Baseball Preview: Greenhills faces transition year and loss of a key player with optimism

 

The Greenhills baseball team is in transition in several ways this season but on the field they should be “transitioning” a lot of games into the win column.

Tom Ward, a familiar face around the school at Greenhills including the athletic program, takes over the head-coaching position for baseball this year.

Greenhills also is joining a talented and competitive C-D Division of the Catholic League this year. The move to a new conference will also be compounded with the first year playing conference games with the “3-ball, 2-strike” modification.

New coach. New league. New rules. Three strikes but Greenhills certainly is not “out” on this season. Quite the opposite, actually.

Greenhills, which went 12-10 last season and finished third in the MIAC (Michigan Independent Athletic Conference) Blue, has plenty of talent to make that transition with this year including top returning players Josh Hendrian (CF), Aidan Brewer (SS/P), Alex Winning (C) and Ben Cole (2B).

Top new players will include Stevie Snabes (CF), Henry Branch (3B/P) and Alex Cole (1B/RF/P).

Ward, who says his true passion is baseball, can’t wait for the first pitch of the season.

“We should be extremely sound defensively,” says Ward. “Our middle infielders (Aidan Brewer and Ben Cole) are juniors who have started at their positions since the beginning of their freshmen years. Catcher Alex Winning, also a junior, will be entering his second year as our starting catcher and likely will be our lead-off hitter.”

And the roster has some depth.

“Our lineup should be the deepest we’ve had in years,” Ward said. “Juniors Drake Rosenberg (1B) and Alex Schneider (LF) will round out the middle of the lineup. Junior Stevie Snabes, a phenomenal defensive centerfielder, will likely take the place of injured senior Josh Hendrian.”

There are plenty of things to work on before the team takes the field on April 4 vs. Bay City John Glenn at Washtenaw Community College.

“Our pitching staff, while promising, is very young,” Ward said. “A sophomore trio of Henry Branch, Alex Cole and Gabe Seir project to be our primary starters. Branch and Seir saw varsity innings as freshmen, with Seir expected to lead the staff. With only one senior currently in the program, there will be increased expectations and responsibilities on a deep and talented junior class.”

Greenhills should be a solid team, one that should only improve as the season moves along.

“Despite having only one senior, the team is deeply experienced,” Ward said. “The junior class features four players that have started since they were freshmen (Brewer, Ben Cole, Schneider, Winning) and the sophomore class is equally deep with players ready to expand their varsity roles.”

Much of the success of the season will rely on how well Greenhills replaces the huge loss of Hendrian, the team’s only senior and four-year starter who injured his knee.

“There are plenty of talented, younger players ready to step in, but it may take some time for them to adjust to seeing full-time varsity at-bats,” Ward said. “If the bottom third of the lineup can progress and fill Hendrian’s void and the sophomore-led pitching staff meets its potential, there is a recipe for a very successful season.”
 

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