Lockport hoping to open its NFL slate Monday at Sal Maglie
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Added depth and a solid group of contact hitters from one through nine should make for a productive season at the plate for the 2013 Lockport baseball Lions.
The only thing standing in the way right now is Mother Nature.
Head coach Steve Styrzo’s Lions aren’t as anxious to get started as they are just to get outdoors. Styrzo said the team’s been outside just four times so far this year, including two rain-shortened scrimmages against Lancaster and Starpoint.
“I think we’re one of the better teams in the league this year, but we’ll let the chips fall where they may,” Styrzo said.
Lockport finished 12-2 in the Niagara Frontier League a year ago, runner-up to league-champion Niagara Falls.
Among the team’s key losses to graduation are great two-way players Nick DeMartile, Rob Arlington and Nate Schneider. Key returners this spring include the team’s tri-captains juniors Danny Bronson, Charlie Sobieraski and Noah VanDenBosch.
Bronson and sophomore Tyler Fraas will handle the catching duties, Sobieraski will play third and share mound duties with VanDenBosch, seniors Mike Bouchard, Casey Domski and Alex Weaver; juniors Rhys Vanbourgondien and southpaw Brad Wroblewski; and sophomore Alex Licata.
The rest of the Lions’ infield will include Fraas at short, Dougherty at second, backed by sophomore Kyle Waple; Weaver and Wroblewski at first; and Domski and Diebel at third. Outfielders will include Domski in centerfield, senior Will Diebel, Wroblewski, VanDenBosch, Bouchard and sophomore Tyler Goodridge.
In addition, several Lions were listed as “utility players” by Styrzo, meaning the coach can play them anywhere and be confident in their abilities to do the job. This group includes well-rounded players Diebel, Goodridge and juniors Bryce Perry and John Traversone.
Four sophomores, eight juniors and four seniors make up the Lions’ 16-player roster.
“We’re deeper than we’ve been in the past and we’re young,” Styrzo said.
Among the teams to beat in the NFL this year are Niagara Falls and Grand Island, but Styrzo said that once again, any NFL team can beat another on any given day.
Returning to assist Styrzo in the dugout this year is assistant coach Mark DeMartile, who Styrzo credits with his team’s .300-plus batting average over the last two seasons.
“His combination of hitting philosophy and teaching techniques has improved our overall at-bats all the way through the line-up, from one to nine,” Styrzo said. “We are a threat.”
Lockport’s home opener is slated for 4:45 p.m. Wednesday against Grand Island at Outwater Park. Lockport’s junior varsity baseball coach is Trait Smith.