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Never has a team been so grateful to lose a heartbreaking game to end a tournament run as Howell was during the Last Dance World Series in July. After having the 2020 high school season wiped out, being eliminated on the field was a much better alternative to being told there would be no baseball played to begin with.

By getting out on the field, advancing to the knockout round of 32 and performing well, the Rebels gained a lot of confidence while throwing some extra logs on their proverbial fire to push them through the offseason.

Howell senior Vin Impresa. (Photo by Rich O'Donnell)

If Howell has a big season, it will be behind a quality pitching staff. Vin Impresa and Chris Ellison were sharp during the summer, with Ellison also pitching like a future high-school ace when he was a sophomore in 2019. Ellison has battled a sore arm in the spring, but he is projecting to be ready for the early part of the season. In the meantime, Impresa is ready to become one of the Shore’s best pitchers and junior Dan Furlong gives the Rebels a third arm who can handled a good lineup. Left-hander Nick Gomes is another hurler who pitched well in July, but an injury is currently delaying his start to 2021, according to coach Eric Johnson.

Ellison, Impresa and centerfielder Antonio Gatti are the standout returnees in the batting order, while shortstop Kristian Saucedo showed during the summer he is ready for a starting role. Jeremy Wojenski and Nick Todisco are in the mix to fill the open spot at catcher and Ryan Nehnken, Thomas Strauch, Russell Halvorsen, Alex Jenkins and Jake Holzapfel will look to add some length to what could be another in a long line of dangerous Howell lineups throughout the years.

Howell senior Chris Ellison. (Photo by Rich O'Donnell)

Howell at a Glance

Head Coach: Eric Johnson, 11th season
Key Losses: Tommy Talbot (OF), Chris Acampora (C), Jack Bearse (1B/3B), Jake Lenardo (LHP), Andrew Furlong (OF/RHP), Brandon Troop (2B), Max Friedeman (LHP/1B)

Around the Diamond (Returning 2019 starters in bold with available stats)

Catcher: Jeremy Wojenski, Jr.; Nick Todisco, Jr.

First Base: Ryan Behnken, Sr.

Second Base: Chris Ellison, Sr. (.265/.390/.408, 4 2B, 1 HR, 10 R, 8 RBI)

Shortstop: Kristian Saucedo, Sr.

Third Base: Vin Impresa, Sr. (.310/.370/.452, 3 2B, 1 HR, 7 R); Dan Furlong, Jr.

Leftfield: Thomas Strauch, Jr.

Centerfield: Antonio Gatti, Sr. (.357/.446/.393, 2 2B, 10 R, 3 RBI)

Rightfield: Russell Halvorsen, So.; Devon Smith, Jr.

DH: Alex Jenkins, Sr.; Jake Holzapfel, Sr.

Pitchers

Vin Impresa, Sr., RHP (1-0, 7.00 ERA, 8 IP, 12 H, 4 BB, 8 K)

Chris Ellison, Sr., RHP (0-5, 2.96 ERA, 28.1 IP, 28 H, 10 BB, 27 K)

Dan Furlong, Jr., RHP

Nick Gomes, Jr., LHP

 

College Commitments

Chris Ellison – Cornell University

Vin Impresa – Miseracordia University

Antonio Gatti – Stockton University

Kristian Saucedo – Immaculata University