By Drew Terhall
ANSONIA — The Ansonia High School baseball team will be running it back with a lot of the same roster as last season.
The team graduated two seniors and will have a bunch of talent returning. Head coach Dustin Hecht said the younger guys will have bigger roles this year. Roles that are similar to those assigned to seniors.
“Those guys are coming into a leadership role now, even as juniors. We got three seniors on the team. Having that experience and the success we had already, it’s just building up confidence. We’re coming in looking really good,” Hecht said.
Last season, Ansonia had three underclassmen names to the All-WOAC teams. Junior Keegen Weiss was named to the All-WOAC First Team last season. Weiss had an average of .407 with 22 RBI and pitched in 10 games with an ERA of 1.796. He also racked up 81 strikeouts. That was half of the teams strikeouts on the season. Sophomore Trendon Spence was named to the second team. Spence hit for an average of .316 with 15 RBI. Spence also pitched in seven games and finished with an ERA of 2.435 with 35 strikeouts. Junior Nick Burns was a special mention after hitting for an average of .200 with 12 stolen bases.
Hecht said there will be some shuffle to fill the open spots left vacant by the seniors. He will also have a player returning from injury last season to add to the rotation.
So far, it seems like the changes are working. Hecht said the players in new positions have looked good and the team as a whole has looked good. The benefits of having the young talent play early is starting to show.
“Pretty much all of these starters have been starters since they were freshmen because we haven’t had a JV, we haven’t had the numbers. So getting that experience in the varsity level all through and then they’re sticking together is starting to pay off now,” Hecht said.
Ansonia finished third in the WOAC with a 7-4 conference record and a 13-8 overall record. They are poised to get back to being one of the top teams in the conference with their returning talent.
To get those wins, the Tigers will be looking for their defense to carry them for awhile. Hecht said the defense will hold the team together as the hitting continues to come around for the team. They can find ways to string enough hits together to get runs on the board, as long as the pitching and defense can give them the chance to.
“We’re going to have to finish games. We have to go out and play defense for seven innings. We’re going have to cut down the errors,” Hecht said.
Last season was one of the best in the school’s history. Hecht said from what he has seen and looked at, the 13 wins last season was the best in Ansonia baseball history.
He said the team and himself are excited to build on what they started last season. The Tigers could top the season they had last year.
“These guys are coming in, they got the confidence. They’re ready to continue to go after that,” Hecht said.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]