Honesdale's varsity baseball team is ready to challenge for a Division Two Title
The Hornets struggled last year in Lackawanna League baseball action, managing just four wins in a rugged Division One.
This spring, the entire circuit has been re-aligned and Honesdale finds itself competing against four very familiar foes.
If Old Man Winter ever loosens his grip on NEPA, the Red & Black will battle North Pocono, Western Wayne, Delaware Valley and Wallenpaupack Area in a new-look Division Two.
"I think it's a great thing," Coach Brian Gillow said on Wednesday. "I like the fact that we'll be re-building a bunch of the old rivalries right here in our backyard."
Honesdale is scheduled to play each of those teams twice, then sprinkle in one crossover game apiece with Division One denizens West Scranton, Abington, Valley View, Prep and Scranton.
"It won't be a walk in the park, that's for sure," Coach Gillow said. "But, I think we'll be able to compete with just about anyone. We have great team chemistry this year and I can't wait to get out there and see what we can do."
Weather permitting, the Hornets are scheduled to open up their regular season slate next Thursday afternoon at Scranton.
Back in Action
Honesdale did manage to get on the field this past weekend, thanks to a road trip to New Jersey.
There, the Hornets took on Bernard and Warren Hills in a doubleheader.
The local lads dropped both ends of this twinbill by identical 9-7 scores. However, Coach Gillow was more than pleased by what he saw ... on the field and off.
"We definitely got off to a slow start, but the kids really battled back and gave themselves a chance to win," he said. "It was cold and windy, but they were having fun out there."
Adam Kelly and Gus Martin paced the Red & Black attack, combining to go 7-for-8 at the plate.
Kelly is just a freshman, but he's already won the starting shortstop job. Adam smoked a triple and homer, earning rave reviews from his mentor.
"Adam Kelly is going to be a heck of a ballplayer," said Coach Gillow. "He's only a freshman, but I really like what I'm seeing from him so far."
Martin is a sophomore who will likely see serious action at both catcher and first base. He's currently penciled in at #5 in the batting order.
"I'm looking for big things from Gus this year," Coach Gillow said. "He got off to a fast start in Jersey. I'm expecting him to keep it up and drive in some big runs."
Nick Maritato and Dale Weidner should also play major roles for Honesdale this spring.
Maritato is a 6'5" lefty who will pitch, play first base and right field. Nick worked two solid innings on the hill in Jersey and contributed a big extra base hit as well.
Weidner is another tall, lanky southpaw. The junior notched two solid frames of his own over the weekend and should figure prominently in the Hornet rotation.
Speed & Power
Several other talented players will also help Honesdale in its quest for a Lackawanna League title.
Pete Kelly returns to the Hot Corner and is already swinging a hot bat. The hard-hitting senior will also see time on the hill during the regular season.
AJ Meyer has burst onto the scene this spring and may have already laid claim to centerfield. A lightning-quick sophomore, Meyer is also in the running for the lead-off spot in Coach Gillow's batting order.
Alex Evanitsky brings even more speed to the outfield. A multi-sport star who also excels on the hardwood, Evanitsky will get the nod in left.
Pat Hart is back for his second varsity season and looks to have second base nailed down.
Another member of a talented sophomore class, Hart will be used on the mound in relief and possibly as a spot starter
Alex Sandercock and Martin are vying for the catcher's job.
North Pocono was the class of the Lackawanna League last year.
The Trojans cruised to a Division One title and then went on to capture the District Two crown as well.
If Honesdale hopes to overtake North Pocono in the newly-realigned league, the Hornets need to carry that newfound chemistry onto the diamond.
"I'm excited about the challenge," said Coach Gillow. "We're not looking too far ahead. We're going to focus on one game at a time and take care of business."