The final Class B team that we’ll preview before the start of the season is Hastings. The Yellow Jackets had their season ended by Croton in the first round last year, but bring back a strong senior class that could help them get further in 2015. All-Section ace Bryan Gunther returns to lead the pitching staff, and coach Jesse Waters sounds confident that the guys behind him will be better this season. He also likes the way that his team has been looking defensively, which leaves the lineup as the biggest concern for Hastings. The Yellow Jackets are looking like a borderline top 10 team in Class B entering the season, but they also could have the potential to climb up and join the true contenders if things fall into place.
Here is more from Waters:
How many years have you been coaching at your current school? I have been coaching for 12 years at Hastings.
How did your team fare last season? 9-11. Lost to Croton-Harmon in the first round of the Class B playoffs.
Who are your top returning players? My top returning players are Charlie Costello, Matt Linder, Bryan Gunther, Eammon Maher, Jack Campson and Matt Stanger (all seniors).
Who are the top players that you lost to graduation? The top player lost to graduation was Holden Squibb.
How do you feel about your pitching entering the season? I feel pretty good about the pitching this year. We return our No. 1 pitcher from last year and I think that the rest off the pitchers have gotten stronger and are ready to take some pressure and innings away from Bryan.
Your lineup? I think the lineup has some holes to fill. We lost our best hitter, but I think that we have the players on the roster that should be able to step in and provide the offense we lost from last year. I also feel that some of the full-time additions to the lineup could help to make it better than last year.
Your defense? Our defense should be good. The outfield could end up being the best one we have had in five years, all three guys are blessed with speed. The middle has been playing together for years, so the infield should be solid.
What are your team goals? Our team goals are to compete for a league title and to be playing our best baseball come playoff time and see what happens.
Which team(s) is your biggest rival? Dobbs.
When is your opening game? Our first game is Monday the 30th in Myrtle Beach.
On deck: Pearl River
NOTE TO COACHES: We’ll be running these team previews everyday leading up to the start of the season. If you didn’t receive my email for some reason, you can contact me at email@example.com and I’ll be glad to send you a capsule to fill out.