2016 Season Preview: PIAA District III (Class A & AA)

By Jacob Gill
Pennsylvania Assistant Director of Scouting

We ping-pong back over to the eastern half of the state to begin the middle third of our district preview articles, which will run for three weeks up to the first official PIAA competition date on March 24. Each article includes a list of top prospects from amongst the cohort of schools, as well as write-ups of a number of teams in the cohort.

We received inquiries last year regarding how we decide which teams to detail. A team profiled in the article is less an indication of what type of season we expect it to have and more a function of how much information we are able to compile. For example, if we have not seen a team in person (there are over 600 baseball-playing high schools in the state), stats are not available on-line, and a school district spam filter gobbled up our e-mails to the coach that contained the questionnaire, we might not have enough information to write a full paragraph on that school.

[mouse over pics for player names]

PIAA District III Class A & AA Top Prospects

Dillon Marsh1. Dillon Marsh, 2018, LHP/1B/OF, Lancaster Catholic (Wake Forest)
2. Pete Vaccaro, 2017, IF, Oley Valley
3. Bayley Jamanis, 2016, 3B/RHP, Lancaster Catholic (Seton Hill)
4. Kyle Ebersole, 2016, RHP, Lancaster County Christian (Lincoln Memorial)
5. Kyle Glouner, 2016, RHP, Upper Dauphin Area (Randolph Macon)
6. Aaron Kulp, 2016, RHP, Kutztown Area (Bloomsburg)
7. Tyler Peters, 2017, C, Lancaster Catholic
8. Brayden Clair, 2017, OF, Lancaster Catholic

Class A

Kyle EbersoleLancaster County Christian coach Chris Burns set the bar pretty high in his first season, as the Lions ripped off twelve victories to end the season and capture the state championship. A young pitching staff that includes sophomore RHPs Jeremy Brubaker (15.1 IP, 7 H, 13 BB, 16 K) and Luke Sprenkle, plus freshman RHP Caleb Heck, will all fill roles behind returning workhorse Ebersole (81.1 IP, 54 H, 12 BB, 84 K). The line-up has five large holes that need to be filled by less experienced players like junior shortstop Andrew Rohrbaugh, but a solid production base returns in the form of senior catcher Hunter Smucker (.281 AVG), senior outfielder Ben Glessner (.406 avg), third baseman Brubaker (.325 AVG, 9 SB), and first baseman Ebersole (.435 AVG, 21 BB vs 6 K).

District runner-up Millersburg Area graduated two of its top three pitchers, but returns junior Tri-Vally 1st-team LHP Christian Wingard (36.1 IP, 27 H, 27 BB, 39 K) to front the rotation, while the strike-throwing duo of senior Kolton Latshaw and sophomore Hunter Grexon each logged double-digit innings last year and could see their role increase. Outfielder Wingard (.429 AVG) will also pace the offense.

An 8-9 record might not seem like a successful year at first glance, but when it follows a winless campaign, there are certainly signs of progress for Christian School of York. Junior 1st-team all-CCAC RHP/SS Ben Bills is back to lead the Crusaders with his arm (41.1 IP, 29 H, 4 BB, 48 K) and bat (.535 AVG). Senior LHP/2B (yes, you read that right; he's ambidextrous) Anthony Torreulla, a transfer from Garden Spot (where he hit .308), is also expected to contribute as a two-way performer, while sophomore RHP Thomas Jacobs and senior catcher Matt Taylor should make an impact as well.

Mitchell TaylorGreenwood will look to take a leap forward under fourth-year coach Mark Sherman this spring after graduating zero seniors from last year's roster. Senior LHP Brady Stover, who has missed most of the last two years due to injury, is expected to carry the pitching staff along with senior RHP Mitch Taylor (37.1 IP, 52 H, 35 BB, 45 K) and sophomore 2nd-team Tri-Valley all-star RHP Drew Paden (25 IP, 40 H, 14 BB, 34 K).

Mount Calvary Christian coach Jim Sintic will be rebuilding his pitching staff around the RHP duo of Andrew Toth and Jared Landis, the only returners to have logged double-digit innings last year. First baseman Damien Albury (.280 AVG) will team with shortstop Toth (.368 AVG, 9 BB vs 8 K) and outfielder Landis (.310 AVG, 8 SB) to power the offense.

Class AA

Tyler PetersBayley JamanisIn his second season, Lancaster Catholic coach Ty Book welcomes back his entire pitching staff and eight of nine position player starters. Virtually the entire offense raked last year, posting a composite .361 average with 91 walks and 22 hit-by-pitches against 84 strikeouts. Power numbers could see a spike this year as players like Marsh and Peters continue to mature. Jamanis, sophomore outfielder Gabe Cicala and the junior keystone combo of shortstop Mitch Eck and Bryan Downey will also be major contributors, as could Clair, a transfer from Elizabethtown Area. The young southpaw duo of Marsh and freshman Nick Breznak will team with senior RHPs Shawn Henry (Point Park commit) and Andrew DeBord atop the rotation, while Jamanis will transition into the closer role.

Pete VaccaroLed by Albright-bound, all-Berks IF/RHP Matt Fisher, Oley Valley returns a solid core of players from its district semifinal team that dropped a 15-inning instant classic to eventual district champ Camp Hill. A pair of junior all-Berks Division III honorees -- Vaccaro and catcher Tyler Wentzel -- will help power coach Rick Harrison's offense. Senior all-Berks Division III OF/RHP Sebastian Williamson and two honorable mention selections -- sophomore LHP/Util Gavin Blankenbiller and junior IF/RHP Nate Christman -- will also contribute as two-way players.

