Spring teams off to hot start despite cool weather

Varsity Baseball
By Janine Karo, Section Editor

The boys varsity baseball team has been consistent so far this season with a 2-2 record in MAPL league play.

“We play a difficult schedule,” head coach Erik Treese ’91 said. “We try to put the kids in a position where they challenge themselves.”

The team is a combination of sophomores, juniors and seniors, many of whom have never played on the varsity team before. Out of the 19 current players, only six are returners from the 2011-2012 season.

“This year we have a large number of sophomores—they’re ready and good,” Treese said. “I rarely have freshmen; I want the younger players to develop and build unity [on the JV team] so that when they’re ready they can step right in and play.”

While a team composed of newer players can sometimes be a hindrance, the players view it more positively.

“We have a great group of guys with many different areas of talent on the baseball team,” Jack Glancey ’15 said. “With a mix of sophomores, juniors and seniors, the team brings both a fresh and experienced set of players to the field every day.”

In order to encourage team cohesiveness and improve their skills, the team took their annual spring training trip to Florida during spring break.

“This is one time where we can basically focus on the team playing baseball,” Treese said. “They build some relationships and memories that carry them through the season. It’s a nice chance to get away from here and just think about baseball, which is not something they get to do anytime during the year.”

Players value the experience as much as Treese does.

“My best memory of being on the team so far this year was definitely the pre-season trip to Florida,” Glancey said. “We played on some of the best high school fields I’ve seen, and I got to know my teammates really well over those five days.”

Treese attributes the team’s success to both the coaches and the players.

“I’ve been really lucky to work with the players over the years; they’re kids who want to get better and enjoy playing, and that’s really the fun part of coaching,” Treese said. “I’ve also been very lucky in my time here to work with some really great coaches, like with Mr. Keefer, Mr. McClellan and Mr. Honsel. They often do a bulk of the coaching and are a big help.”

Ultimately the team looks forward to playing and improving.

“My favorite part about being on the team is playing baseball with a group of guys I love,” Glancey said. “I look forward to getting on the field every day to play an awesome sport with great teammates.”

Varsity Softball
By Rebecca Cibbarelli, Staff Writer

The varsity softball team reached the mid-point of the season with a 6-2 overall record, including a 4-0 MAPL record with wins against Lawrenceville, Hill, Hun and Blair.

“This year’s team is off to a great start at 4-0 in the MAPL which puts us in great position to get back to the Championship game for the third year in a row,” head coach Tim O’Reilly said. “We don’t have any stars on this team, just a group of 16 hard-working softball players who pull together for one common goal. That is what Peddie softball is all about.”

O’Reilly credits the team captains Sarah Marion ’13, Caroline Abin ’13 and Shannon Kortmann ’13 for their “outstanding job of leadership.”

Abin agrees with her coach that the team’s dynamics lead to its success.

“Everyone works together flawlessly, both on the field and off. We are all best friends, and it is very possible that we are the most bonded team on campus,” Abin said.

Kortmann also acknowledged that the team’s unity has been vital during tough games.

“Not all of the games have been easy wins,” Kortmann said. “The Hun game was a tough one, but we were able to pull through and end with a score of 3-2. It’s the unpredictable games like that which are most exciting to play and the most rewarding win.”

“The season has been really fun from the moment preseason began,” Hannah Hargrove ’13 said. “Our team works very hard, and we are a close team so everyone works well together on the field and at bat.”

While the team boasts a number of talented veterans, including Kortmann and Abin who will play softball next year at Babson College and Franklin & Marshall College, respectively, the two freshman players – Carly Hattman ’16 (pitcher) and Ally Huelbig ’16 (right field) – feel welcome and valued.

“I feel like I’ve been a part of the team a lot longer than a few weeks,” Hattman said.

“Both of our freshman…have played very pivotal roles so far this year. They are doing a great job so far,” O’Reilly said. “We play with pride, passion and purpose. We have fun, and we expect to win.”

