South returns four starters from the squad that finished one game over .500 last spring but the Rebels have a large senior class and several others eager to put in the work.
Head coach Steve Norris hopes that leads to more success in 2018.
“I expect that we should improve on our 2017 season,” Norris said. “The coaching staff believes that our pitching should be more solid and the middle of our lineup should be better able to contribute. Our goal at the outset of the season is to be competing for conference and district championships.”
With five seniors projected in the starting lineup, the Rebels aren’t short on leadership.
“This year’s senior class is very focused and has been working hard daily,” Norris said. “The seniors have really stepped up their leadership in order to impact the achievement of the team and it is showing. We have a good mix of upper and underclassmen and they all get along and genuinely enjoy being around each other.”
Seniors Dom Prevesk and Steven D’Eusanio figure to play key roles this spring.
Prevesk, who will continue his education and playing career at Tri-C, will start at second base and also is in the pitching rotation.
“Dom Prevesk brings constant energy and attitude to the team and helps to pump up the players,” Norris said. “He is willing to do whatever it takes push the team to be successful.”
D’Eusanio, a Youngstown State commitment, will play third and pitch.
“Steve D’Eusanio is a very solid fielder and batter and his energy and physicality should provide some support for our pitching staff at the plate,” Norris said.
Seniors Connor Ashurst, Brandon Huff and Tyler Waseleski also are expected to start. Ashurst will play first, Huff will be in center field and Waseleski will patrol right.
Junior Zach Houghtaling will catch and pitch for the Rebels.
“Zach Houghtaling is a junior catcher who handles the plate very well,” Norris said. “He works well with all of the pitchers and plays the game of baseball the right way.”
Sophomores Jackson Homage, a shortstop, and John Susnik, who will play left field, round out the starting lineup.
Senior Mitchell Ruple also will pitch for the Rebels.
“In order to be successful, our team must play together, which they are doing well already, our pitchers must maintain composure and throw strikes, which they have been doing a better job of, and our batters must have good, focused at bats,” Norris said. “If we can experience sustained success in these three areas we should be very good.”