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Spring sports preview capsules

Editor’s note: Despite the fact the high school spring sports season in Ohio has been canceled before it even got started, the Vindicator / Tribune Chronicle sports department is completing its publication of capsule profiles of area teams. Capsule information is provided by coaches. Readers should approach the capsules with the attitude of “What could have been.” Despite not getting the chance to play, the student-athletes who had been working hard in preparation for the season deserve recognition.

Baseball

LaBrae

¯ COACH: Jim Bailey (2nd year, 14-11)

¯ LAST YEAR: 14-11 (lost 6-4 to Champion in district semifinal)

¯ LEAGUE: All-American Conference Blue Tier

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Niles District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Malakai Roberts (Sr)***, Zach Keller (Sr)***, Nate Ostas (Sr)**, Jeremiah Adams (Sr)*, Connor Meyer (Jr)**, Ashton Dunbar (So)*, Lucas Lancaster (So)*

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Juniors Landen Kiser, Riley Phillips and Stephen Boone, and sophomores Samuel Bailey and Jordan McCartney.

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Vikings had a good mix of youth and experience with many of their young players already with varsity experience. With experienced varsity pitching returning, led by Roberts, the league’s top pitcher a year ago, LaBrae expected to have a strong 2020 season.

Crestview

¯ COACH: Kory Whitacre (3rd year, 26-20)

¯ LAST YEAR: 15-10 (lost 10-0 to Rootstown in sectional bracket final)

¯ LEAGUE: All-American Conference Blue Tier

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Struthers District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Jordan Van Pelt (Sr)**, Dale McGoogan (Sr)**, Keith Berger (Jr)**, Kyle Saunders (Jr)*, Joey Hawkins Jr)*, Carter Blakeman (So)*, Sam Campbell (So)*

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Senior Corey Dewell; juniors Connor Hughes and Eli Riffle; sophomores Daniel Fitzgerald, Ethan Carney, Zach Peters and Matthew Gilbert; and freshmen Matthew Lindsay, Tyler Milhorn, Kirkland Miller, Matthew Strank, Cade Hancox, Hunter Duvall, Drew Heiland, Jesse McKee, Lukas Cox and Carlos Valle

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Rebels hoped to follow the great leadership of their senior group to compete in the AAC Blue. After graduating seven seniors, the Rebels were going to rely on several young, but experienced pitchers.

Campbell

¯ COACH: Jeff Jackson (1st year)

¯ LAST YEAR: 6-15 (lost 13-3 to Mogadore in sectional first round)

¯ LEAGUE: All-American Conference Blue Tier

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Struthers District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Joey Michaels (Sr)***, Antoni Galouzis (Sr)*, Jenry Falcon **, Collin Michaels **, Zachara Luciano **, Harry Echevarria **, Jacob Jackson **

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: James Shuger, Anthony Kindinis, Nafirie Falcon, Anthony Ramun, DJ Ifft

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: With a group of hard workers, the Red Devils were young but expected to have a promising season. Every player was able to play multiple positions and the pitching staff was five-deep. The three seniors, Michaels, Galouzis and Falcon all are great leaders.

Western Reserve

¯ COACH: Ed Anthony (11th year, 186-69)

¯ LAST YEAR: 16-8 (lost 9-5 to East Palestine in sectional first round)

¯ LEAGUE: Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Struthers District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Nick Nemi (Jr)*, Jake Papagallo (Jr)**, Seth Phillips (Jr)**, Dom Bengala (Jr)*

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Seniors Aaron Jackson and Ryan Burlaw, and juniors Alex Mayorga, Mike Vancise, Jacob Buchman, Brock Miller and Nick Cavoulas

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Blue Devils had just two seniors, three returning starters and four returning lettermen, but the team was working hard and making progress. The goal was to be competitive in the MVAC and against a tough non-conference schedule

Softball

Springfield

¯ COACH: Dan McKinstry (1st year at Springfield; 215-178 in 17 years at East Palestine)

¯ LAST YEAR: 14-9 (lost 6-2 to South Range in district semifinal)

¯ LEAGUE: Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division IV, Jackson-Milton District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Rebecca Catlos (Sr)***, Mya Duskey (Sr)***, Molly Pontius (Sr)***, Carlee Bacon (Jr)**, Abigail Joseph (Jr)**

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Sophomore’s Briana Holt, Harley Shoemaker and Sarah Themar, and freshmen Madison Lesnak, Haleigh McCalla, Gianna Piccuta, Emily Gurthung, Lillie Zoldan and Hannah Leipply.

