexperience has led to a 1-11 record and a spot in the Southern Division basement.
However, even in those lopsided losses...like the one Monday against the Warriors...local fans are treated to glimpses of a bright diamond future.
“We obviously have a lot to learn, but all these kids really need is time on the field,” Coach Coach Schroeder said. “They get down on themselves at times, but that’s normal. They’re good kids and they play hard.”
On the Diamond
Two Newfoundland players who seem destined for bigger &?better things on the diamond are Kevin Heberling and Tony Tarantino.
Heberling plays first base and bats clean-up, while Tarantino patrols shortstop and hits in the lead-off spot.
Kevin provides the power in the middle of Newfoundland’s batting order.
On Monday, Heberling made the most of his first plate appearance, smoking a double to the base of the wall in leftfield. What makes Kevin’s success at the plate interesting is his unique approach:?he bats cross-handed.
Several years ago, Heberling injured his wrist while playing baseball at home. In order to protect it from further damage, a doctor suggested he try this unorthodox grip...which harkens back to the Golden Age of baseball in the late 19th century.
“I hurt my wrist when I was a kid, so I tried hitting like this,” Kevin said. “It felt pretty good, so I just stuck with it.”
Tarantino is much more orthodox in his approach to shortstop; but, his results are equally impressive.
On Monday, Tony coaxed a fifth inning walk from Waymart reliever Adam Gillis. He then stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on an error.
Defensively, Tarantino favored the Newfoundland fans with a Gold Glove performance. The talented young shortstop displayed good range, a strong arm and a nose for the ball. In fact, Tony recorded three assists in the top of the fifth...a fact that didn’t escape the notice of his mentor.
“Tony’s a phenomenal young player,”?said Coach Schroeder. “He’s only 13, but he’s already come a long way. Tony has nice soft hands, so he fields his position really well. He’s going to be a good ballplayer.”
One Up, One Down
Newfoundland came out on the short end of Monday night’s contest...but, that loss came on the heels of an impressive win over Valley View.
In that one, Coach Shroeder’s lads played through a downpour to post an 11-6 victory. Heberling led the way with a perfect day at the dish. Kevin went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Ricky Kelly drew the starting nod and earned the pitching decision. Kelly also provided some offensive punch. He crushed a 2-run double in the bottom of the fourth, walked twice and tallied a pair of runs.
Catcher Steve Mulcahy also turned in a solid performance. The young backstop contributed a single, a pair of walks and two runs scored.
“I was so happy for the kids because they deserved to win that one,”?said Coach Schroeder. “They’ve worked hard and it’s nice to see that hard work rewarded a little bit.”
Newfoundland struggled in Monday’s game with Waymart. The Warriors pounced on Kelly, chasing the home team’s starter from the contest after just two innings.
Cody Osif did the majority of the damage. Waymart’s hard-hitting lead-off man singled in the top of the first, then blasted a towering 3-run homer over the wall in right center.
Adam Gillis was also a potent offensive force. Waymart’s shortstop 3-for-3 with a triple and four runs scored.
Tyler Beck went to the hill as the Warrior starter and picked up the victory. He worked three innings before handing off the ball to Gillis, who pitched the final two frames of this Mercy Rule shortened game.
Newfoundland scored three times in the bottom of the fifth. Tarantino, Mulcahy and Heberling each tallied a run.
Score by Innings...
WAY (6-5) 2 6 0 5 3 x x - 16
NEW (1-11) 0 0 1 1 3 x x - 5