LAKE GEORGE - Riding home from Hartford on a school bus April 9, new baseball coach Erik Hoover hollered into his cell phone to relay his team's expectations for the year.
But the loud chatter and cheering of his players surrounding him, celebrating an 11-5 win over Hartford, nearly drowned him out. No more needs to be said about the enthusiasm of the Lake George High School Baseball team as they launch their 2009 season.
Hoover took over this year after the retirement of coaching legend Scott Snyder, who completed 30 years as mentor, racking up an unsurpassed number of championships.
The 2008 team was determined to usher Snyder out with a stellar season, and they did. The 2008 squad, with a 13-2 league season, won the Adirondack League championship and was a Section II CC finalist.
"I'm replacing a legend - Scott cultivated such a winning tradition, and I'm giving my best to maintain it," Hoover said.
Hoover will have a lot of help.
The 2009 lineup includes eight returning players including three veteran starters, and 11 seniors.
"In taking over from Scott, these guys are going to make it an easy transition, considering their experience," Hoover said. "They work hard and they're dedicated to the sport."
The pitching staff is headed up by ace Peter Gaibrois, who's played varsity for four years - and he racked up an 8-1 record last year. Gaibrois, a 2008 All-Conference Allstar, is backed up by Senior Ryan Lynch and Sophomore J.D. Jenkins.
Watch out for this latter player, Hoover said.
"We're ecstatic to have J.D., - he's got a great fastball for his age," Hoover said. "He's one of the hardest throwers on the team, and he's accurate."
Heavy hitters Gaibrois and Jake Nelson will be leading the offense, Hoover said.
As customary, the team's 2009 schedule is loaded with matchups against bigger schools, in part to toughen up players and elevate their standards.