YORK, PA. – The York College baseball team is full of promise in 2018 after returning seven starters in the field, and plenty of experience throughout the lineup. York battled through some tough non-conference stretches a year ago, but earned a 10-8 record in Capital Athletic Conference play. That record was good for third in the highly competitive CAC. The Green and White should be well-equipped for a successful year in 2018.
Head coach Mike Scappa leads the Spartans in his seventh season as the skipper, as York looks to turn its experienced and tested lineup into a deep playoff run this year.
The Spartan infield is the oldest group of the team, and will start four seniors with loads of experience on opening day. Christian Bilan led York in hits a year ago, with 59, finishing the season .349 at the plate with a .380 on-base percentage and .491 slugging percentage. He was second on the team in RBI, with 33, added 12 doubles and four home runs in his third season with the Spartans. He will return at first base with 79 career starts in experience.
Zach Hossler and Collin Crowell will hold down the middle of the infield, combining for 170 career starts. Hossler hit .336 last year, with a .409 on-base percentage and .467 slugging percentage, and 22 RBI, 11 doubles and three home runs. In the field, he had 90 put outs and 88 assists with just three errors, good for a .983 fielding percentage. Crowell hit .297 with 23 RBI, eight doubles and one homer. He boasted a .940 fielding percentage, with a team-high 120 assists and 68 put outs. The pair combined for 43 double plays down the heart of the defense.
Devin Chapman fills out the Spartan infield at the hot corner. Chapman was used all over the infield in his previous three seasons, and made seven starts last year as a junior. In 36 at-bats, he hit .278 with a .350 on-base percentage and .306 slugging percentage, with five RBI, a double, forced two walks, and stole a base. Luke Knott will also contribute at third, after limited action as a sophomore. Both are high-energy players that will provide power in the middle of the order.
Jack Barry, a freshman, will play behind Bilan at first and has a bright future and plenty of power. Bailey Doan is a versatile player who can play either corner and has improved tremendously from his freshman season. Bryan Bell and Sal D'Onofrio will back up Hossler at second.
"Just as last year, this should be the strength of our team," says Scappa. "We have veteran leadership and hard-nosed competitors, who play the game the right way at every position."
Garrett Southern is yet another returning starter with plenty of experience. He started 34 games behind the plate last year as a sophomore. He hit .227 with a .358 on-base percentage and a .300 slugging percentage, with eight doubles, seven RBI and forced 17 walks. He recorded a .978 fielding percentage with 238 put outs and 33 assists in 277 total attempts. An outstanding defender with a strong arm, Southern threw out 16 runners attempting to steal in 2017.
Rob Acierno is next in line after hitting .219 as a freshman in 32 at-bats. He had seven RBI on seven hits, with two doubles and two home runs. He will be used behind the plate, but is also a candidate for the designated hitter spot in the lineup. Acierno has plenty of pop in his bat as he is looking for a breakout year.
"Garrett is a hard-nosed competitor who puts a spark in a team," says Scappa. "Rob has great potential. We will need both to play well this season to help guide our pitching staff."
Three starters are back in the outfield, combining for 194 career starts. Seth Brosius headlines the group with 98 starts, including all 41 games last year as a junior. He was named to the All-Capital Athletic Conference second team and earned ABCA All-South Region accolades. He hit .341 and led the team with 39 RBI, 16 doubles and six homers. He also finished with a .541 slugging percentage and a .407 on-base percentage. He ranked second in the CAC in doubles, fifth in hits, eighth in RBI and 11th in home runs. He will take the spot in right field.
Patrick Clement and Grant Oberholtzer will take left field and center, respectively. Clement, a senior, has made career 65 starts, including 35 last year. He hit .295 with 18 RBI, three doubles, two triples, a team-high, and two homers. Oberholtzer started in 31 games as a freshman, and will lead off for the Spartans, providing power and speed. He hit .310 as a rookie with 25 RBI, four doubles, two triples and three home runs. Showing his speed, he stole seven bases, the most on the team.
"Our outfield defense took a step forward last year," states Scappa. "Brosius made a great transition to right field and he is one of the top players in the region. Clement and Oberholtzer have both improved offensively, making our line up very dangerous."
Four returning pitchers threw significant innings last year, led by senior Joel Kenney. Kenney pitched 62.2 innings last year, the most on the team, with a 3.45 ERA, going 3-4 in nine starts and 49 strike outs, a team-best. Will Grega threw 27.1 innings as a sophomore in 13 appearances out of the bullpen, going 3-2 with three saves. Andrew Ross made three starts last year, going 2-2 in eight appearances. He threw 31.1 innings and 32 strike outs. Bobby Kuehn threw 34.2 innings as a sophomore, going 2-3 in seven starts and eight appearances.
Brandon Haggerty and Jake Herr, a pair of freshmen, along with Jeff Noss will make starts on the mound, but will also spend significant time coming out of the bullpen. Noss threw 31.1 innings in 15 appearances, 14 out of the pen.
"We have leadership at the top of the rotation. It is crucial for the young pitchers to take a step forward and prove to be reliable," said Scappa.
Tim Halasnik will contribute heavily out of the pen during his freshman season. He will join a group of reliable throwers, including Ben Demchak, Conor Miller, another freshman, John Szwajkowski and Colin Bowling. Demchak threw 14.2 innings in nine appearances, going 1-1. Szwajkowski threw 4.1 innings as a freshman.
"This is the deepest group we have had in the last few years," says Scappa. "We have a good mix with different strengths and arm slots. Our pen should be very versatile with good lefty/righty balance."
Knott and Acierno are key candidates for the designated hitter spot. Barry is next in line, and all three have significant power. Doan and Bell, two line drive hitters, that primarily hit for power are disciplined at the plate with mature approaches, and will be in the mix.
The Spartans open their season on Monday in Myrtle Beach, S.C., taking on Johnson & Wales (R.I.), the first of four games during their spring break trip. York's home opener at Jaquet Field will be March 6 against Franklin & Marshall. The Green and White begins conference play at home against PSU-Harrisburg on March 21.