Baseball – 2014 Preview: Keyport
Keyport Red Raiders
Head Coach: Kyle Keelen, third season
Record Last Year: 9-12 (7-7, fourth in B Central)
|Returning Starters||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Jonathan Trigg||Sr.||C/P||.397/.492/.408, 1 2B, 1 3B, 6 R, 10 RBI|
|Returning Players||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Ryan Leary||Sr.||2B||0-for-1, 5 R|
Key Losses: Corey Romanetz (SS), Greg Armstrong (C), Nick Smutz (3B/P), Connor Thomson (1B/P), Nick Gunsauls (2B), Johnny Olsen (OF), Ryan Burke (OF), Joe Prevost (P/CF)
Key Newcomers: Anthony Fernandez (Jr., OF/P), Steven Chandler (So., OF/P), Kyle Mitchell (So., UTIL), Christian Smith (Fr., SS)
Of all the teams in Class B Central, the Red Raiders must replace the most starting talent, which, while difficult, is as much of an opportunity as it is a challenge. Coach Kyle Keelen is now in his third season at the helm, and he will have a chance to start taking looks at some of the players who have entered the program on his watch. Among those players who will be seeing the field as starters for the first time are junior Anthony Fernandez, sophomore Steven Chandler, sophomore Kyle Mitchell and freshman shortstop Christian Smith.
Despite the infusion of young talent, Keyport still has three seniors with varsity experience on which to lean, led by catcher and top returning pitcher Jonathan Trigg. Keyport lost sophomore Joe Ruth to Mater Dei Prep, which leaves the Red Raiders vulnerable at catcher with Trigg on the mound, so it will be imperative to find other pitching options who could potentially keep Trigg behind the plate as much as possible. Regardless of which side of the battery he plays on, Trigg is, without question, Keyport’s most reliable offensive threat after hitting .397 with a .492 on-base percentage and 10 RBI.
Seniors Ryan Leary, Eric Chandler, Jeremy Colon and Rob Trigg will all move into the lineup after combining for eight official at-bats last year. Leary (second base), Chandler (first base) and Colon (third base) will fill in the other three infield spots with Smith, while Trigg will man the outfield with some combination of Fernandez, Steven Chandler and Kyle Mitchell. The Red Raiders will open with Mater Dei, Point Beach and Keansburg, but then get Ranney, Henry Hudson and Asbury Park, which will provide a chance to build some confidence if the first three games don’t go their way. That third game of the season against Keansburg could be a chance to make a statement, but in the end, the Red Raiders would like to see what they have in this new crop of varsity players and see if they can get something going by the time the Central Jersey Group I tournament starts.