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Blue Bombers hope to build on last season’s experience

Front row from left: Scott Sharlow, Matt Brandes, Colin Brandes, Duncan Segger, Noah Marshall, Jesse Izzo and Gage Perry. Back row from left: Assistant coach Ron Rossi, Tyler Hinkley, Colin Hayes, Jake Coursen, Logan Brown, Jarrett Hathaway and head coach Brian Brandes. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — A year ago, a young and inexperienced Lake Placid baseball team struggled its way to a one-win season. With just two seniors on the team this spring, the Blue Bombers will still be young, but they also will be no stranger to competing at the varsity level as they take on their Champlain Valley Athletic Conference schedule.

The Blue Bombers have two big holes to fill after long-time veterans Kamm Cassidy and Evan Damp graduated in 2017. Head coach Brian Brandes will be building his lineup this spring with a mix of returning players and newcomers.

Logan Brown and Colin Hayes are Lake Placid’s two seniors and have been on varsity since their sophomore year. Juniors Scott Sharlow, Jake Coursen, Jesse Izzo and Duncan Segger also bring experience to the diamond as varsity returners.

Seven more players on the Blue Bombers’ 13-member roster will be heading into their first full year on the team, although a handful in that group did spend some time moving between junior varsity and varsity a season ago. The new additions to the squad are juniors Colin Brandes, Jarrett Hathaway, Colden Lawrence, Noah Marshall and Gage Perry, sophomore Tyler Hinkley and freshman Matthew Brandes.

A year ago the state implemented a new pitch-count rule, which has played a role in forcing most teams to rely on more pitchers to get through the season. Brandes said pitching could be one of Lake Placid’s strengths this spring, and play at that position will be a big factor in how successful the Blue Bombers are this year.

Brandes expects Izzo, Sharlow, Hayes and Coursen to be his top four pitchers, and those four will each play key roles in the field when not on the mound. In addition to pitching, Hayes will line up in centerfield, Izzo will be at shortstop, Coursen is listed at third base with Sharlow a utility player.

The Blue Bombers head into this season facing a familiar scenario — like most years they’re getting off to a late start due to the combination of the slow arrival of spring and vacation. As soon as the Blue Bombers were able to get on a diamond, they were already into their schedule, and Brandes said that makes conditioning over the two-week break important.

Brandes summed up the situation quite simply.

“It’s been an indoor preseason,” he said. “We will be focusing on fielding when we get on a field.”

Brandes said two of his team’s toughest foes in Division II this season will be Ticonderoga and Northern Adirondack, who he described as “strong.”

Brandes said with the roster the Blue Bombers have, a successful season would include a winning record in the CVAC and a sectional championship.

Brandes is returning to coach for his ninth season, and Ron Rossi will also be back as assistant coach.

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