Baseball Previews: Catholic League squads hope youth is served quickly

Change seems to be the name of the game for the Delco contingent of the Catholic League.

Archbishop Carroll’s change starts at the top, with former big leaguer Mike Costanzo joining Chris Dengler as co-coach of the Patriots.

On the diamond, stability runs from A to Z, though there’s plenty of change in between. Outfielder Nicholas Argentieri will lead the lineup, aided by infielder Nick Zambella. Chris Altopiedi is the main returnee on the pitching staff along with Larry Kirk, while Rich Melito also contributed in the lineup last year.

Bonner & Prendergast copes with a similar level of upheaval after graduating 12 seniors. Catcher Steve Furman, an Iona commit starting behind the dish for a fourth straight year, is the only returning starter.

The pitching staff has a handful of arms that gained experience a season ago, though most are juniors. Eli Chase, Evan Raiburn and Nick McDonald all logged innings last spring.

Raiburn will move from third base to shortstop to form a double-play tandem with Danny Shepherd, while Ryan George, Tim Dougherty and Dom Dellabarba will fill in the infield.

Anthony Martinelli joins the staff, as do sophomores Matt Scanlon and Brian Dunphy. Brian O’Neill will get looks in the outfield, while freshman Matt Headley could also contribute.

Youth is the predicament this season for Cardinal O’Hara, as well. John Grossi counts just three seniors – Bill Neill, Dan Dougherty and Kevin Sessa – among his returnees. Sessa is one of the few known commodities on a pitching staff that will have to learn on the fly, while Grossi could easily field a starting lineup without a senior included. Juniors Isaiah Hammond, Brian Bromley and Pete Klein saw significant playing time last year, as did sophomore Jim Beaky.

Freshmen Luke Sprague and Jim White could start from the beginning of the season, while Luke Zimmerman, Eric Stewart and James Kull will find opportunities plentiful.


In addition to Episcopal Academy’s 2016 outlook, Haverford School returns five starters in the field, but the more impressive contingent back from last year’s 25-5 squad is the pitching staff, which is almost entirely intact.

Leading the way is junior hurler Tyler Dunbar, who logged 48 innings and posted a 4-2 record last year for a team that went 11-3 in one-run games. Seniors Cameron Miller, Ben Tracy and Michael Warnick flesh out the staff, while sophomore Justin Meyer could reprise his closer role from last season that yielded three wins and four saves. It’s the kind of staff that will only get stronger with the workload of a 30- to 35-game schedule.

Leading the lineup is four-year starting catcher James McConnon, who’ll attend Saint Joseph’s next year. The infield is anchored by accomplished juniors Tommy Toal, Bryan Hyland and David Hogarth, while Meyer can contribute in the infield or outfield if he’s not on the mound.

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