Big 10 baseball preview

With an eye toward the start of the Section II baseball season, here is a look at the Big 10.

Albany Falcons

Head coach: Joey DiPiazza

Returning all-stars: Michael Hughes (senior IF/P), Patrick Landers (senior OF/P), Justin Harris (senior C), Jevonte Osterhout (junior IF), Stephen Richards (junior IF), Jake Valentine (senior OF/P), Justin Nowak (senior IF/OF)

Outlook: Shaker High School graduate DiPiazza is hoping to guide the Falcons to loftier heights after finishing second in the Big 10 last year. I think on paper we have one of the better teams in the section. We just have to go out and execute the fundamentals of the game, he said.

Pitching will be a key for Albany this year, as Hughes and Landers return to anchor the staff. "I think we have one of the best pitching staffs in the section but we need a team effort to get this (winning the league title) done," said DiPiazza.

Amsterdam Rugged Rams

Returning all-stars: Sean Whitty (senior C/P), Jose Ramirez (senior IF), Dan McNamara (senior IB/OF/P), Mike Cranker (senior 1B/P)

Outlook: The Rugged Rams are looking for a better finish after dropping into the middle of the Big 10 pack last year. Whitty was a first-team all-star pitcher, while Ramirez and McNamara earned second-team all-star nods for their work in the field.

Bishop Gibbons Golden Knights

Head coach: Dwight Doepel

Returning all-stars: Ryan Maxwell (junior SS), Charlie Bouchard (senior OF)

Outlook: Doepel is still trying to grow the Gibbons baseball program. "This is the first year that we've had a junior varsity program," said Doepel. "I'm hoping that we improve over our 0-16 season (last year), but it's a tough league."

Bishop Maginn Golden Griffins

Head coach: Mike Grasso

Returning all-stars: Chris Jeffers (junior IF/P), Andrew Butler (senior IB/P), Davante Buie (sophomore OF/P), Ryan Gaffney (senior IF/P), Dylan Tully (junior IF/P)

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