NTL BASEBALL: EXPERIENCE, TALENTED NEWCOMERS HAS SAYRE'S VanDUZER OPTIMISTIC ABOUT 2021 SEASON (2021-04-02)

Valley Sports Report
SAYRE — With a good mix of experience and talented newcomers, Sayre baseball coach Jamie VanDuzer is optimistic for the 2021 season, but like every other coach he’s not sure what to expect after being away from the diamond for more than a year.

“I’m excited to see some of these newcomers jump in and play after missing a chance as freshman,” said VanDuzer. “Also, our juniors and seniors are talented, but it’s difficult to judge where we stand without seeing them play any games last year.

“We have a good amount of arms and we should be able to score runs,” he added. “I believe if we stay healthy and play defense we will be in good shape.”

The Redskins graduated six seniors from last year’s team, which VanDuzer had extremely high hopes for entering the 2020 season.

“This is probably the best, and it’s definitely the deepest team, I’ve ever coached,” said VanDuzer just days before the season was canceled.

This year, Sayre returns three seniors in Jake Burgess, Jordan Goodrich, and Zach Moore.

“Our three seniors will all provide leadership, which will be more important than ever before after not having a season,” said VanDuzer.

“And, Brayden Horton, who was “Rookie of the Year” as a freshman is part of a pretty talented junior class, will also provide some leadership at catcher,” VanDuzer added.

Also returning as juniors are Dom Fabbri, Mason Houseknecht, David Northrup, and Kannon VanDuzer.

Newcomers for the Redskins are Lucas Horton, Zach Garrity, Kegan Hayford, Josh Arnold, Oakley Gorman, and Jackson Hubbard.

VanDuzer believes the newcomers will contribute immediately, and believes Lucas Horton will be a big addition.

“We will be looking for Luke Horton to lead our pitching staff as a sophomore, and the others are going to be expected to fill some spots from the six seniors we lost to graduation last year.

“Many of these newcomers are both talented and versatile,” said VanDuzer. :Many will play several different positions.”

VanDuzer said his expectations are the same as always.

“Our team goals are to compete for a league title and qualify for districts.”

AROUND THE NTL
“I think we will kind of learn as we go,” said VanDuzer.

“In a normal season, you would have a few notes on returning players and kids who will lead other teams,” he noted. “Obviously, that won’t be the case this year.

“I was kind of surprised at our first practice to see how much bigger some of our kids are than I remembered from two seasons ago.

“The league has also gone through coaching changes,” continued VanDuzer. “It should be a lot of fun.

“I’m very thankful that we will be able to have a season,” he added.

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PHOTOS BY MATT PATTON.