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Tigers returned all-league players Bacon, Joseph and Pontius and expected to be competitive with Joseph returning in the circle. Springfield’s younger girls have played a lot of summer ball which should help with the learning curve. The Tigers were working hard and excited to get started.

Mineral Ridge

¯ COACH: John Scheckelhoff (3 years, 28-26)

¯ LAST YEAR: 12-7 (lost 10-2 to Springfield in sectional bracket final)

¯ LEAGUE: Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division IV, Jackson-Milton District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Riley Ladd ***, Morgan Sigley **, Haley Taylor **, Chelsey Christy **, Hannah Baird **, Rosie Nolder **, Aleigh Whittaker *, Maddie Fields **, Courtney Boyer *, Megan Gerberry *, Cheyene Ferguson *

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Ursuline transfer Kaylee Repp and freshman Maddie Klonen

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Rams, with 11 returning letter winners, looked to be very strong this season and were optimistic regarding a deep tournament run.

Mathews

¯ COACH: Jim Nicula (9 years, 180-43)

¯ LAST YEAR: 21-8 (lost 4-3 to Bristol in district final)

¯ LEAGUE: Northeastern Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division IV, Candlelight Knolls District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Lena Wallace (Sr)***, Savanna Eggens (Sr)***, Hannah Mangus (Sr)***, Emma Smalley (Sr)**, Anna Delgarbino (Sr)*, Becca Landis (Jr)**, Bella Spano (Jr)**, Ashley Deans (Jr)**, Kylie Nicholson (Jr)*, Chloe Sweitzer (Jr)*, Emma Gates (So)*, Kaylen McCollum (So)*

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Sophomore Ella Vaupel and freshman Gianna Toto

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: With all-league returners in seniors Wallace, Eggens and Mangus, and juniors Landis, Spano and Deans, among 12 returning veterans, the Mustangs were loaded. Mathews always has high expectations and this year was no different as the program looked for its ninth straight league title and to make another deep tournament run. The Mustangs brought back four experienced pitchers and a starter at every position. They were aiming for their seventh district title in the last 11 years.

Jackson-Milton

¯ COACH: Mariah Ciccolelli (1st year)

¯ LAST YEAR: 9-14 (lost 10-0 to McDonald in sectional bracket final)

¯ LEAGUE: Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division IV, Jackson-Milton District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Katie Mitchell (Sr)***, Abby Spalding (Sr)***, Megan Fultz (Sr)***, Spencer Christopher (Sr)*, Lynzi Satterlee (Sr)**, Julia Bogden (Sr)*, Kaylie Carson (Sr)*, Camryn Mitchell (Jr)*, Dana Saunders (Jr)**, Logan Grunder (Jr)**, Jenna Jones (Jr)**, Chelsea Williams (So)*, Kaitlynn Bierdeman (So)*

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Senior Darien Arther, sophomore Megan Finnie and freshmen Paige Grope, Emily Fultz, Mia Greco, Samantha Savage, Kaylee Johnson, Adalee Evans, Camelia Blackmon and Lyndsey Sarver

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Blue Jays’ eight seniors have been great leaders, setting expectations to beat last year’s nine-win total. All-league performers Mitchell and Spalding would help J-M in those big games against competitive teams.

Bristol

¯ COACH: Alisha Kugler (3rd year, 37-11)

¯ LAST YEAR: 19-5 (lost 7-1 to Jeromesville Hillsdale in regional semifinal)

¯ LEAGUE: Northeastern Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division IV, Candlelight Knolls District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Alayna Sines ***, Lindsay Miller ***, Marissa Sorvillo ***, Bella Homchosky **, Brooklyn Mullenax **, Tara Burggraf *, Brittany Mooney *, Billie Miller *, Jaylyn Mullenax *, Alexis Shafer *

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Haley Coots, Ashley Bahrey, Julia Howser, Megan King

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Panthers were looking to continue their success from last season behind two returning pitchers and a strong offense

Windham

¯ COACH: Elliot Thompson (6 years, 85-55)

¯ LAST YEAR: 12-11 (lost 12-2 to Mathews in sectional bracket final)

¯ LEAGUE: Northeastern Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division IV, Candlelight Knolls District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Tara Vanstienberg (Sr)***, Emmy Showalter (Sr)***, Kayla Ladd (Sr)*, Cheyenne Wallace (Sr)**, Lyndsie Brown (So)*, Zoey St. John (So)*

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Sophomores Lizzie Lovett, McKenzie Cales and Mikayla Strahler, and freshmen Maddie Beardenelli, Brooke Collins, Kyla Stanley, Maggie Stout, Jonni Burnside and Zanya Henderson.

