continued If Penafeather has found defensive replacements, the situation on the offensive side remains fluid. Charbonneau and Martin hit second and fourth, respectively, and their departures represent huge holes in the batting order. Penafeather would like to slide Savacool into the leadoff spot, but acknowledged that his converted shortstop is also an ideal two hitter.
The Bees’ pitching, on the other hand, holds the potential to be a special unit. Starters Pat Merryweather, Scott Blewett and Colin Conklin all return from a full year of experience at the varsity level, as does reliever Casey McAllister. Brett Delola, John Mercurio and Mike Borek all come up from the JV team to round out the staff.
“We definitely have the best pitching in, I'd say, the state,” Levanti said.
Penafeather pointed out that his team could play everyday and send a quality starter to the mound. With 10 seniors on the roster who have played together since 11 and 12 years old, experience is the Bees’ biggest strength in the quest to better last year’s result.
“Their whole goal is to go out and take it a step further this year,” Penafeather said. “That's their mindset, which I like. They're just not happy with what happened.”
Levanti and Savacool have their eyes on matchups with perennial powers Liverpool and Fayetteville-Manlius, but Penafeather will not let his team get ahead of itself.
“This year, especially the success we had last year, everybody is going to be gunning for us,” Levanti said. “I think every game is going to be huge for us. If we don't focus on one game at a time we might find ourselves in trouble.”
Yet, an air of confidence lingers around the team. “The team’s most motivated I’ve seen it,” Savacool said. “I don’t really see anything that’s going to trip us up.”
The Bees open its local schedule April 6 at Syracuse East, weather permitting.