After consecutive Bronx A West titles and back-to-back PSAL Class AA semifinal berths, the Lions are working in an extremely new, young and inexperienced team.
“We’re relying on them to set the tone for the new guys this year,” Droz said. “[Steven] is very important to show the young guys on the team what it takes [to succeed]. He has a lot of experience. He’s been involved with being in a championship game.”
Lehman will be counting on senior Steven Pinales to be its leader, ace and one of its top hitters this season.
Droz is high on third baseman Christopher Lopez and outfielder Anthony Delgado along with pitchers Elvis Haziraj and Jerry Ramirez. He hopes to challenge for a division title.
“Now it’s time for the younger kids to step up and do as well as the other players that were involved in the program the last few years,” Droz said. “We’re a pretty young team, but if the team listens to what the staff is trying to show them and teach them, we should be OK.”
Charis Britt doesn’t want his players to talk about last year or think about last year. The Taft coach wants them to forget about their successful first season in Bronx A East, their upset of Cardozo in the second round of the city playoffs.
“We’re not going to live on last year’s accomplishments,” he said.
The Eagles, after all, should be able to create their own memories this spring. While Taft lacks the depth it has enjoyed in past years, it does return plenty of starters. Pedro Pereyra is back and will move over from second base to shortstop. So is third baseman/catcher Rudy Romero, outfielders Anthony Ferrer and Moises Alejo and pitcher/center fielder Brian Vidal.
After a two-year absence, catcher Laiky Uribe is expected to contribute and junior varsity call-up Jairon Concepcion will see time at various infield spots.
“Our goal is to make the playoffs,” Britt said. “We’re going to work towards that. If we stay healthy – we’re not as deep as we were last year – and play to the potential we have, we should be in the dance again. … We’re going to do what we always do, we’ll compete. We’ll play fundamentally sound baseball, we’ll make the plays we’re supposed to play. Hopefully we’ll win games we’re supposed to win and we’ll win a few games we’re not supposed to win.”
Steve Pinales, Adam Droz, PSAL Class AA semifinal, Steven Pinales, Jesse Garcia, Droz, Jerry Ramirez, Anthony Delgado, Elvis Haziraj, Pedro Pereyra, Christopher Lopez