By Ted Waddell
LAKE HUNTINGTON Coach Kurt Scheibe Jr. is in his ninth year of leading the Sullivan West Bulldogs baseball team.
When he was recently asked to outline his expectations for the upcoming 2009 season, Scheibe replied, “Same as every year. Make it to the sections, and once there be competitive.
“A .500 or better league record, beat half the teams we play,” Scheibe added.
So how do Scheibe and the Bulldogs plan to qualify for the Section IX Tournament?
“Hitting and defense,” he said.
The Bulldogs posted a 12-8 record in 2008 and earned a berth in the Section IX Class B Tournament. However, their season ended in the tourney’s quarterfinal round with a 3-2 loss to the Marlboro Dukes.
SW lost three seniors to graduation last June Jesse Fadis, Stefan Levinson and Jim Moloney.
Among the players returning for this season are six seniors Logan Grishaber, Greg MacArthur, Eric Minton, Gaston Owen, Brad Reimer and Harold Smith.
Scheibe expects Grishaber and Reimer to return to the mound as two of the team’s starting pitchers.
“They both pitched a lot of innings last year,” Scheibe said.
What about the bullpen?
“Right now, there’s a lot of different ones we’re looking at,” Scheibe commented. “It’s tough to tell who’s going to step forward as the [number] three and the [number] four [pitchers in the rotation] until we get outside.”
The veteran coach said that “depending on the day” SW will have 11 to 15 players.
Comparing 2008 to 2009, Scheibe said, “It’s tough when you lose people and have younger kids come in and try to fill shoes, and ‘till you get out on the field and look at ‘em, you don’t know what you’re going to get.”
What about the Bulldogs’ strengths this season?
“Hopefully, pitching and defense,” Scheibe replied.
Things the team needs to work on?
“Hitting number one to number nine, improved hitting all through the lineup,” Scheibe said.
He anticipates Reimer and Mark Tesseyman to step up big at the plate, but until the team gets rolling he really won’t know who else is good with a bat.
“We have a good returning cast of senior leadership with a mix of younger talent,” Scheibe said. “I’m very big on team, not on individuals. One kid doesn’t win or lose a game.”
Asked about the difference between a winning and losing team, Scheibe said, “Pitching and defense and take care of the little things.”