State High Hardballers Look to Take Next Step
A closer look at the State College Area High School baseball team:
Head coach — Bill Tussey, 11th season.
2013 record — 17-7, District 6 champions, advanced to PIAA quarterfinals.
Key losses — Nick Smith, Dan Fry, Darrian Herncane, Jason Costa and Ben Finlan.
Key returnees — Calvin Sichler, Kenny Craig, Nick Raquet, Derek Van Horn, Jon Bergman and Alec Lose.
Strengths — Tussey realizes that his team is young after losing so many players from 2013, but he believes this group has potential.
"We're trying to get stronger defensively in the infield," he says, "and in the outfield, with all those seniors we lost from last year. Defensively, we've looked pretty good. I'm thinking our defense may be our strong point. Offensively, we've scored runs. We put up 14 runs in the first two games. This team is definitely a work in progress."
Concerns — Youth and inexperience. "Don't get me wrong," Tussey says, "we have a talented group of kids. Once we get some experience, I think we are going to be a very competitive team. But right now, it's just everybody finding their roles and getting comfortable as a group."
Outlook — "I feel very good about this group," Tussey says. "It's a good bunch of boys, and I love being around them. They work hard. They have fun, and the best part is they get along with each other. So the team part is there, and now it's just a matter of putting it together. We started out very tough with our schedule, and right now we're happy with being 3-0 against three very good ball clubs. As I said, we think this team can be very competitive, and we're looking forward to the challenge of this year."
Circle these dates — vs. Cumberland Valley (April 17); at Cedar Cliff (April 22).