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: All-league returners Vanstienberg and Showalter at pitcher and catcher were the core for the Bombers. Windham’s realistic goal was to emerge in the second level of the NAC behind Bristol and Mathews.

Boys track

Mineral Ridge

¯ COACH: Ron Toth (24th year, record)

¯ LAST YEAR: 10-4, won Western Reserve Relays

¯ LEAGUE: Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Springfield District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): John Beshara (Sr)***, Dylan Hvisc (Sr)**, Randall Miller (Jr)**, Shawn Osborn (Jr)**, Triston Weiss (Jr)**, Joshua Domitrovich (So)*, Eric Shepherd (So)*

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Rams had decent depth returning with letter winners back in all phases except the throwing events.

Maplewood

¯ COACH: David Deeter (25 years)

¯ LEAGUE: Northeastern Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Cuyahoga Heights District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN: Hunter Omerzo (Sr), Patrick Begley (Sr), Blaine Dahmen (Sr), Chris Corrigan (Sr), Ryan Dancison (Jr), Mark Kirch (Jr), Matt Freel (So), Austin Dority (So), Matt Zombar (So)

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Sophomores Gauge Petit and Caleb Richards, and freshmen Logan Burggraf and Bryson Himes

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The usual solid distance group was expected to lead the Rockets who boasted a strong group of seniors and juniors who have been successful in their careers. They were supported by a hungry group of sophomores and freshmen who were willing to work to succeed.

Valley Christian

¯ COACH: Monica Perkins (3 years)

¯ LEAGUE: Portage Trails Conference County Division

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Springfield District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Luis Velazquez (Jr)**, Brandon Paige (Jr)**, Tyrone Lindsey (Jr)*, Lohron Brown Sr)***, Zavion Howard (Jr)*

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Juniors Sekou Stanley, Izaiah McKinley and Isaiah Carter; sophomores Kwane Austin, Michael Gongaware and Aiden Lambert; and freshmen Tyree Washington, Philip Spradley, Alijah Gibson, Jhordan Pete and John Jones

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Eagles were in position to be able to compete as a team with enough numbers to fill all the events. Paige, Lindsey and Brown all have experience running at state either as individuals or on relay teams. The Eagles were confident they could compete for podium spots at Columbus again.

Chalker

¯ COACH: P.C. Torres (1st year)

¯ LEAGUE: Northeastern Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Cuyahoga Heights District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Aidan Ricks

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Logan Regal, Jacob Baker, Dalton Keeley, Cameron Clay, Cooper Nevling, Conner Castle, Luke Conaway, Brady Polizzi

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Wildcats had an outstanding sprint group led by Regal, with Ricks leading the way in the throws. Chalker had a positive outlook with lofty goals for the sprinters.

Windham

¯ COACH: Jeff States (5 years)

¯ LEAGUE: Northeastern Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Norwayne District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Ashton Eskins, Adam Thomas, Ericq Williams, Bert Jones, Tyler Wiley, Josh Walker, Keith Richmond

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Bombers’ sprint relay groups had a good shot at reaching the regional.

Girls track

Pymatuning Valley

¯ COACH: Kevin Brown (3 years, 35-15)

¯ LAST YEAR: 11-7

¯ LEAGUE: Northeastern Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Springfield District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Meadow Gilpin (Sr)***, Madeline Haase (Sr)*, Jenica Jenick (Sr)*, Hannah Marcin (Sr)**, Rebekah Short (Sr)*, Ellie Stroke (Sr)**, Jaden Lockwood (Jr)*, Laura Pezzano (Jr)*, Cortney Shinault (Jr)*, Sierra Tech (Jr)*, Rachel Teter (Jr)*, Jenna Harvey (So)*, Kierstin Marey (So)*, Josey Miller (So)*, Ellie Struna (So)*

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Senior Zoe Haffa and sophomore Julia Krznaric

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The experienced Lakers were looking at least a top-two league finish and possible postseason success. PV boasted numbers and talent in every event with three previous regional participants.

