Young Panthers put solid experience on baseball diamond

George Eilers

George Eilers

WOODSIDE — There are only three seniors on the Polytech High baseball team this season.

But don’t be fooled by that number. The Panthers have plenty of experience.

Along with the three seniors, Polytech has 12 juniors, a good portion of which have been on varsity since their freshman season. That experience has helped Polytech get off to a 2-0 start on the young season.

“We brought them up to varsity early on because they were goal-oriented kids,” said Polytech coach George Eilers. “They’re high achievers and they’ve all played together since they were little kids. We’ve had a young group for the last few years, and hopefully the bumps we took over those years can start to pay off in wins now and we can play good baseball.”

Polytech graduated three starters from last season’s team that went 9-8.

It returns juniors Cole Garey, Carter Chasanov and Joey Haas, who all started as freshmen two years ago. Senior Logan Olshenske also is a three-year veteran for the Panthers.

Miguel Rivera entered the pitching rotation last season as a sophomore and is another key returner. Brandon Case and John Brennan round up the senior class on the roster, while Chace Biron and Chase Bayley are two other juniors who were on varsity as sophomores a year ago.

“This team is capable of a lot this year,” Garey said. “We’re all getting to be upperclassmen now and we’ve grown together as a team since we were freshmen. We’ve done pretty well these last two games and I think we want to carry that on throughout the rest of the year.

“The chemistry is strong. We all like each other, we’re all pretty good friends and that carries on to the baseball field.”

Since they’ve been in the program for a couple of years now, Eilers is hopeful these players can take the next step in their development.

“It is an interesting mix which leads to a lot of question marks,” he said “We have some juniors who are starting this year who have played more varsity games than an average high school kid would play in their career. The question is now, have they mentally improved every year? That’s what remains to be seen and that’s the challenge for us as a coaching staff. We thought these kids were good enough when they were young; now we have to make sure they keep improving.”

Polytech has certainly proven it can swing the bats in its first two games.

The Panthers have scored double-digit runs in both contests, a 23-13 victory over Indian River on Wednesday followed by a 11-1 defeat of Lake Forest on Thursday. Garey led the offense on Wednesday with a home run while Rivera and sophomore Brendan Davis doubled.

Garey also drove in a pair of runs against Lake Forest as Rivera, Bayley, and Oleshenske each chipped in two hits apiece.

Eilers was encouraged by those performances, but was quick to point out the conditions were ripe for a lot of offense.

“I think we’ve played on two fields with gale force winds and I think that definitely helped us,” Eilers laughed. “But yeah I’m pretty happy with how we’ve swung the bats and how we’re having productive at-bats, which is what I’m most happy about. We’ve been able to work counts and hit in fastball situations; hopefully we can continue to do that.”

Polytech opens its Henlopen Conference Northern Division schedule this week with a trip to Dover High for a 4:15 p.m. game on Wednesday.

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