By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The baseball preview for the Streetsboro Rockets’ 2023 season:
Head Coach: Matthew Helm, 3rd year, 15-29 career record.
Coaching Staff: Katie Hurst, Mike Sweet, Jeff Fetas.
2022 Record: 8-14 overall, 5-9 Metro Athletic Conference.
Returning Letterwinners (8): Lacy Campbell, sr.; Reanna Barzal, sr.; Samantha Gadus, jr.; Danielle Laflame, jr.; Cortney Evert, jr.; Nicole Roman, jr.; Sydney Burfield, soph.; Hailey Miller, soph.
Letterwinners Lost (5): Isabella Leonardi, Kennedy Danna, Mallory Rice, Megan Szczecinski, Gia Hlad.
Team Captains: Lacy Cambell, Reanne Barzal.
Underclassmen to Watch: Audi Wert, Payton Williams, Katie Roman, T’Lanee Boyett.
Hailey Miller: .353 average.
Courtney Evert: 17 hits, 13 walks.
Danielle Laflame: 3 home runs, 10 walks.
Nicole Roman: 36 strikeouts (pitching), 74.0 innings.
Sydney Burfield: 29.2 innings pitched.
“We return a lot of experience, however, most are all in new positions,” head coach Matthew Helm said. “They have a great attitude and come every day to improve and put the work in.”
Sophomore Audi Wert is very athletic and has a good arm. She will make the jump to varsity after being used mostly as a pinch-runner and junior varsity pitcher in 2022.
Junior Danielle Laflame, who belted three home runs last year, was the starter at first base last year, but has made the transition to shortstop this year.
“Danielle has a strong arm and quick reactions,” Helm said.
Senior Lacy Campbell, a team captain, started at first base as a sophomore, but missed last season. She will start at second base this year, and she has “made great strides and looks solid,” according to Helm.
Senior Reanne Barzal, another team captain, will also see time at second base.
Junior Cortney Evert is described by Helm as “highly competitive with a nice bat.” She will start at first base after spending last year in right field.
Sophomore Hailey Miller started last year as a JV player and finished the year as the varsity starting catcher.
“She has a good arm and feet and is also consistent at the plate,” Helm said.
Freshman Katie Roman will split time with Miller behind the plate.
Junior Samantha Gadus was named All-Metro Athletic Conference as a freshman and was the team’s best defensive player last year. Gadus is also one of the team’s top hitters.
Roman has shown a “nice arm and consistency at the plate,” according to Helm.
Another newcomer to the program, freshman T’Lanee Boyett will provide depth to the outfield.
“She is very athletic, driven and has looked good in our intra-squad scrimmages,” Helm said.
Miller will also play in the outfield at times this season.
Junior Nicole Roman registered four wins last season and enters as a three-year starter. Sophomore Sydney Burfield also had four wins in 2022.
Meanwhile, freshman Payton Williams will primarily be the Rockets’ JV pitcher, but will get a few varsity starts and some relief work as well.
“We have really good team speed and good chemistry,” Helm said. “We have a lot of young ladies that will step up and be leaders and take control of situations. Our communication, work ethic and responsibility have been amazing.”
“We lost a lot of talent and big bats from last year’s team,” Helm said. “We also have a lot of players moving to new positions in order to fill the gaps of last year’s seniors. Only two players return to where they started in 2022.”
March 28: vs. Crestwood
March 29: at Field
March 30: vs. Ravenna
April 1: vs. Massillon Washington (DH)
April 3: at Cloverleaf
April 4: at Norton
April 5: at Garfield
April 6: vs. Waterloo
April 10: vs. Woodridge
April 11: vs. Coventry
April 13: at Springfield
April 17: vs. Norton
April 18: at Ravenna
April 22: vs. Solon at Howland
April 22: at Howland
April 24: vs. Cloverleaf
April 25: vs. Field
May 1: at Woodridge
May 2: vs. Springfield
May 4: at Coventry