By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The baseball preview for the Crestwood Red Devils’ 2023 season:
Head Coach: Chris Stanley, 2nd year, 7-10 career record.
Coaching Staff: Scott Craig, Don Jones, Brandon Baldwin, John Baldwin, Rob Roe.
2022 Record: 7-10 overall; 6-6 Chagrin Valley Conference.
Returning Lettermen (7): Jonas Honeycutt, sr.; JP Wrobel, jr.; Tristan Addis, soph.; Landon Keuzner, soph.; Charlie Sommer, soph.; Elijah Jurisch, soph.
Lettermen Lost (6): Jacob Dustman, Kyle Gregel, Jake Rowe, Kaden Plechaty, Bryce Bennett, James Peters.
Underclassmen to Watch: Wyatt Januska, Bobby Bradley, Nolan Huntington, Kyle Shelhamer.
Jonas Honeycutt: .477 average, 21 hits, 13 RBI, 11 stolen bases, 15 walks.
JP Wrobel: .327 average.
Charlie Sommer: 21.2 innings pitched.
“We are young and still lack depth and numbers, but we had a decent year last year and learned a lot about what it takes to be competitive,” second-year coach Chris Stanley said. “We did not win more than we lost so there is always that looming overhead.
“We have much to accomplish and the group of young men have the mentality and fortitude to do great things,” Stanley added. “Our primary goal is to be in every contest and fight until the last out. We want our opponents to have to play their best to beat us.
“Obviously, if we can ensure player development, have a winning season and post a run in the playoffs, that would be optimum.”
Shortstop Tristan Addis and first baseman Charlie Sommers are the Red Devils’ two returning starters in the infield.
“Both settled into their positions and steadily improved throughout last season,” Stanley said.
Steven Lincoln and Landon Keuzner, both sophomores, are in a competition for playing time at third base.
At second base, the trio of freshmen Kyle Shelhamer and Bobby Bradley, along with sophomore Cameron Gross, will see time.
Sophomore Cooper Pausch is expected to earn innings at first base and catcher.
“We are extremely young with our infield, with no one above the sophomore class getting most of the reps,” Stanley said.
Jonas Honeycutt excelled behind the plate for the Devils last season and is the leading returner in most statistical categories.
He was unanimously named First Team All-CVC.
Cooper Pausch will play some behind the plate if Honeycutt is needed to play some outfield.
Junior JP Wrobel returns to play centerfield after earning Honorable Mention All-Chagrin Valley Conference last season.
Right field and left field are open and Stanley said that “virtually every remaining rostered player is fighting for this spots or as a backup.”
From that group, freshman Wyatt Januska and Nolan Huntington are competing for time, while sophomores Elijah Jurisch and Sam Wright, junior Michael Fergus and seniors Josh Sherman and Isaac Yanovich are pushing for time.
Sommer returns with the most innings pitched from last year, and he has earned the team’s No. 1 spot in the rotation.
After that, the Devils have a multitude of arms that will be called upon, including Januska, Eyerman, Yanovich, Honeycutt, Pausch, Lincoln, Shelhamer, Addis, Jurisch and Fergus.
“The only upside to our very thin roster is that over half of our kids will pitch on the varsity level,” Stanley said. “If they can get ahead in the count and throw strikes, I think we have a good chance in every contest. This position will be our linchpin.”
“It is a new season with a new reason,” Stanley said. “A new reason to work hard, get better and compete. This group is starting to establish an identity and it is not an identity that was forged by the coaching staff, but rather, by themselves as they learn to navigate what it takes to play at a high level and with a purpose.”
“Our low numbers make us extremely vulnerable if injuries plague us,” Stanley said.
March 28: at Benedictine
March 29: at University School
April 1: vs. Mogadore
April 3: vs. Edgewood
April 5: at Chippewa
April 6: vs. Dover
April 8: at Rootstown (DH)
April 11: at Grand Valley
April 12: vs. Grand Valley
April 17: vs. Berkshire
April 18: at Berkshire
April 24: vs. Harvey
April 25: at Harvey
May 1: at Cardinal
May 2: vs. Cardinal
May 4: at Lake Center Christian
May 8: at Kirtland
May 9: vs. Kirtland
May 12: at Streetsboro