Winter Warm-up – Harbor Creek

   March 22, 2013 1:36 am    0

 

Harbor Creek Huskies
Baseball
Coach (season, record): Tim McQueeney (21st season, 268-147-1)
2012 overall record: 15-6
2012 region record (place): 7-3 (third)
2012 playoff results: Lost to Grove City 1-0 in the District 10 Class AAA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Chris Merritt, Elliot Mowris, Justin Palmer
Top returning players: Billy Adams, Nick Barclay, Anthony Concilla, Todd Goss, John King, Cody Stinson, Jon Ward, Joe Zoltowski, Patrick Brennan, Mitchell Fife, Andrew Heitzenrater, Isaac Mattson, Ryan Kaschalk, Sean Rutkosky
Assistant coaches: Mike Brennan, Dave Sheridan, Bryan Fife, Kurt Richter
Outlook: Harbor Creek has been building up in recent years and lost a heartbreaker to Grove City in the District 10 Class AAA playoffs last spring. The Huskies had only three seniors on the roster last year in Chris Merritt, Elliot Mowris and Justin Palmer. Although Harbor Creek will miss those three, it has a loaded veteran team back this spring. Junior Andrew Heitzenrater was voted to the all-region second team at designated hitter as a sophomore. He hit .351 on the season and .438 against region opponents and may see some playing time in the outfield. Standout pitcher Isaac Mattson, a junior, had a breakout season in 2012 but will be a little delayed this year after suffering an injury in basketball season. He is due back near the beginning of April. Mattson was named to the all-state second team at pitcher, the all-region first team at pitcher and the region pitcher of the year. He finished 6-2 with a 0.69 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings and has the ability to also contribute in the lineup at third base, outfield and designated hitter. The strong junior class at Harbor Creek continues with college recruit Patrick Brennan. The catcher, who could also play some third base, is being recruited by Navy and drove in 13 runs last year. Mitchell Fife, another junior, is a returning starter at first base. Along with a talented junior class, the Huskies could be led by an experienced senior group. Billy Adams is a three-year starter at shortstop and 2-1 on the mound, while Nick Barclay will rotate with Brennan behind the plate and at third base. Barclay also has the agility and arm strength to play some outfield and is a crucial bat in the lineup after hitting .296 overall and .305 in region play. He will play for Allegheny next season. Anthony Concilla returns to centerfield and Todd Goss is a returning rightfielder and pitcher. He went 2-0 on the mound last year, including a no-hitter against Central Tech. John King is a utility player that could play first, third or take the mound. He was an all-region selection as a designated hitter in 2011. Cody Stinson and Jon Ward are returning pitchers and utility players, while secondbaseman Joe Zoltowski led Harbor Creek with a .395 batting average, a .581 on-base percentage and tied the team lead with 13 RBIs. With an experienced team back, the Huskies could also receive contributions from sophomores Ryan Kaschalk (outfield) and Sean Rutkosky (pitcher/infield). Rutkosky was 2-1 with a 1.62 ERA on the varsity team as a freshman.

Harbor Creek has a contending team back and can still build its depth with several new players. Junior Jeff Carr is coming out for the team after moving into the school district. He played for Strong Vincent as a freshman and could compete for time in the infield. Junior Ben Luniewski and sophomore Matt Bruno could move up to varsity this year to help out, while Harbor Creek has a loaded freshman class that might make a push for varsity roster spots. The Huskies will have some big expectations this year after finishing third in the region last season and almost knocking off powerhouse Grove City in the playoffs. Harbor Creek’s experience and depth will add to the expectations but the Huskies have the talent to live up to them. Longtime coach Tim McQueeney will look for Harbor Creek to improve on its hitting and baserunning throughout the season. The Huskies have a loaded region schedule with traditional contenders Corry, Warren and General McLane, while Girard could be a surprise team. Harbor Creek also has Cathedral Prep, Central Tech and Slippery Rock on the schedule. With the snow continuing to fall, the Huskies’ March games could get postponed leaving a three-game road trip as a possibility to open their season.

