High School Baseball Preview: Monroe County Division I

West Virginia University commit Chris Sleeper finished 4-0 with 35 strike outs and 10 walks over 28 innings of work for Rush-Henrietta in 2019. (Photo: SUE KANE)

Monroe County Baseball gets into full swing this week. Here is the breakdown of Division I with pre-season capsules for Fairport, Gates-Chili, Hilton, Rush-Henrietta, Victor and Webster Schroeder:

FAIRPORT RED RAIDERS (Class AA)

Coach: Tom Caputo (First season)

Top returners: Gavin Lamb (Sr. OF), Michael Protz (Sr. P), Matt Scarpelli (Sr. 1B), Daniel Stoianovich (Sr. P/3B – Finger Lakes Community College commit), Matt Terzo (Sr. P/2B), Pat Unger (Sr. LF), Braden Consaul (Jr. P/RF)

Top newcomers: Ben Loria (Sr. P/OF), Sawyer Mentz (Sr. IF/OF), Blake Bucenec (Jr. OF), Thomas Derleth (Jr. C), Derek Geib (Jr. P/3B), Cameron Kingsley (Jr. P/IF), Julien Mendoza (Jr. IF), Zach Merlo (Jr. P/1B), Dylan Norton (Jr. IF), Nick Provenzano (Jr. P/IF), Connor Sackett (Jr. C), James Stanek (Jr. IF)

First game: Monday, May 3 at home against Victor at 4:45 PM.

Outlook: Fairport has seven returning players and a new coach for the first time in seven years. Will the new-look Red Raiders be able to make moves in Division I?

GATES-CHILI SPARTANS (Class AA)

2019 finish: 1-17, lost to Rush-Henrietta in sectionals

Coach: Dean Dingee (1-17/second year)

Top returners: Devin Georgetti (Sr. P – Second Team All-County in 2019, went 1-8 with a 3.02 ERA, Finger Lakes Community College commit), Mike Ribis (Sr. P/3B – Niagara County Community College commit), Vincent Lucyszyn (Sr. SS), Ryan Kilner (P/OF), Zack Conn (OF), Sonny Mangini (P)

Top newcomers: Charlie Healey (Jr. C/1B/3B/P – 6-foot-2, 180 lbs.), Jared Pelligrino (P/1B – 5-foot-10, 180 lbs.)

First game: May 1 against Eastridge

Outlook: With four pitchers and three position players returning, Gates-Chili is one of the most experienced teams in the league. Will that be enough for the Spartans to rebound and move up the league standings?

HILTON CADETS (Class AA)

Coach: Kevin Whelehan (First year)

Top returners: Tyler Cerame (Sr. SS/P), Carter Clark (Jr. 1B/P – Siena commit)

Top newcomers: James Capellupo (So. 3B/P – UMass Lowell commit), Preston Prince (Jr. OF/P – Niagara commit), Michael Whelehan (So. 2B/SS/P)

First game: Monday, May 3 at Rush-Henrietta

Outlook: Hilton is going through a coaching change for the first time in 17 years. Will the new culture help the Cadets get over the hump in a tough division?

RUSH-HENRIETTA ROYAL COMETS (Class AA)

2019 finish: 12-10, lost to Penfield in Class AA semifinals

Coach: Bill Rasmussen (17th year)

Top returners: Chris Sleeper (Sr. P/SS – West Virginia commit, 4-0 in 28 IP, 4 ERA, 35 strikeouts to 10 walks, .306 BA, 22 hits, 14 runs scored, 11 RBI)

Top newcomers: Tobey Wright (Jr. SS/RHP), Evan Brock (So. 3B/RHP), Cam Richie (Sr. CF/RHP), Joey Miron (Sr. RHP/OF)

First game: Monday, May 3 at home against Hilton. Sleeper will be the starting pitcher.

Outlook: With only one returning player, Rush-Henrietta will be reliant on young and inexperienced players. Is Sleeper’s leadership going to be enough to get the Royal Comets back to the Class AA semifinals and beyond?

VICTOR BLUE DEVILS (Class AA)

2019 finish: Won the Monroe County Division I regular season title, lost to Hilton in Class AA quarterfinals

Coach: Sean Rucker (432-153/26th year)

Top returners: Danny Melendez (Sr. SS – Monroe Community College commit), Will Tehan (Sr. CF – committed to Keuka for basketball), Ian Meeks (Sr. 1B/P), Christian Brown (Sr. P/3B – SUNY Fredonia commit), Ethan Behnke (Sr. IF – Houghton commit), Pierce Mehigan (Sr. P), Ben Weingart (Sr. IF), Aidan Schlarbaum (Sr. OF/P)

Top newcomers: Zack Prior (Jr. C)

First game: Monday, May 3 at Fairport

Outlook: Victor is bringing back eight players from a team that won the Monroe County Division I in 2019. Can that core lead the Blue Devils to another division title and a deep playoff run?

WEBSTER SCHROEDER WARRIORS (Class AA)

2019 finish: 9-11

Coach: Matt Knight (243-169/20th year)

Top returners: Sal Cutaia (Sr. 1B – Monroe Community College commit), Ryan Merkov (Sr. P/DH – Rochester Institute of Technology commit), John Schoenhardt (Sr. C – Monroe Community College commit), Alex Touloupas (Sr. SS – Monroe Community College commit)

Top newcomers: Matthew Salina (Jr. OF/2B/P), Michael Salina (Jr. OF/P/SS)

First game: Monday, May 3 at Gates-Chili

Outlook: The Warriors only have four players with varsity experience, but 11 seniors in total. Can this veteran presence help Webster Schroeder to a Division I title?

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