CHERRY VALLEY – The Cherry Valley-Springfield baseball team is fully loaded with talent and poised to defend its first Tri-Valley League championship since 1982.
With seven returning seniors, head coach Ed Dubben feels his Patriots are the team to beat. “Definitely, their experience is going to carry us,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of talent.”
CV-S only lost one player from last year’s team, a squad that won its fourth division championship in five years. Hyde Clark was the ace of the pitching staff (6-1, 1.55 ERA, 91 K) and the team’s best hitter (.534, 1 HR, 26 RBI), but Steve Herringshaw seems ready to fill the loss of Clark.
Herringshaw’s .439 batting average and 25 RBI were second on the team last year, but his seven doubles led the team, and his three homeruns tied for the team lead.
Dubben expects Herringshaw to be the ace of the pitching staff this year. “He’s got an overpowering fastball and hits his spots well,” Dubben said.
“He could definitely play somewhere (college) next year.” Herringshaw led the staff last year with 2.4 strikeouts per inning.
Dubben said Herringshaw’s curveball is also very good and looks like a fastball as it approaches the batter. Herringshaw also has a “pretty good” splitter.
Senior Ben Haley will be the No. 2 pitcher. Haley’s 1.33 ERA led the team last year, and along with Clark and Herringshaw, he shared the brunt of the mound work on a team loaded with pitching (13 of 15 roster players this year can pitch).
Haley has three to four pitches in his repertoire.
He is more of a spot pitcher than Herringshaw, mixing up his speeds and relying on his good curveball to force a lot of ground balls.
Haley is also a good hitter, batting .375 last year with 13 RBI and a team-high four triples. His 28 runs were second on the squad.
Senior Shawn Sheldon and sophomore Adam Haley will be the third and fourth starters. They pitched a combined 12 innings last year, with Sheldon fanning 16 batters in 8 IP and posting a 1.82 ERA. “He has nasty stuff,” Dubben said. Haley comes at the hitters with a lot of different arm angles. “He’s got a live arm,” Dubben said. “In Pony League, it was nothing for him to throw one-hitters.”
Anthony Brant will round out the pitching staff. Brant is a 6 foot 4 inch junior who throws in the low 80s. Brant is also a threat at the plate and on the basepaths. His 10 stolen bases led the team, and his three homeruns tied for the team high. Brant batted .371 with 15 RBI, 24 runs and five doubles.
Another threat at the plate is senior Mathias VanDerwerker. The catcher batted .415 with two homeruns, 18 RBI, 20 runs and five doubles.
Senior Jeremy Hoag is not a power hitter, but batted .345 with 22 runs last year and swiped seven bases. Dubben said Hoag is good at getting on base and could be the Patriots’ leadoff hitter.
Ian Hull, another senior, is also a capable hitter. Hull batted .340 last year with 10 RBI and 14 runs.
CV-S also had three reserves – David Adams, Adam Haley and Chris Anderson – who all batted over .400. “They could start on most other teams,” Dubben said. “The trouble with having this much talent is trying to get them all playing time. I wish I had this problem every year. I could probably start 13 to 14 guys on any given day.”
The Patriots are just as deep at the plate as they are at the mound. CV-S scored 210 runs in 18 games last year.
“We want to repeat as champs, and we feel we’re the team to beat,” Dubben said. “But we know we can’t rest on what we did last year.”
Dubben also hopes to go further in sectionals this year. The Patriots gave up four unearned runs in a 4-3 first round loss to Schenevus last season.
“That hasn’t sat right with me all year,” Dubben said.
“Mental mistakes did us in. We definitely outplayed them the rest of the way.”