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With the entire pitching staff coming back from last year, and only losing three starters to graduation, the Fleetwood High School baseball team has high hopes for the 2013 season.
The Tigers are coming off a season in which they tied with Twin Valley for first place in Division 2 of the Berks League with a 9-3 record. Then went on to defeat Hamburg, Wilson and Governor Mifflin in the league playoffs to capture the team’s first league championship since 1970.
In those three games they outscored their opponents, 28-9. They come back again this year with much of that team back and a lot of expectations.
“I’m very excited about the upcoming season,” said Fleetwood Head Coach Roland Green. “We had an outstanding turnout at our preseason workouts this year, with a good mix of kids from 9th-12th grade.”
Leading the way for the returning starters will be senior Micah Storms, who is the leader of the team and has been starting since he was a freshman. When he isn’t pitching, he will be at second base. He’s coming off a season in which he hit .382, with an on base percentage of .538 with 23 RBIs.
Senior Brandon Koharcheck is the most versatile player on the team, able to play several positions, and play them well. He hit .308 last year with a .500 on base percentage and 11 stolen bases. He will be the team’s shortstop when he’s not pitching.
Another senior, Austin Stern will do the catching. He has a strong arm and can hit with power. Last year he hit .317 with a .429 on base percentage.
Justin Dantas is a senior who will be one of the team’s closers when he’s not at third base or right field.
“He’s a very solid ball player who just finds a way to get the job done,” said Coach Green.
Clay Weidemoyer is back after getting a lot of experience on the mound as a sophomore last year, including the opportunity to pitch in the county championship game. He’s also potent with the bat, hitting a lusty .436 last season with a .617 on base percentage.
Tyler Emge is the only freshman in the starting line-up. He’s the general in center field and his quickness out there makes him a big defensive asset.
Senior Ryan Steward (left field) and junior Wes Hawkins (outfield and pitcher) will also see significant playing time.
“We have tremendous experience on the mound, and I truly believe we are going to have a very solid hitting team,” said Coach Green. “But we need to do the little things to be successful.
“We need to stay healthy this year. We just want to win as many games as possible, hoping that we can make the county and district playoffs. We need to take it one game at a time, win or lose.”
The Tigers open the season at Oley Valley on March 22, then will open the Berks League season on March 27 in Hamburg.