Baseball – 2014 Preview: Lacey
Head Coach: Corey Hamman, second season
Record Last Year: 3-16 (1-13, eighth in A South)
|Returning Starters||Yr.||Position||2013 Batting Stats||2013 Pitching Stats|
|Connor Rooney||Sr.||SS/P||.322, .403 OBP|
|Brett Kinsey||Jr.||P/OF||22 IP, 1.32 ERA|
Key Losses: Donovan Waller (P/OF), Sean McGovern (C), James Angellella (P/OF), Austin Peck (1B), Andrew Capatasto (INF), Ken Ferrante (OF)
Key Newcomers: Conor Davies (Jr., INF), Justin Roth (Sr., P), Paul Lynch (Sr., C), Lucas Bivona (So., C), Robert Biele (So., OF), Rich Hurley (Jr., OF/P), George Peddie (Jr., P/1B)
It’s hard to envision a worse start to the season than the one Lacey had last year, when the Lions opened the season with 12 straight losses en route to a 3-16 season overall. What made it all the more agonizing was that 10 of those losses were by margins of four runs or less and three of them were one-run defeats. While Lacey did not quite have the talent to hang around in a loaded Class A South division, the scores suggest that the Lions are not far off, despite what the win-loss record suggests.
Even throughout its struggles, Lacey got solid pitching from Donovan Waller and Connor Rooney, the latter of whom returns this season as the team’s top arm. Rooney, who will play at the University of Tampa next season as a two-way player, also hit .322 with a .403 on-base percentage while anchoring the Lions lineup. Lacey also returns four-year starting center fielder Eric Reitmeyer, as well as pitchers Brandon Olowiany and Brett Kinsey. Kinsey was particularly impressive last year, registering a 1.32 ERA in 22 innings.
Lacey has a very large gap to close between itself and the top of the division, but the Lions began to close it last year by battling with the giants of the division. If they can turn a few more of those close games into wins by riding Rooney and the pitching staff, then that would be a big step in the right direction for second-year coach Corey Hamman.