BRATTLEBORO -- The argument during March Madness has been whether it’s better to have a veteran team or one made up of younger talent.
With a dozen seniors on his roster, Brattleboro Union High School baseball coach Chris Groeger is hoping that experience can help his Colonels reach the Final 4.
"Our mini goal is to get into the tournament," said Groeger, whose team went 3-13 last season and failed to make the playoffs. "First and foremost, I want much more success for this group than they had last year. If we play good defense, we should be in a lot of ball games."
The Colonels are scheduled to host Drury on Monday at 5 p.m. in their season opener, but poor field conditions could push that game back. Their next home game will take place on April 19 versus St. Johnsbury at 11 a.m.
"Hitting is a question mark for us. I’m confident that our pitchers will throw strikes and put the ball in play," stated Groeger.
Returning hurlers Jimmy Mills, Dan Richardson and Chris McAuliffe all threw their share of innings last season. Kevin Tao is expected to be a spot starter, and Kassidi Ramirez will also be a part of Brattleboro’s rotation.
"Mills and Richardson are both strike throwers. They both worked very hard during the offseason -- they bulked up and improved their velocity," said the BUHS skipper. "I like McAuliffe at first base, but will use him in relief when needed."
Speedy center fielder Hunter Smith will lead off for the Colonels. He will likely be followed in the order by Ramirez (SS), McAuliffe (1B), Tao (3B) and Jeff Kerylow (OF).
"McAuliffe is a three-year starter for us and a power guy. Tao has power, and Kerylow is a good contact hitter," noted Groeger.
Adam McPhail will start behind the plate for the purple and white, Richardson will see time in the outfield, and there is a battle going on for the starting second base position between Rob Heileman and Michael Rooney.
Brattleboro varsity baseball roster: Coaches -- Chris Groeger, Jacob Smith. Seniors -- Michael Rooney, James Mills, Dan Richardson, Rob Heileman, Hunter Smith, Adam McPhail, Gene Buckley, Jeff Kerylow, Kevin Tao, Ryan McAuliffe, Chris McAuliffe, Mark Dixon. Juniors -- Kassidi Ramirez, River Kuhn, Nick Hiner, Shawn Lynch, Kody Wendell.
Shane Covey can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.
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BUHS varsity baseball schedule
April 7 -- host Drury, 5 p.m.
April 9 -- at Hartford, 5 p.m.
April 12 -- at Rutland, 1 p.m.
April 15 -- at Amherst, 4 p.m.
April 19 -- host St. Johnsbury, 11 a.m.
April 22 -- host Bellows Falls, 5 p.m.
April 26 -- at Fair Haven, 11 a.m.
April 29 -- at Mill River, 4:30 p.m.
May 1 -- host Rutland, 5 p.m.
May 6 -- at Burr and Burton, 5 p.m.
May 9 -- host MAU, 5 p.m.
May 16 -- host Hartford, 5 p.m.
May 19 -- host Otter Valley, 5 p.m.
May 20 -- at Keene, N.H., 7 p.m.
May 27 -- host Burr and Burton, 7 p.m.
May 29 -- at MAU, 5 p.m.