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Bulldog baseball team enters new league armed with eleven seniors

March 20, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

Poland's baseball team ended last season 4-6 in its final campaign in the All American Conference.

This year, the Bulldog boys will be battling in the Northeast 8 Conference for the first time. Thanks to a roster that is loaded with 11 seniors, these Bulldogs should have a great chance at capturing the first ever NE8 crown. According to head coach Rich Murray, the best way for his bunch to grab the championship belt is by being efficient on the pitching mound.

"If our pitching does well, we should have a promising season ahead," Murray said.

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Poland Seminary High School will be in a new conference this year called Northeast 8 league. This conference will consist of seven schools which are Lakeview, Struthers, Jefferson, Niles, Girard, South Range and Hubbard. Head coach Rich Murray said, 'The new league will be very competitive and I am looking forward to this season.' Returning second-year letterman senior catcher Michael Farber will be behind the home plate this season. Farber has worked over the winter months preparing for a good season.

Four of Poland's returning senior starters are expected to get time on the hill. That quartet is Jared Knight, Alex Barth, Braden Olson and Jeremy Castro. Barth will also be counted upon to play both the outfield and infield. Olson will also get a lot of opportunities at second base. Castro is an outfielder as well as a pitcher.

Whoever is starting the game for Poland has the luxury of knowing he has a superstar behind him manning shortstop. Multi time letter winner Braeden O'Shaughnessy is back for his senior season. After spending the winter leading his basketball mates into a regional tournament game, O'Shaughnessy is ready to put his baseball brothers on his back. The shortstop slammed the ball at a .476 clip in 2018 and is planning on taking his talents to Youngstown State next baseball season. He is one of the main reasons why Coach Murray is confident in his club's ability to score runs.

"We should have some good hitting," Murray said.

Senior catchers Michael Farber and Andrew Testa will complement the Bulldogs' lineup as will the top non senior returnee first baseman Zachary Yaskulka. The junior letter winner whacked the ball with a .442 average a year ago. Fellow juniors Mason McCurdy and Steven Carney will also be in the infield. McCurdy can play both second and third base while Carney can play third base and also take some turns on the bump. The final returning letter is junior outfielder/infielder Jake Bacon.

Besides having a solid offense, Coach Murray expects this group to be able to suck up anything hit their way. Strong defense should make up for any mistakes made by the pitching staff.

"We should be a good defensive squad," said the coach.

Other Bulldogs who should contribute in 2019 according to the coach are seniors Ian Lu, Robert Murray, Robert Seitz and Tallon Price and juniors Tyler Berry, Michael Galteno, Mike Kushner and Jarrett Shurilla. Anthony Patellis is the one underclassman mentioned by Murray that may crack Poland's starting varsity group.

Poland will get its first opportunity to prove it is the team to beat in the new league when it travels to Jefferson for the season opener on March 25. Some nonconference highlights on Poland's slate will be a home-in-home series with Austintown Fitch to kick off the second week of the season and two games with Boardman. The Bulldogs end the year with matches against conference cousins Hubbard and Niles. By that time, they hope to have their first NE8 title all wrapped up.



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