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2011 Suburban Council baseball preview

Moving up the North Division ranks may be difficult with Shen and Shaker returning several key players, but Niskayuna is ready for the challenge.

"The division is tough, but we're a good quality baseball team," said Furey.

Saratoga Blue Streaks

Head coach Dean Bailey

Returning players: Kyle Willmott (OF), Luke Fauler (P/OF), Alex Lushkevich (SS), Andrew Brink (2B), Brandon Krawczuk (1B), Zach Forbes (C)

Newcomers: Brett Merriman (P/SS), Kris Muller (OF)

Outlook: The Blue Streaks graduated three key players from last year's team that reached the Class AA Sectional final against Guilderland including pitcher Matt Coleman, but their lineup is still formidable with Willmott and Lushkevich leading the way.

"It's easy to look at that last game and think about what we couldn't do last year, but we'd rather look ahead at what we can do," said Willmott.

Fauler will be Saratoga's No. 1 starting pitcher, with seniors Ryan Vaughn and Billy Johnson also contributing to the rotation.

"I feel good about the work they put in," Bailey said of his pitchers. "We have some potential there, and we'll see how that potential pans out."

Shaker Blue Bison

Head coach: Steve Frank

Returning players: Derek Gardella (3B/P/C), Jeff Hoffman (P/OF), Bryan Egan (C), Drew Lasky (1B/P), Zach Breen (P/1B), Jeremy Fink (2B), Bob Derico (SS), Gabe Casillo (OF), Joey Bilynski (OF), Evan Alexanian (OF)

Newcomers: Stephen Boldish (INF), Jason Callacchi (3B/P), James Holmes (P), Casey Hall (P)

Outlook: New coach Frank inherits one of the stronger North Division programs from Pete Mralvja. The Blue Bison finished second to Shen in last year's standings with a 13-3 record and lost to Guilderland 7-4 in the Sectional quarterfinals.

"Coming off last year, we have several guys who were underclassmen and started last year," said Frank.

Gardella and Hoffman both earned first team all-league mentions last year. Gardella batted .440, while Hoffman compiled a 7-0 record and helped his own cause with a .327 batting average and 18 runs batted in.

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