By Ted Waddell
ROSCOE March 21, 2006 For the past couple of years, Roscoe Central School did not have enough players to field a varsity baseball team.
The neighboring Livingston Manor Central School varsity squad wrapped up last season with nine players on the roster which, as all baseball fans know, is the absolute minimum number of players to have on a team.
So the folks in charge of athletics at both small rural central schools figured they could build on the success of last autumns merged varsity football program, and field a junior varsity/varsity baseball program. Doing so would give baseball players at both schools a chance to take to the field of dreams as the Livingston Manor-Roscoe Devil Cats.
Faced with a bare-bones baseball program or a non-existent team, it was the right decision at the right time as far as 24 j.v. and varsity players and about another 20 modified players were concerned.
Roscoe Central School Principal Scott Haberli, who is a die-hard New York Mets fan, was tabbed as Head Coach of the j.v./varsity team, while Livingston Manors Kevin Clifford and Christopher Cosmark signed up as Assistant Coaches. The modified baseball team will be coached by Adam Palm of Roscoe and Livingston Manors Dave Hubert.
Im very excited about having baseball again, Haberli said.
I think the kids are going to be thrilled because they are going to see a program that wont put people in positions in which they cant succeed, he added.
For example, Haberli will not have to face the prospect of putting a natural infielder up on the pitchers mound or way out by his lonesome in the outfield.
We have enough kids to work together and improve, and we wont have to put a ninth-grader at third base and have a 200-pound guy hit a line drive right at them.
Haberli said the natural competition for starting positions helps develop kids, even if snagging line drives at the proverbial hot corner.
Practice kicked off two weeks ago, and the first games of the season are scheduled to be played on Monday, April 3.
In the first half of the season, j.v. and varsity practices and games will be held at Livingston Manor; the locations of the practice sessions and games will switch to Roscoe in the second half of the season. At the modified level, its the exact opposite.
Haberli said its too early to tell, but he envisions the possibility of branching off some of the younger j.v. players and scheduling a few games at that level.
Its very clear that if you have quality feeder programs, the results are usually good, he said. Over the years, if we are able to maintain merged baseball, a program will develop.