Hagerstown Community College baseball coach Scott Jennings knows two out of three ain’t bad.
But he would feel a whole lot better if he was a guaranteed 3-for-3.
“We look good offensively and defensively. We should be able to catch the baseball,” said Jennings. “It is going to be up to the pitchers. If they do their job, then I think we should be fine. I feel good about our pitching, but that’s the key for us.”
Pitching is a must for the Hawks when they open their 2012 season with a 1 p.m. game Sunday at Shenandoah (Va.) University. In the long haul, it could be the key factor for another successful season for HCC.
“Right now, it is a positive outlook for this year,” Jennings said. “I really like my team. I believe that they are capable of doing a lot of things this year, if everything falls into place. It is a solid team. The only thing that concerns me is that we are not real deep.”
The lack of depth puts a premium on good and consistent offense, defense and, yes, pitching for the Hawks. HCC is in a highly competitive region and the Hawks have been equally competitive, as proven by eight straight 30-win seasons, including a 32-22 season last year.
“Our region is always tough,” Jennings said. “We will be tested with that. Hopefully, we can meet the challenge. I say Potomac State will still be the team to beat. Harford should have a good team.”
That’s where strong pitching could help.
Jennings projects the top starters to be sophomores Steve Chrzanowski (Tuscarora), Cole Sellers (Greencastle), Dylan Schaeffer (Greencastle) and David Meikrantz (Middletown).
Other pitchers in the mix are sophomore Josh Knupp and freshmen Dylan Ianaro (Smithsburg), Dylan Eyler (Smithsburg), Thomas Rose, Dakota DeShong, Kevin Bair and Dylan Dunn. Deshong is HCC’s only left-handed pitcher, while Chrzanowski transferred from Frederick Community College.
HCC’s remaining roster has a distinct Greencastle flavor about it, with four former Blue Devils competing for the infield positions.
The left side of the Hawks’ infield seems set as freshman Eric Schanzenbacher (Greencastle) will start at shortstop and sophomore Danny Morris, an All-Maryland JuCo second-teamer last season, will return at third base.
Sophomore Cole Sellers (Greencastle) and Dunn will share time at first base and as the designated hitter.
Meanwhile, three freshmen are competing to start at second base, including Drew DeShong (Greencastle), Jacob Kenney and Andrew Zeger (Greencastle). Zeger can play all infield positions, while DeShong also plays third.
Once healthy, sophomore Lazaro Torres will return as the starting catcher.
“Torres is recovering from a fractured right ankle,” Jennings said. “He should be at full strength soon.”
While waiting for Torres’ return, freshman Trevor Haupt (South Hagerstown) and Dunn will fill in behind the plate.
In the outfield, sophomore Terrell Thompson will start in center field and sophomore Chris Kulik will start in left. Thompson transferred to HCC from Patrick Henry Community College in Virginia. Knupp will start in right field, where he was an occasional starter last year.
Freshmen Matt Braithwaite (Clear Spring) and T.J. Costigan add depth to the outfield.
After Sunday’s opener, HCC will embark on a 10-game spring trip in Vero Beach, Fla., from March 2-7. The Hawks open the home schedule on March 10 against Mercyhurst Northeast.