By Rob Potter
June 6, 2003 TRI-VALLEY
Overall Record: 10-7
League Record: 3-3 OCIAA Division V
Team Leaders: Junior second baseman Zac Bright led the Bears with a .408 batting average. He also had a .633 slugging percentage, .516 on-base percentage and tied for the team lead with 16 RBIs. Bright hit one home run and eight doubles.
Junior pitcher/center fielder J.R. Rennison had a .375 batting average and a .500 slugging percentage. He tied for the team lead in stolen bases with 19 and had 12 RBIs.
On the mound, Rennison posted a 5-1 won-loss record with a 2.86 earned run average.
J.R. had great control all season and was always around the plate, Coach John Rusin said. Probably the most telling statistic is that he had 52 strikeouts and only five walks.
Rusin noted that Rennison defeated S.S. Seward, which is the top-ranked Class D team in the state, and Chester, which reached the Section IX Class C title game.
Senior pitcher/third baseman Rob Gruenfelder batted .448 and tied for the team lead in RBIs with 16. On the mound, he went 1-2 with a 3.05 earned run average. In 18 1/3 innings of work, Gruenfelder struck out 27 batters and walked 11.
Two other players that Rusin praised for their performances this season were Danny Knox and Matt Calabrese. Knox, a freshman, started at shortstop in all 17 games, posted a .292 batting average and tied for the team lead in stolen bases with 19. Calabrese, a junior catcher, threw out 18 of 50 would-be base stealers.
He did an outstanding job behind the plate, Rusin said of Calabrese. It was like having another coach out there on the field. I think he only had about eight passed balls all year.
Season Highlight: The fact that we won our last five games heading into sectionals, Rusin said. At the beginning of the season, we were shakey and had trouble winning two or more games in a row. But as the season went on, we were hitting better and playing defense better. Our pitchers did a great job all year.
Season Lowlight: Losing that sectional game to Chester, said Rusin, refering to the Bears 11-3 loss to Chester in the Section IX Class C semifinals. By the time we realized that it was just another baseball game, it was too late. We settled down after the third or fourth inning, but by then we were behind several runs.
Other: Although that loss to Chester was disappointing for Rusin and the Bears, he noted that the team did not experience many lowlights this season.
We had a young team, he said. Just about every game we had two starting freshman and four starting sophomores, so for most of the starters it was their first varsity experience. The team did a great job and set a standard for themselves.
The Bears will lose Gruenfelder and Kyle TerBush to graduation. TerBushs scholastic baseball career ended a bit early, however, as he was injured in the fifth game of the season and did not return to the field.