LAKE GEORGE - Stellar teams leave a two-edged sword behind them when they graduate - on one hand, the burden of big shoes and a legend to live up to, but also the blessing of high standards and self-expectations which propel the new players to lofty accomplishments.
The 2010 Lake George Varsity Baseball team has this legacy to deal with, after the graduation of the 2009 squad that generated lasting memories for area sports fans because of the players' character, athleticism and chemistry.
That combination led to their stunning comeback victory in June 2009 against Fort Ann to capture the Adirondack League crown.
Headliners on this team were Adirondack League Co-MVPs Jake Nelson and Peter Gaibrois - Nelson alone hit 22 home runs over his last two seasons. Those two were backed up by Ryan Lynch, J.D. DeWaard and other top talent.
Last year's star-studded season, however, has prompted this year's predicament - 10 of the 2009 players graduated.
This year's squad has this legacy of high standards and a legend to live up to, and it will take a lot of work for the squad to pick up where the 2009 team left off, coach Erik Hoover said.
"We have a lot of holes to fill," he said, noting the 2010 team has merely one Senior aboard. "This year, we really have a changing of the guard."
The new players should be aware that the 2010 Warrior squad's big challenge is likely to be seen by competing teams as an opportunity.
"Other teams are probably licking their chops," Hoover said. "And we've got to play hard, and not expect the League to take pity on us."
The returning players and new recruits are not getting ready to take up the challenge of continuing the Warrior's winning tradition, Hoover said.