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Suburban Council baseball preview

Shaker Blue Bison

Head coach: Pete Mravlja

Key players: Brian Cary (pitcher/outfield), Mike Petilli (pitcher), Mike Nowak (pitcher/third base), Kyle VanVleet (pitcher/third base), Tyler Young (outfield/first base), Derek Gardella (catcher/pitcher/first base)

Outlook: The Blue Bison graduated most of their starters last year, so their success depends on how well the current crop of players adjust to their roles. "We have one true starter back this year," said Mravlja. "We have a lot of guys who played limited roles last year."

Shenendehowa Plainsmen

Head coach: James Carrese

Returning starters: Bryan Marotta (catcher), Tyler Dehmer (pitcher), Travis Belleard (infield), Brandon Cogsworth (shortstop)

Outlook: With only four returning starters, Carrese said that the Plainsmen will not be the favorites to repeat as the Suburban Council's best team. "I think Columbia and Bethlehem are the top two teams in the league," he said. "You have to have good pitching in this league, and they have it."

South Division

Averill Park Warriors

Head coach: Mike Conroy

Returning starters: Tim Murdick (pitcher/outfield), Andrew Goyer (catcher), Nick Cioffi (pitcher/infield), Josh Gustafson (first base)

Newcomers: Tyler Listing (pitcher/infield), Josh Sprague (utility)

Outlook: "We are very young with just six returning players," said Conroy. "But this group has versatility and has been working hard in the pre-season. We lost some leaders to graduation, but we have great enthusiasm among this year's group."

Bethlehem Eagles

Head coach: Rob Helm

Key players: Randy Bowers (pitcher), Sean Quinlan (pitcher), Matt Branigan (catcher), Alex Sobiecki (outfield), Kyle Niehaus (infield), Mike Fish (outfield)

Outlook: The Eagles are hoping for another long run through the Section II, Class AA playoffs after reaching last year's semifinals. "I love the guys we have back," said Helm. "They're all class kids, and on the field, they're great players."

Bethlehem is dedicating its season to assistant coach Pete Dorwaldt, who died last month after a long battle with cancer. "[The players are] getting wristbands, and there's a sign in the dugout " 'Dorwaldt Avenue,'" said Helm.

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