Schedule
March
27 Slippery Rock 4
28 Fredonia (N.Y.) 4
April
1 at Oil City noon
5 at Union City 4
8 at Seneca 4
10 Girard* 4
12 General McLane* 4
15 Cathedral Prep 4
17 at Fort LeBoeuf* 4
19 Warren* 4
22 Cambridge Springs 4
24 at Corry* 4
26 at Girard* 4
29 at Central Tech 6:30
May
1 at General McLane* 4
3 at Iroquois 4
6 Fort LeBoeuf* 4
8 at Warren* 4
13 Corry* 4
16 North East 4
*Region 7 games

Softball
Coach (season, record): Joe Sholtis (38th season, 616-185)
2012 overall record: 14-7
2012 region record (place): 11-5 (third)
2012 playoff results: Defeated Corry 12-2 in the District 10 Class AAA quarterfinals before losing to Fort LeBoeuf 10-1 in the semifinals.
Top players lost: Nikki Rzodkiewicz, Heather Reichenback, Alyssa Faipler
Top returning players: Kaitlin Pasierb, Kalie Rzodkiewicz, Dana Faipler, Kirsten Reilly, Holly Miller, Olivia Purpura
Assistant coaches: Dan Budziszewski, Danielle Chase
Outlook: Harbor Creek will face new challenges this season but longtime coach Joe Sholtis has seen it all before in his 38 years. The Huskies have moved back down to Class AA and will rejoin the Erie County-heavy Region 4. Harbor Creek has turned into a perennial contender in softball and will need to replace a lot of offense to keep its momentum going. The Huskies graduated Nikki Rzodkiewicz, Heather Reichenback and Alyssa Faipler in the spring. Rzodkiewicz, a catcher, hit .483 on 28 hits and 19 RBIs to be voted to the all-region first team. Reichenback hit .413 and was voted to the all-region first team in the outfield, while Faipler played some outfield and pitched as well. Sholtis mentioned that Rzodkiewicz and Reichenback were two of the most productive offensive players in Harbor Creek history and replacing that production will not be easy. The Huskies have a strong group back but they will only have 18 players on the roster. Kaitlin Pasierb, a senior thirdbaseman, is back after hitting .418 last year with 36 runs scored on 33 hits. She had six doubles, two triples, two home runs and 16 RBIs to be voted to the all-region first team. Kalie Rzodkiewicz emerged as a strong pitcher last year and was voted to the all-region second team. She hit .305 with 18 hits and went 13-7 on the mound with a 3.68 ERA. Dan Faipler rounds out the top returning seniors after hitting .200 as an outfielder last year. Pasierb, Faipler and Kalie Rzodkiewicz will be important in leading a young Huskies team. Junior infielders Kirsten Reilly and Holly Miller are back this season. Reilly drove in 25 runs on 26 hits to finish with a .361 average and Miller hit .224. Sophomore designated hitter Olivia Purpura hit .254 last year and drove in 14 runs. The Huskies could receive a boost from new players Katie Dietz, Carrie DeDionisio, Dani Dougan, Haley Ellrich and Anna Brinling. Dietz could step in and replace Nikki Rzodkiewicz behind the plate, while DeDionsisio, Dougan, Ellrich and Brinling could see some outfield and some infield depending on what Harbor Creek needs. keep an eye on sophomore Abby Sallot, another catcher and shortstop to also compete for playing time. The Huskies have solid pitching and a strong defense but replacing the lost offense will be key. Harbor Creek is in a loaded region and might need to win a lot of close games to be in the mix for a playoff spot.

Schedule
April
2 at General McLane* 4
4 at Girard* 4
5 at Union City 4
8 at Corry 4
9 Villa Maria* 4
11 Fairview* 4
16 North East* 4
18 at Northwestern* 4
19 Titusville 4
23 Seneca* 4
25 General McLane* 4
26 Iroquois 4
30 Girard* 4
May
2 at Villa Maria* 4
7 at Fairview* 4
9 at North East* 4
10 Fort LeBoeuf (at Mercyhurst NE) 4
13 Mercyhurst Prep 4
14 Northwestern* 4
16 at Seneca* 4
*Region 4 games

–Tom Reisenweber

 

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