Western Wayne baseball team continues building for the future
Western Wayne's well-documented struggles on the varsity baseball diamond continued this spring.
However, under the direction of head coach Drew Boandl, the Wildcats have begun moving in a positive direction.
Although the local lads notched just two wins in Lackawanna League action, they were competitive in nearly every game.
In fact, the 'Cats entered the sixth inning either tied or ahead in eight of their 12 losses. Only youth and inexperience prevented them from converting those chances.
“We've made some real strides this year,” Coach Boandl said. “I would have to say that I'm pleased with the progress we made as a team, especially later on in the season.”
Western Wayne was eligible to compete in this year's Class AAA tourney, but school officials decided to opt out. So, Coach Boandl's sights are already set on next season.
“I'm definitely excited,” he said. “We have a really good nucleus of talented kids coming back and we have about a half-dozen eighth graders who are ready to compete for spots on the varsity.
“I think the future looks pretty bright.”
Western Wayne recently honored its graduating players with an emotional ceremony prior to its final home game.
Wildcat fans turned out in force for Senior Day, bidding Graham Dudley, Ethan Boots, Scotty Walck and Cameron Kilgallon a fond farewell.
“They're just great kids,” Coach Boandl said.
“I wish I had them for four more years. They did everything I asked and more. Graham, Ethan, Scotty and Cameron went out of their way to show the younger kids how to play the game right.”
Dudley split time this spring between the outfield and the mound. He also turned in a solid season at the plate, finishing third on the team in batting with an average just over .300.
“Graham did a great job,” Coach Boandl said. “He did well in the outfield and he kept us in games when he pitched.”
Boots took up residence at the Hot Corner this year and flashed some serious leather. Ethan also made key contributions at the plate and wound up leading the team in walks.
“We batted Ethan near the bottom of the order because he's so good at getting on-base,” Coach Boandl said. “He really did a great job turning the line-up over.”
Walck closed out a stellar athletic career at Western Wayne. Scotty re-wrote the record books as the school's star quarterback, started for the basketball team and played shortstop for the baseball squad.
He anchored the infield this year after volunteering to play centerfield last year.
“Scotty's leadership qualities are just off the charts,” Coach Boandl said. “He did a super job setting a good example for our younger players on and off the field.”
Kilgallon turned in a brilliant all-round effort as a senior this spring. Cameron finished second on the team with a .316 batting average and led all Wildcats in extra base hits (six doubles, two triples).
“Cam was definitely our best outfielder,” said Coach Boandl. “He covers a lot of ground out there. He also had a really good year at the plate. He hit consistently and for power.”
Over & Out
Western Wayne broke through this spring for its first league win since 2014.
The Wildcats had gone 0-12 and 0-13 over the last two years, but finished up with a pair of victories.
The first came on April 23, a 7-5 decision over a very good Old Forge team. The second was on May 10, solid 5-2 victory on the road at Holy Cross.
“I'm really encouraged by the improvement I saw this year,” Coach Boandl said.
“Sure, I would have loved to win a few more games, but we're definitely better. We were competitive just about every time out.”