The challenge for the 2018 Chambersburg baseball team — as it has been for the past several years — is offensive production.
Coach Scott Folmar, now in his third season, believes he has the pitching, defense and speed to compete in the Mid Penn Commonwealth Division. The question is whether the offense can muster enough runs to create more wins.
Chambersburg is scheduled to open its season on Saturday at Hamburg, and although that doesn’t look likely because of the snow, Hamburg does have a turf field, so there’s at least a slight chance it could still happen.
“We won’t be able to just stand in there and score 10 runs per game,” Folmar said.”We need to manufacture runs and play small ball. We’ve struggled with that at times, but we’re trying to make some changes.
“I believe hitting could be a weakness, at least early in the year.”
As a team last year, the Trojans managed a .217 batting average, which included no homers or triples, and no player had more than seven runs batted in.
The potential starting lineup, depending on the pitcher, will return five players with plenty of experience from a year ago, including pitcher/outfielder Kaden Hoover (.309 batting avg., 7 RBIs), pitcher/shortstop Austin Kopp (.231, 5 RBIs), third baseman Max Armstrong (.237, 5 RBIs), leftfielder Bailey Leedy (.200, 2 RBIs) and first baseman Luke Wetzel.
Brady Hughes is projected as the catcher, either Elijah Snyder or Aaden Newman will play second base, and outfielders Brady Stumbaugh, Spencer Seaman (.194) and Spencer Hockensmith (.226) are battling for the other spots.
“We’re still looking to see who will start in right field,” Folmar said. “Seaman and Hockensmith both had some playing time last year.”
Hoover, a lefthander (2-4, 3.53 ERA last year), and Kopp, a righty (3-4, 2.28 ERA), are the top two starting pitchers, along with newcomers Bryson Byers (lefty) and Skylar McLean (righty, 1-0, 4.50 ERA). Seaman (1-2, 3.62 ERA) and Snyder are slated for relief duty; both are righthanders.
Folmar said, “We should be OK on the mound. We were very good with pitching and defense last year and we can be again. We have guys who will throw strikes, and the staff as a whole has a chance to be really solid.”
The Trojans are using Newman, a freshman, and sophomores Stumbaugh and Snyder.
“I think there’s a lot of potential with the younger guys,” Folmar said, “and that’s why we put them on varsity. We want them to get experience at that level.
“We have a great group of guys on our roster, and I think they’ve worked pretty hard in the offseason, both fall and winter.”
NOTES: Folmar is carrying only 13 players on the varsity roster … The home opener is scheduled for Monday against Waynesboro at 4:30 … Folmar predicts Red Land to be the favorite to win the MPC Commonwealth.