Defending district champ Camp Hill graduated its staff ace/leading hitter, but still returns a solid core of its pitching staff and speedy line-up. Expected to lead the title defense will be a quartet of senior all-Mid-Penn Capital honorees: 1st-team OF/P Jack Dunphy, 2nd-team P/IFs Andrew Freedenberg and Michael Shuster, and honorable mention shortstop Mark Leach.

Brenden KennedyJunior SS/RHP Brendan Kennedy will look to assume a leadership role at York Catholic with his bat (.414 AVG) and arm (31 IP, 25 H, 6 BB, 18 K) that was vacated by YAIAA all-star and current York College freshman Jake Krevetski. Dillon Hippensteel (.474 AVG, 14 BB vs 1 K), Kennedy's classmate and double play partner, is among four other returning starters for coach Joe Gurreri, who will ask sophomore RHP Matt Knaurer and junior RHP Chris DeMarco to assume a larger share of the workload on the mound.

Austin KuntzSenior YAIAA all-star shortstop Austin Kuntz (.311 AVG, .494 OBP, 19 SB) returns to anchor a completely intact infield for Delone Catholic, which will also be led offensively by senior third baseman Chase Kint (.303 AVG) and junior catcher Wes Deporter (.300 AVG, .400 OBP). The RHP trio of seniors Chase Kint (27.2 IP, 23 H, 7 BB, 6 K) and Dylan Hartlaub (12 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 10 K), plus junior Ethan Slusser (20 IP, 28 H, 8 BB, 15 K) returns to anchor coach Doug Arnold's pitching staff.

Austin KunkelSenior all-Berks Division III third baseman Ben Flicker (.373 AVG), a Penn Tech commit, junior honorable mention infielder Brett Swire (.328 AVG, 4 BB vs 3 K), and junior outfielder Drew Swire (.377 AVG, 10 BB vs 6 K) form the core of the returning offense for  Brandywine Heights Area. Coach Chris Cole also welcomes back his top two pitchers from last spring in Penn State Harrisburg-bound Austin Kunkel (40.2 IP, 46 H, 12 BB, 31 K) and his fellow senior RHP Alex Moulder (22 IP, 17 H, 17 BB, 27 K).

Annville-Cleona welcomes back two-thirds of its starting line-up, sparked by senior shortstop Alec Barr (.270 AVG, 11 SB) at the top of the line-up with production from three Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 4 all-stars -- outfielder Mitch Long (1st-team), junior catcher Hunter Long (2nd-team), and senior infielder Tyler Schrader (2nd-team) -- behind him. The Dutchman graduated their top two innings-eaters, so coach Scott Shyda will look to RHP Barr (1st-team) and LHP Mitch Long to ascend the pecking order. Keep an eye on junior RHP/IF Eli Setlock to carve out a two-way role for himself.

Biglerville missed out on a spot in the 2015 district tournament by seven one-thousandths of a point in the power ratings system. The junior RHP/IF duo of Noah Ayers and Chase Long will look to get coach Jeff Taylor's team over the hump this season, and will get support on the offensive side from sophomore infielder Brock Chronister and senior first baseman Hunter Kime.

Columbia graduated 81% of its innings and has only two pitchers -- senior RHP Jarod Kashner and junior RHP Andrew Sheckard -- who logged innings last year back in the fold. Junior RHP Bailey Sollenberger, a transfer from Eastern York, and freshman RHP Phillip Acosta could provide much needed depth for first-year coach Jordan Higgins, who also must replace five line-up stalwarts. Returners on the offensive side include junior catcher Gabe Grove (.444 AVG, 12 BB vs 7 K), utilityman Kashner (.259 AVG, 10 BB vs 10 K), and outfielder Sheckard (.327 AVG), a 2nd-team Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 4 all-star. Outfielder Sollenberger and senior infielder Dylan Gainer could pick up some of the slack with the bat as well.

Schuylkill Valley coach Dan Gordon welcomes back the majority of his line-up that was predominantly underclassmen last year and looks forward to reintegrating the now healthy junior duo of SS/RHP Cody Mish and junior catcher C/OF James Milanek back into the fold. Sophomore RHP/IF Mason Reigel will join Mish in having a significant two-way impact. Senior RHPs Nolan Rickert and Kevin McGinley are also slated to log innings, while sophomore 3B/C Nick Sager and senior 1B/C Zach Bubel will be called upon to help produce runs.

Season Preview Schedule

3/2 - PAISAA
3/3 - PIAA District V
3/4 - PIAA District IX
3/5 - PIAA District VI
3/6 - PIAA District IV
3/7 - PIAA District X
3/8 - PIAA District III (Class A & AA)
3/9 - PIAA District VII (Class A)
3/10 - PIAA District VII (Class AA)
3/11 - PIAA District II
3/12 - PIAA District XI
3/13 - PIAA District I (Class A, AA & AAA)
3/14 - PIAA District III (Class AAA)
3/15 - PIAA District VII (Class AAA)
3/16 - PIAA District I (Class AAAA)
3/17 - PIAA District III (Class AAAA)
3/18 - PIAA District VII (Class AAAA)
3/19 - PIAA District XII