SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Central Catholic varsity baseball team enters 2023 with a unique combination of youth and experience, looking to improve on its 2022 campaign.
Head coach Alphonse Lambert, entering his 35th season leading the Saints, said the team did not have any seniors last year, with nearly the entire team returning this season. Many of the Saints’ players have already spent multiple years at the varsity level, despite still being underclassmen.
“Some of these guys are entering their third year, even though they started in seventh or eighth grade, which is kind of amazing,” said Lambert. “A lot of these guys are kind of seasoned veterans in their sophomore year, because they’ve been playing since eighth grade.”
Lambert said he believes the team can compete in the Wasaren League this season, bolstered by strong pitching and defense. The Saints enter the season with a planned three-man pitching rotation of sophomores Ronan Rowe, Tyler Weygand, and freshman Pierce Byrne.
Ryan Gillis, Aidan Crowther, Kihl Kelly, Carson Moser, and Chris Lockwood will also be factors on the mound, Lambert said. The Saints’ head coach said the team’s defense should be another strength, backstopped by sophomore Hunter Fales, entering his third season as the team’s catcher.
“I think Hunter will be an asset behind the plate,” Lambert said. “I like our middle infield play, with (Ryan) Gillis and Tyler Weygand.”
Rowe said the team “learned a lot” in the 2022 season and is looking to build on their growth.
“It was definitely a build-off type of year,” said Rowe. “I think we’ll have more momentum coming into this year.”
“We’re just looking for improvement,” added Byrne. “We had a pretty good year last year, but there’s still a lot more we can improve.”
Lambert acknowledged the team will need to bring intensity every day, saying the Wasaren League is “no joke.”
“We have a goal this year, to take it one inning at a time,” said Lambert. “Here at Saratoga Catholic, our goal is always to be in the mix of things for a league championship.”