CHESTERTOWN-Three years ago, the North Warren baseball team took area sports fans on a ride they hadn't experienced for more than 30 years.
This 2008 squad fought successfully into the Section II finals, and, in the process, sparked a lot of pride in northern Warren County. Now in 2011, the team has solid prospects for reclaiming that winning tradition, after several disappointing seasons.
The team's top pitcher, senior Cody Higgins, has the "right stuff" to get it done. Late last year, he pitched every inning to win a late-season game against perennial league-leader Lake George, a victory that upcounty sports fans have savored, particularly considering that Lake George has a far-larger enrollment. Since then, Higgins is looking even stronger, having developed his curve ball and slider during the off-season.
He's backed up by Greg Dower, another senior, who has solid skills and is known to be a successful closer.
Defensively, the Cougars look strong. The team will be looking to senior Travis Monroe at center field to provide leadership - he's quick and gets under the ball with efficiency. Then there's Will Jay, now slated for first base, who has the ability to scoop up throws anywhere near his position.
Also likely to play a key role will be Ethan Schenke, a newcomer from New Jersey who has speed and skill at shortstop.
Offensively, the team has been working hard to boost their power. The Cougars have been conditioning and working out, building strength.
Senior Tim Hanaburgh may be slamming the ball even harder this year, sports fans are predicting. Thom Pereau, a formidable athlete in soccer, has also been working on his batting.
Junior third baseman Kristian Seeley, known as a talented athlete, is back after recovering from a torn leg muscle that sidelined him from basketball season. Observers say that in his pitching role, he's regaining his stride and recovering his former power.
Kristian Seeley said this team not only has considerable skills, but the players know how to have fun while competing.