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High school baseball: Suburban Council preview

Several contenders aim for division titles

Shaker sophomore pitcher Tyler Hoffman delivers to the plate during last Friday’s scrimmage against Scotia-Glenville in Latham. Hoffman is following in the footsteps of his brother Jeff, who graduated after leading the Blue Bison to the 2011 state Class AA finals.

Shaker sophomore pitcher Tyler Hoffman delivers to the plate during last Friday’s scrimmage against Scotia-Glenville in Latham. Hoffman is following in the footsteps of his brother Jeff, who graduated after leading the Blue Bison to the 2011 state Class AA finals. Photo by Rob Jonas.

The Suburban Council had a baseball season unlike any other in 2011.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake won the state Class A title, and Shaker came within one run of winning the Class AA crown.

Things have changed for BH-BL, Shaker and much of the league this year, though. Graduations took away several key players from last year including Shaker’s Jeff Hoffman, BH-BL’s Keaton Flint and Shenendehowa’s Branden Cogswell.

What remains is a league where several teams have a shot to win division titles, depending on how well their newcomers adjust to their starting roles.

Here is a look at the Suburban Council field.

North Division

Ballston Spa Scotties

Head coach: Kevin Sheremeta

Returning players: Kris Baldani, Ryan McVaigh, Franklin Miller, Ryan Schuette, Dylan Prehoda, Dan Bernier, Andrew Stawniczy

Top newcomers: Jesse Bush, Luke Bush, Derek Kohlberg, Jon Mueller

Outlook: Sheremeta said the Scotties are flush with young talent from the sophomore class, but they will need to stay mentally tough while playing in the Suburban Council.

“We need to believe in ourselves and in our ability,” said Sheremeta. “This is a young group with some pretty good talent. We need to be mentally tough in order to be competitive in the Suburban Council.”

BH-BL Spartans

Head coach: Paul Deluca

Top returning players: Jeff Heck (senior INF), Rob Knightes (junior INF), Rory Little (senior P), Jayson Sullivan (senior OF/P), Dan Nuzzi (junior P/OF)

Top newcomers: Danny Maynard (freshman C), Cody Mooney (sophomore P/INF)

Outlook: The Spartans might be down several key players from last year’s state championship team, but that hasn’t dimmed their expectations for 2012. Sullivan, Heck and Knightes will lead the offense, while Little, Nuzzi and Mooney will anchor the pitching staff.

Niskayuna Silver Warriors

Head coach: John Furey

Returning players: Austin Clock (P/1B), Josh Callahan (SS/P), Alex Helenek (P/1B/DH), Mitchell Brown (OF/DH), Tom Carrigan (3B/P), Aidan McGonigle (CF), Reed Williams (P), David Hoffmann (C), Zach Zebrowski (2B/SS), Anthony Spataro (2B)

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