Brookfield

¯ COACH: Bob Rodgers (18 years)

¯ LEAGUE: All-American Conference Blue Tier

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Springfield District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Vaileen Bell (Sr)*, Jasmyn Foist (Jr)**, Nicole Husnick (Jr)*, Dru Gerace (So)*, Bailey Hackett (So)*, Brooke Kirila (So)*

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The young Warrior squad was aiming to improve throughout the season.

Mineral Ridge

¯ COACH: Ron Toth (24th year, record)

¯ LAST YEAR: District runner-up and MVAC runner-up

¯ LEAGUE: Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Springfield District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Lizzy Panic (Sr)***, Josie Shultz (Sr)***, Pryce Allen (Jr)**, Danielle Aulet (Jr)*, Katelyn Lesko (Jr)**, Emma Rich (Jr)**, Riley Cowles (So)*, Sylvia Traw (So)*

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Rams looked to follow up on a solid season a year ago with an experienced but young nucleus.

Jackson-Milton

¯ COACH: Kayla Morrison (3 years)

¯ LEAGUE: Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Springfield District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Grace McDevitt (Sr)***, Rena Costello (Sr)***, Bailey Estes (Sr)***, Alyssa Deak (Sr)***, Kelsie Taylor (Jr)**

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Freshmen Katie Campbell, Kalliope Ivari, Chloe Scandy and MaKayleigh Aliff

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: McDevitt leads an experienced senior group as a regional qualifier in the throws. With low numbers, the Blue Jays are focused on individual events and are hard-working and determined.

Valley Christian

¯ COACH: Monica Perkins (3 years)

¯ LEAGUE: Portage Trails Conference County Division

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Springfield District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Kennedy Tucker (Jr)**, Amari Austin (Sr)**, Ronashia Gilbert (So)*, Dezarye Dean (Jr)**, MiKaela Tensley (Jr)**

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Juniors Olivia Kitchen, Abigail Woodward and Kristen Gill; sophomores Naudia Beck, Mia Cole, Tyla Chatman, Kyiel Turner and Genasia Walker; and freshmen DiAndre Tensley, Savannah Kitchen, Jada Baty and Leniya Haskins

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Eagles were thinking positive with a solid returning group and a good influx of newcomers. Valley Christian’s sprinting group was especially expected to find success.

Lordstown

¯ COACH: Colleen Kellar (9 years)

¯ LEAGUE: Northeastern Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Cuyahoga Heights District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Paige Weiland (Sr)*, Lexie Drewek (Jr)**, McKenna Lago (Jr)**, Ava Spano (Jr)*, Kerrianne Mylar (So)*, Kileigh Rice (So)*, Peyton Ferguson (So)*, Riley Cuckovich (So)*, Sarah Schnieder (So)*

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: fFreshmen Emily Behon, Emma Urcheck, Monet Hostuttler, Peyton Thomas, Rosetti Johnson and Trista Smith

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Red Devils return regional qualifiers in the two jumping events and boast a nice balance of sprinters and distance runners.

Chalker

¯ COACH: Crystal Nevling (1st year)

¯ LEAGUE: Northeastern Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Cuyahoga Heights District

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Sophomore Kendal Nevling and freshmen Emily Proverbs, Nicole Sprungl and Fannie Wengerd

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Wildcats have very little experience but a lot of talent and determination.

Windham

¯ COACH: Dougle Hankins

¯ LEAGUE: Northeastern Athletic Conference

¯ POSTSEASON: Division III, Norwayne District

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN: Hannah Murton

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Asya Woods, Zahra Cunnigham, Julia Jones

Tennis

John F. Kennedy

¯ COACH: Vicki Orwig

¯ POSTSEASON: Division II, Boardman Sectional

¯ RETURNING LETTERMEN (*-letters won): Armand Nannicola (Sr)***, James Martuccio (Sr)***, Evan Economos (Sr)**, Bobby Plizga (Jr)*, Anthony Steines (Jr)**, Ben Herman (Jr)*, Jonah Owens (Jr)*

¯ OTHERS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE: Senior Rajah Bradley and freshman Romero Nannicola

¯ SEASON OUTLOOK: The Eagles had plenty of optimism with the return of state singles qualifier Nannicola and fellow seniors Martuccio and Economos. JFK also had plenty of other experienced players to help create a successful season.

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