Western Wayne was one of the Lackawanna League's hottest teams during the second half of the 2009 season. This spring, under the direction of third year skipper Jason Kromko, the Wildcats hope to build on that momentum and perhaps capture a Division III title.
Jason Kromko has spent the past two years re-building a baseball program that had fallen on hard times.
Western Wayne seemed to lose its diamond focus in the years following Joe Romanowski’s controversial departure.
In fact, the Wildcats went through three managers in just five seasons before Kromko returned to his Varden roots and took over in the dugout. This will be Jason’s third year at the helm and he has high hopes for his team in 2010.
“I’m very happy with how things are going,” Coach Kromko told TWI Sports. “I definitely think the program is moving in the right direction. This is a great group of kids and I can’t wait to see what we can do this season.”
By the Numbers
Western Wayne returns a solid nucleus of veteran players from a team that went 5-9 in 2009 Lackawanna League action.
The ‘Cats started slowly last year, but caught fire toward the end of the campaign.
Blue Ridge won the Division III title with a perfect 14-0 record. However, the ‘Cats showed flashes of brilliance with several big time wins.
Led by the likes of Billy Gillette, Briar Robinson, Austin Krompasky, Casey Hobbs and the Brooks Brothers, Western Wayne gave its fans reason for cautious optimism.
The ‘Cats were bounced in the first round of the D-2 play-offs, but laid the groundwork for a successful future.
“I think we can be very competitive this year,” said Coach Kromko. “We have good pitching, we’re solid in the field and we’ll put the ball in play offensively.”
Gillette is the ace of the ‘Cat staff. A hard-throwing senior righty, Billy has the ability to pitch a complete game every time he steps onto the mound.
This past week, Western Wayne paid a visit to the Pioneer City for an exhibition game against longtime rival Carbondale.
Gillette earned the start and pitched two solid innings. Krompasky and freshman southpaw Nate Packer also took turns on the hill. Each impressed Coach Kromko.
“I really don’t think that pitching will be a problem this year,” he said. “Billy and Austin are back and they have a ton of experience. Plus, we have a couple of younger kids like Nate who should give us some depth.”
Krompasky is also expected to anchor the infield from shortstop. Robinson returns as the team’s centerfielder and will also hit lead-off.
Hobbs appears to be set at the Hot Corner, while Parker will likely start at first base.
Kevin Karabin is back in the outfield, while Dustin & Dakota Brooks will hold down second base and catcher, respectively.
Coach Kromko sees Mountain View and Susquehanna as two teams who could challenge for the Division III title.
“The league should be really balanced this year,” he said. “I don’t think anybody’s going to run away with it. If we stay healthy and hit the ball consistently, we have a shot at getting pretty far.”