“I think we’ll be competitive,” said coach Brian Monroe. “The big thing is we’ve got three pitchers returning from last season.”
Monroe, in his second year guiding the team, knows he has some talent but also has his work cut out for him. As of Wednesday, only nine players had signed up for the team, including four freshmen. He’s hopeful to add a couple additional players to the roster.
“Two more would give us some breathing room,” said Monroe. “We’ve talked about being committed to the team. We need that.”
The three returning pitchers are senior Ethan Fox and juniors Joey Rafus and James McGovern.
Monroe knows that with a small squad he’ll have to manage his pitchers closely. “As long as we can be efficient and throw strikes, we’ll be OK. Last year 80 pitches was a push.” In Vermont high school rules, pitchers are limited to 120 pitches in any four-day period. If they throw more than 25 in a game, they must have at least a day’s rest.
Other players on the team include seniors Skyler Boyd and Troy “TJ” Felisko and freshmen Lucas Messing, Eric Bolognani, Tyson Longe, and Allen Cole.
Because of the short bench, Monroe will have to mix and match his players depending on who is on the mound. Boyd and Bolongnani will split time behind the plate. Longe, Bolognani, Messing, Cole and McGovern will share infield duties. Rafus will man first base when not on the mound, and Fox, Felisko, Boyd, or Longe will patrol the outfield.
Monroe said the position play should sort itself out through the season as the ninth graders mature and get used to playing at a varsity level.
Last season the Wildcats finished the regular season 7-9, good enough for the 10th seed in the division 3 state tournament. They lost their playoff opener at Williamstown, 9-3, in a game which they briefly held a two-run lead.
Twin Valley opens the season on the road, traveling to Arlington on Wednesday for a 4:30 pm game.