WELLSBORO — The Wellsboro Hornets baseball team is coming off a solid first season under long-time North Penn-Mansfield coach Matthew Perry, and the Hornets find themselves in an excellent position to put themselves in the hunt for a NTL Division 1 title in the 2020 season.
“I know I was here for three or four years before being in Mansfield,” Perry commented on being on the other end of the rivalry, “And we put together some nice squads. I’m enjoying the guys and they are really excited for this year. We obviously miss a couple of guys who graduated last year, but these guys have come back and I think they want to finish where we left off last year.”
The Hornets lost some serious fire-power in Cam Tennis and Taynton Repard, who both were a key part of the Hornets success last season on their way to an 11-10 record.
Tennis and Repard accounted for 35 hits, 38 runs, 28 RBIs and 17 steals throughout the 2019 season.
Despite the loss of two of the leaders for the Hornets, they return every other player and should have a great season as some of the returning players on the squad start to come into their own as baseball players.
“I’m really happy because it seems like everybody is making strides. We scrimmaged Mansfield yesterday and everybody did something you could tell they improved on in the offseason. Whether it was hitting, throwing or running. So I’m definitely happy,” Perry said.
One of the biggest returning players for the Hornets in 2020 is senior Carson Davis, and is coming off a junior campaign that saw him batting over .400 on the season to go along with a team-high 25 hits, 11 runs and 17 RBIs.
He also proved to be one of the most pivotal players on the mound for the Hornets, recording five wins during the season as a starter and 28 strikeouts that tied for the team-high.
“Well you know he played basketball this season, he’s in good shape and looked really good. He looked great yesterday, so we are looking for him to lead us,” Perry said.
The improvement of Davis as not only a top-hitting option but also what he can produce on the mound will be essential to the success of the Hornets this season.
Some other returning players who are on the radar to have a strong senior season are Silas Wagaman and Billy Lechler. Wagaman is returning after hitting a team-high .411 in 2019 while driving in 15 runs.
Wagaman also stole seven bases during 2019 and should be poised to improve on those numbers in 2020.
Lechler also had a strong season behind the plate, and hit just under .400 on the season with 21 hits, 19 RBIs and 10 runs scored. They will lean on the production of these seniors to lead the way for the Hornets.
“Billy is another player we are going to look at to swing the bat a little bit,” Perry said. “Silas Wagaman is another player with good wheels on the bases.”
With such an experienced roster, Perry will look to his five seniors to guide the younger Hornets team throughout the year.
Some other notable players who are returning that should be big parts of the Hornets this season are Kaeden Mann, Isaac Keane and Zach Rowland who all recorded more than 10 hits this past season.
The Hornets pitching will also rely on one of the best area pitchers in Zack Rowland, who helped lead the team with a 4-3 record on the mound and an incredible 1.27 ERA on the season with 28 strikeouts as just a sophomore.
“He looked good yesterday, so hopefully between Zack and Carson, both these guys step up and get the big wins we’re looking for,” Perry said.
The Hornets have high expectations coming into the season and expect to make some major noise around the NTL in the 2020 baseball season.
“Realistically, I am hopeful for us to be every bit that good, we are very optimistic that we can make a good run. You never know what happens around the league and who’s graduated or who they picked up as a freshman player, but I think we’ll match up well with most teams,” Perry said.
With so much experience on the roster, there is still room for some of the younger players to step in and make an impact as the season goes on.
Expect some of the younger Hornets on the roster to make an impact on the mound if the opportunity arises.
The Hornets baseball team will see their first regular season action of the year when travel to Danville for a matchup on Wednesday, March 25 at 4:30 p.m.