JV Baseball
By Michael Peters, Staff Writer

The JV baseball team is off to a successful 5-2 start thanks to strong hitting, solid pitching and a “lucky plantain.”

The team isn’t only defeating opponents; it’s crushing them. The JV baseball team has outscored opponents 61-35, and out of its five wins, three of them have ended early because of the mercy (or 10-run) rule.

The Falcons have defeated MAPL rivals Blair Academy (15-0), Lawrenceville (15-4) and Hill (6-3), as well as Pennington (14-4) and Princeton Day School (8-4).

The team’s two losses were against Germantown Academy (7-0) in the first game of the season and Rancocas Valley Regional High School (13-3), the only public school the team has faced so far this season.

The JV baseball team has a variety of pitchers, including Alex Hermanson ’16 (P/3B/1B), Joe Bulger ’16 (P/SS), Zach Turner ’16 (P/3B/1B), Amir McNellie ’16 (P/OF) and Tomo Cho ’14 (P/OF, also the team’s captain). Matt Boyle ’16 is the centerfielder, Michael Ferraro ’15 plays third base and Brad Ryder ’15 is the second baseman. However, head coach Michael Agosto likes to switch players and their positions, so the starting jobs are never locked in.

“I think we have a lot of character, [and] as long as everyone gives 110 percent, we’re going to go out there and beat any team we face. This team has a little problem focusing, and baseball is 80 percent mental, so if we can just concentrate on the game, we’re going to be set for the MAPL,” Turner said.

Since its introduction after the Germantown game, the “lucky plantain” has helped the Falcons go 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the MAPL. The “lucky plantain” is simply a banana that the team ties to the dugout fence every game. If the team wins on the road, the players leave it there as a message that the Falcons were victorious. If the team wins at home, the starting pitcher eats the banana. If the team loses, they throw away the “lucky plantain” since it wasn’t lucky. The team’s use of the “lucky plantain” was inspired by Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Fernando Rodney’s use of it during the World Baseball Classic.

“The lucky plantain has yet to fail us as it has kept our bats going and the opponents’ bats quiet throughout our 3-0 start against the MAPL league teams,” Boyle said.

Agosto and assistant coach Kurt Bennett’s main goal is to develop players to make them better. Everyone on the team has played in at least one game this season.

Boys and Girls’ Track
By Brendan Carpe, Staff Writer

The boys and girls track teams, led by captains Jamie Woodard ’13, Preston DeLaurentis ’14, Conor Maley ’13 and head coach Mark Gartner ’84, hope to match last year’s performance with another successful spring term. Although both teams graduated some key runners, throwers and jumpers last spring, they have many strong returners and newcomers.

“We are a young team, and we need building and strengthening.” Kamrin Pester ’13 said. “I think that we will have as good of a season as we always do this year.”

Collectively, the track teams will only graduate eight of their 60 athletes this spring.

“I have high expectations for us…I am mainly hoping that each girl breaks a PR [personal record] by the State Championships,” Woodard said.

Gartner’s expectations are a bit less specific but no less important.

“My goals are the same as always, which is for the kids to work hard, improve and have a good time. Anything extra in terms of wins and losses would be a bonus,” Gartner said.

The Falcons displayed an impressive performance on April 17 against Hun and Blair, with both the boys and girls teams taking first place. Junior Emma Robinson ’14 broke the school record in the long jump, while Justin Phipps ’15 won the 100- and 200-meter races and DeLaurentis won both the triple jump and pole vault.

In addition to the talent on both of the teams, the atmosphere is encouraging. “The team is made up of different groups, such as the runners, the jumpers and the throwers, but these groups all support each other regardless of the different events,” Gartner said.

With many more meets coming up, including the MAPL and State competitions, the team plans to continue improving and increasing its success.

“The kids are hungry to get better.” Gartner said. “That’s something about track: when you see improvement [you] want more.”