By Joshua Lehman
As the White Plains Tigers baseball 2018 season approaches, the Tigers are looking to make some noise, and finish what they started last year. After going 14-5 last year and losing to Arlington in Sectionals, the players are excited and ready for this season and have the ability to take the next step to winning States.
It won’t be easy, and the team will look different due to losing last year’s seniors such as Gehrig Hauser, P.J. Ginter, Damien Vignone, and Jack Dimarco. But last year’s juniors showed tremendous promise last year, and are looking forward to being the older guys on the team and leading in their final season in a Tigers uniform. And last year’s sophomores who played exceptionally well on JV last year are looking to making an impact on Varsity this season.
I was able to have the privilege to sit down with senior outfielder David Terry and Junior middle infielder Justin Hanratty to talk about their upcoming season and what makes this team so special. When asked about this year’s team, Terry said,“ We have a better team than last year. We can easily get back to where we were last year and farther. We have unfinished business this year, and we have the ability, the lineup, and pitching rotation to go as far as we want to in the playoffs.” On the topic of coaching and its role in winning and going far this season, Terry said, “The coaching is intense, we have good coaches and good leaders who guide us in the right direction to winning games.”
I asked junior Justin Hanratty about how the juniors can make an impact on the team this year. He said, “I feel like the juniors can make an impact on this year’s team. We have learned a lot from the seniors, and some juniors, such as Anthony Burgio and Nick Gomez, have a year under their belt and can be a huge X factor for this team.” On the transition from JV to Varsity, he added, “ It’s definitely a big step for sure but thanks to last year’s seniors who graduated, they set a good example and they taught us how to win.” What will make the transition easier for him? Hanratty said, “I’m looking forward to getting back on the field and competing this spring in South Carolina. I was able to play with this year’s team during the summer and fall; this has helped me build chemistry with the other guys on the team and has also taught me so much about the game.”
All the players in the clubhouse feel the same way. They are not upset about coming up short last year. They are using it as motivation for this year. The season will begin this spring, when the Tigers head down to South Carolina to begin their playoff run. Will they get to the top or have a repeat of last year and fall up short again?