Young Hornets look to make a run for District IV playoffs
The 2017 baseball season starts this week, and the Hornets are ready to get their season in full swing.
Head Coach: Philip Prough (6th year, 60-39-1)
2016 Season Record: 12-9
Key Returners: Dalton Prough, Johnny Rowland
Players to Watch: Dalton Prough, Brent English, Cameron Tennis
Wellsboro loses six members of the 2016 team due to graduation, and without a senior on this year’s roster, the Hornets might be in for a “rebuilding year.” But don’t tell them that.
The Hornets will be a young team in 2017 and have just 18 players out for this year’s squad. 12 of the 18 are underclassmen. However, the returners the Hornets bring back have lots of game experience that should help guide this year’s team.
Juniors Dalton Prough, Johnny Rowland, and Brent English have the most experience on the squad and will provide leadership. Prough was second on the team last year with 27 hits (42 career) and will provide most of the Hornets’ power from behind the plate.
Rowland was fifth on last year’s team with 18 hits and led the team with 13 stolen bases on 14 attempts. Rowland will also provide the arm power from the mound this year after the loss of Joe Allen and James Mundy to graduation. Rowland went 3-3 last year in 6 starts. Rowland struck out 23 batters in 42 1/3 innings of work last year, but will see much more action in the pitching rotation this season.
Caleb and Cameron Tennis will also have to step up. The Tennis Brothers saw significant playing time last year, as Cameron led the Hornets with 118 put outs and Caleb saw some action behind the plate and in the outfield defensively.
Also, some of Wellsboro’s freshmen will factor into the mix this season. Carson Davis, Billy Lechler, Silas Wagaman and others could see plenty of time in the Hornets’ line up this year. Davis, a hard-throwing lefty, could also see time on the mound while Lechler and Wagaman will help the Hornets out defensively.
Don’t count Wellsboro out of district contention because they are young.
“With the reclassification that PIAA has done we certainly have a better shot now than previously under these circumstances with a young team,” said head coach Philip Prough. “But certainly next year and beyond we would expect for several years to have some pretty decent teams coming. This year our pitching is deeper than what I would’ve thought initially, so with the new pitch count rules I don’t rule anything out and we’ll certainly compete district-wide.”
Wellsboro finished behind Athens and North Penn-Mansfield in the NTL Large School Division in 2016. Those two teams are definitely the front-runners again this year as they lost very few athletes to graduation from last season.
“I’d probably give Mansfield a slight edge in the pitching category,” Prough said of the league. “I think they’re a little deeper especially if JP Shaw pitches well, which we would expect he would. Offensively, Athens might have the edge there. It will be interesting to see how things play out, and I wouldn’t dismiss us or Troy too quickly.”
Wellsboro starts their season on Wednesday, March 29 at home against NTL Small School champion Sayre.
Idea/Concept: Ed Weaver
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Cody Getz
Writing: Ed Weaver
Anchor: Ed Weaver
Correspondent: Sam Moss
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