High School Baseball Preview: Monroe County Division II


University of Miami commit Gage Ziehl (center) will look to lead Penfield back to the Class AA championship game. (Photo: BILLY HEYEN)

BRIGHTON BRUINS (Class A)

2019 finish: 12-9, lost 1-0 to Pittsford Mendon in Class A quarterfinals

Coach: John Feltes (12-9/second season)

Top returners: Teddy Knapp (Sr. SS/P – played a few varsity games as sophomore in 2019, including sectional game), Drew Kase (Sr. UTIL – played a few varsity games as sophomore in 2019, including sectional game), Timmy Mowrer (Sr. MI/C/P)

Top newcomers: Jackson Heider (Jr. P/C/1B), Ellis Einbinder (Jr. OF), Troy Mcpherson (So. P/OF)

First game: Sunday, May 9 at Gates-Chili

Outlook: Brighton has a bunch of versatile players, allowing for a lot of different lineups. Will that help the Bruins outlast the competition in a condensed season?

CHURCHVILLE-CHILI SAINTS (Class A)

2019 finish: 10-10

Coach: Guy Puglia (17-24/third season)

Top returners: Alan Michael LeFrois (Sr. SS – SUNY Brockport commit), Cooper Romich (So. C), Justin Meister (So. P/3B)

Top newcomers: Zach Miner (Jr. P/CF), Anthony Shortino (So. 2B), Danny Derleth (Jr. P/LF), Shane Pray (Sr. 3B)

First game: Monday, May 3 at Penfield

Outlook: Churchville-Chili will have a young team after losing 11 seniors to the 2020 season. Will the combination of starting three sophomores, juniors and seniors apiece help the Saints stay competitive?

GREECE ODYSSEY/OLYMPIA GRIFFINS (Class A)

2019 finish: First season as combined team

Coach: Steve Paternico (fourth season)

Top returners: Derek Laemlein (Sr. P/C/IF), Blake Bebout (Sr. P/IF), Nolan Krautwurst (Jr. P/IF), Tommy Rebis (Jr. P/IF)

Top newcomers: Tyson Roundtree (Jr. IF/OF), Ty VanEpps (So. OF/P), Chris Coriano (So. C/IF)

First game: Monday, May 3 against Webster Thomas

Outlook: With a very young team, Greece Odyssey/Olympia will hope their players can adjust to the varsity game early in the season. Will that happen to help the Griffins keep pace as they make the adjustment to Division II?

PENFIELD PATRIOTS (Class AA)

2019 finish: 16-6, lost in Class AA finals

Coach: Nick Marcin (72-37/seventh year)

Top returners: Gage Ziehl (1B/3B/P – University of Miami commit, 2019 AA co-Player of the Year, has been named All-Greater Rochester twice and First Team All-County twice, hit .476 with 12 XBH and 15 RBI in 2019 and had a 1.84 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 39 IP), Nick Ianiello (1B/3B/P – SUNY Brockport commit, Second Team All-County in 2019, hit .317 with 15 RBI), Peyton Pace (SS/P – .292 BA with 7 RBI and 11 runs in 2019), Nate Sobko (C – Second Team All-County in 2019, hit .373 with six RBI), Jack Josephson (P – 3-0 record with 15 strikeouts in 25 innings)

Top newcomers: Dom Porto (Sr. OF – College of Mt. Saint Vincent commit), Brady Ventura (Sr. 2B), Andrew Olson (Sr. SS/P)

First game: Monday, May 3 at home against Churchville-Chili

Outlook: The Patriots have a senior-laden roster, with 14 of the 19 players in their last season. Penfield has the star power, but can that carry it to a Division II championship and Class AA title?

SPENCERPORT RANGERS (Class A)

2019 finish: 9-13, lost in Class A quarterfinals

Coach: Larry Frisa (ninth season)

Top returners: Devin Cannon (Sr. – Finger Lakes Community College commit), Louis Bivone (Sr.), Chris Hammerle (Sr.), Gianni Pellett (Sr.)

Top newcomers: Frank Grad (Fr. SS/2B/P), Shaun Cannon (Fr. LF/3B)

First game: 7-4 loss to Brockport on Saturday, May 1

Outlook: After losing 11 seniors last year, Spencerport’s roster is young but headlined by a few experienced seniors. Can that blend of youth and experience guide the Rangers to a Division II title?

WEBSTER THOMAS TITANS (Class A)

2019 finish: 11-10, lost to Penfield in Class AA quarterfinals

Coach: Kevin Neenan (74-50/eighth season)

Top returners: Mitchell Kelly (Sr. OF/P – batted .304 in 2019 with three doubles, a home run, six steals and 13 RBI, SUNY Cortland commit), Ian McNabb (Sr. P/1B/OF – hit .294 with two doubles and five RBI in 2019, went 1-2 in 14.2 IP with 27 strikeouts in 1.43 ERA), Greyson McDonnell (Sr. C – in 2019, hit .250 with two doubles and six RBI)

Top newcomers: Max Heil (Sr. 3B/P/C/OF), Joe DiNeri (Sr. OF), Dominic Delvecchio (Sr. SS/P), Paul Sofinski (Sr. P/3B), Bryan McLean (Sr. 2B/SS/P), Nick Wood (Sr. OF), Evan McCoy (Sr. OF), Garett Wilson (Jr. 3B/P/1B), Nathan Zicari (Jr. OF/P/1B)

First game: Monday, May 3 against Greece Odyssey/Olympia at Basket Road

Outlook: Kelly, McNabb and McDonnell are the only returners for Webster Thomas, but they all had success in 2019. Can those three propel the Titans to a league championship?

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