"This is probably my favorite group (of players) to work with," said Carrese. "They work very hard, and they get along with each other well."
Ballston Spa Scotties
Head coach: Dave Sunkes
Key veterans: Kyle Baldani (catcher), Jim Tino (shortstop), Chris Schaefer (outfielder), Jordan Kaplan (outfielder/pitcher), Chris Curcio (outfielder/pitcher)
Outlook: Pitcher Zach Hartman is gone, but most of the Scotties' rotation remains intact for what Sunkes hopes is a good season.
"These guys know what to expect on a day-in, day-out basis. They know they won't have a day off in this league," said Sunkes.
Head coach: Rob Helm
Key veterans: Will DeRuve (shortstop), Mike Bellizzi (second baseman), Matt Nash (pitcher/third baseman), Alex Sobiecki (outfielder)
Outlook: The Eagles are hoping to build on last year's push into the class AA quarterfinals.
"We gained some confidence (in late March) in New Jersey because we did well against Guilderland in a scrimmage," said Helm. "It was only a scrimmage, but we did well."
Helm said he expects Nash and Sobiecki to anchor Bethlehem's offense this season. "We've got some guys who can hit, so hopefully we'll do that," he said.
Columbia Blue Devils
Head coach: Chris Dedrick
Key veterans: Tyler Rose (third baseman), Austin Chase (pitcher), Matt Montross (pitcher/shortstop), Patrick Puentes (outfielder/first baseman), Bobby Peluso (catcher), Nolan Gaige (pitcher/leftfielder), Tyler Kinzelmann (outfielder/designated hitter)
Outlook: Dedrick replaces long-time Columbia coach George Czerno, who guided the Blue Devils to several Sectional finals. "I have some big shoes to fill," said Dedrick, who played for Czerno in 1989.
The Blue Devils should have one of the better offenses this season with the return of Rose, Montross and Gaige, and the pitching staff features three aces in Montross, Chase and Gaige.
"We definitely have some veteran leadership and we have some pitching depth," said Dedrick.