By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The baseball preview for the Streetsboro Rockets’ 2023 season:
Head Coach: Chris Scisciani, 18th year, 174-205-1 career record.
Coaching Staff: Ira Campbell, Kevin Kukla, Ricky Delambo, Brady Marlow, Jared Tuma.
2022 Record: 13-9 overall, 8-6 Metro Athletic Conference, sectional championship.
Returning Lettermen (7): Colby Benjamin, sr.; Kyle Liddle, sr.; Noah Newman, sr.; Nick Setters, sr.; Jack Pincoe, jr.; Jack Batten, soph.; Braden Craft, soph.
Lettermen Lost (6): Mike Sweet, Jake Smolik, Evan Morris, Steve Michniak, Maysun Klimak, Jorge Herrera Sosa.
Underclassmen to Watch: Jack Batten, Braden Craft, Jack Pincoe, Matt Klimak, Joe Hashman, Jayden Coffie, Scott Wilson.
Noah Newman: 23 hits, 5 doubles, 14 RBI, 17 runs, 12 walks.
Colby Benjamin: 21 hits, 14 runs.
“We lost six lettermen and five starters from last year’s team, so that is going to be hard to overcome, but we are optimistic,” head coach Chris Scisciani said. “We still have a few key returning starters and some really good young guys to help get back to where we were last season to compete to win the league and make it back to the districts.”
First Base — Senior Colby Benjamin converted to the position last year and held down the position well.
Benjamin will also play some outfield and will also be part of the pitching staff.
Senior Kyle Liddle will also see some time at first base this year, but has versatility, so he will also play some innings at third base and catcher depending on who is pitching.
“Kyle is going to be a utility guy for us and will be in the lineup a ton this season.”
Second Base — Junior Jack Pincoe will likely start most frequently at second base, but will also play some shortstop and third base.
He is also one of the Rockets’ top-three pitchers.
Another player that will get innings is freshman Scott Wilson, who may also become part of the team’s pitching staff.
Shortstop — Sophomore Jack Batten earned the starting role as a freshman last year and became one of the team’s premier defensive players.
“We are looking for big things from him this year,” Scisciani said.
Sophomore Braden Craft will also see time at shortstop, when Batten is pitching, and Craft will also play second base when Pincoe pitches.
Craft is also one of the team’s top catchers.
“Braden is a very good baseball player, and he can do it all,” Scisciani said.
Third Base — Freshman Jayden Coffie has earned the starting role at third base.
“This kid can be special,” Scisciani said. “He is very young, but we are excited about him.”
Coffie can move around the diamond, with the ability to also play first base, catcher and pitch.
Senior Luke Jacobs, junior Jasper Atkin and junior Hunter Pollock will all also see time in the infield this season for the Rockets.
Catcher — The trio of Craft, Liddle and Setters will work behind the plate for the Rockets.
“Braden will see significant time behind the dish depending on who is pitching. He has a great arm and is a very good defensive catcher,” Scisciani said. “We feel comfortable will all three of our catchers this season.”
Senior centerfielder Noah Newman, who also pitches, spotlights the group and has been a key contributor since his freshman season.
“Noah has been our best hitter the past two seasons. We are looking forward to his leadership and experience this year,” Scisciani said.
Sophomores Matt Klimak and Joey Hashman will also play major innings this season.
“Matt will play multiple outfield positions, depending on who is pitching. This will be his first year starting on varsity, and he has good speed and can play small ball,” Scisciani said. “Joey also has great speed.”
Wilson and Benjamin, who both will play some infield, will show their versatility and could potentially play some outfield as well.
Seniors Kaleb Fisher, Luke Jacobs and Nick Setter all also will play outfield.
The Rockets’ top pitchers are Newman, Pincoe and Batten, while Craft, Wilson, Pollock, Atkin, fisher, Jacobs, Coffie, Liddle and Hashman are all expected to deliver innings this season.
“We are very young, but we have a lot of guys back that have varsity experience,” Scisciani said.
“We are young and lost six seniors, including five starters,” Scisciani said.
March 28: vs. Mogadsore
March 29: vs. Southeast
March 30: vs. Norton
April 3: at Norton
April 4: vs. Coventry
April 6: vs. Waterloo
April 7: at West Branch
April 10: vs. Ravenna
April 11: at Ravenna
April 14: vs. Barberton
April 17: at Field
April 18: vs. Field
April 20: at Norton
April 24: at Springfield
April 25: vs. Springfield
April 27: vs. Western Reserve Academy
April 28: vs. Garfield
May 1: vs. Cloverleaf
May 2: at Cloverleaf
May 4: at Orange
May 8: vs. Woodridge
May 9: at Woodridge
May 11: at Western Reserve Academy
May 12: vs. Crestwood
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