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Baseball: Blue Bison itching to get outside

Shaker scheduled to start season Thursday against Lansingburgh

Like every baseball team in Section II, the Shaker Blue Bison are sick and tired of being cooped up inside the gym for practices.

The Blue Bison may get their chance to feel the sun on their faces. A break in the weather pattern could allow them to play their non-league games against Lansingburgh and Christian Brothers Academy this week. Temperatures are supposed to be in the 50s, and there is no precipitation in the National Weather Service forecast until late Friday.

“The kids and the coaches want to get out on the field,” said Shaker coach Steve Frank.

The last time Shaker was on the baseball diamond, it was last year’s Section II Class AA final against Suburban Council North Division rival Shenendehowa — a game the Plainsmen won 3-2.

Frank lost several key players from that group to graduation, but he said he has a good core coming back with Nick Gavin, Tyler Hoffman, Sean Egan and Ben Cassillo.

“I feel real comfortable with what we have one through six (in the lineup),” said Frank. “However, it’s going to be what we can do as a team (that dictates success).”

Gavin and Hoffman — the younger brother of Jeff Hoffman, who is considered a top pitching prospect for the upcoming Major League Baseball amateur draft — anchor Shaker’s pitching rotation. Both of them posted 4-2 records during the 2013 season, in which the Blue Bison finished second to Shen in the North Division standings.

Frank said Hoffman is more dangerous at the plate than he is on the pitcher’s mound. Hoffman cranked out six home runs in 2013, which Frank said could be a school record for a single season.

“Tyler knows pitching isn’t necessarily where he wants to shine, but he’s certainly good enough (on the mound),” said Frank.

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