SPRING VALLEY — The pool may be smaller for the Hall Red Devils baseball squad this year, but that pool still runs deep with talent.
Hall will dress only 12 players this season, but the bulk of those 12 (five seniors and five juniors) will bring a wealth of experience and baseball know-how to the field with them.
“Our personnel will be our biggest assets. These guys know the game, know each other, and they know what we, as a coaching staff, expect from them day-in and day-out,” Hall coach Tom Keegan said.
“We only have 12 kids, but they’re the quality of kids and players you want on your team. They can play multiple positions; they can hit, but I think pitching and defense will be what we lean on and kind of rest our hat on.”
Hall will namely lead a talented junior trio of Ty Rybarczyk (P/IF), Cam McDonald (P/IF), Brant Vanaman (C/OF/P) and a sophomore in Jimmy DeAngelo (IF/OF/P).
The four will form a solid nucleus for the Red Devils in the field, at the plate and on the mound, when called upon by coach Keegan.
“We have some kids that have played a lot of baseball growing up, and they’re all baseball savvy to go along with some physical talent to play in the field,” Keegan said. “A lot of guys will play in the field as well as pitch, and I expect Ty will be one of our leading guys from last year on our pitching staff. Cam will be a big asset for us coming back this year, and Brant can be looked to for some innings as well,” Keegan said.
“We have multiple young arms, including Jimmy DeAngelo, that we will look to insert into the lineup as well.”
Rybarczyk will bring his talents back to the mound at Kirby Park with a 7-0 record and 1.18 ERA, and an area-leading 76 strikeouts. He wasn’t only an asset on the mound, as he scored 36 runs and stole 19 bases a season ago.
McDonald, an All-TRAC selection last season, finished with a batting average of .456 and also scored 40 runs and stole 30 bases as the talented shortstop will anchor the Red Devils’ defense forming a talented duo up the middle with second baseman Rybarczyk.
The outfield will be roamed by the talented and athletic Vanaman as he will direct traffic from the center field position for the Red Devils. He is expected to bring back the pop that he showed last year at the plate when he drove in 37 RBIs and smacked 15 doubles and six triples.
DeAngelo flashed his talents in right field for the majority of last season, but his value grows exponentially on the base paths as he stole 34 bases, scored 33 runs and came away with eight doubles and two homers as a freshman last season.
“We have long term goals, but we can’t become consumed with that; we have to focus on the process of getting better each day and hope that we can find the right combination of sparks in the right places to get us into the position we want to be in at the end of the year,” Keegan said.
Keegan will look to experience from seniors Brennen Yuvan (OF/P/DH), Austin Debates (OF/P), Al Jones (P), Cody Saepharn (OF) and Josh Ruda (OF/DH/P), as they will provide valuable innings for the Red Devils this season.
Hall also dresses juniors Sean Riordan (IF/P/C), Gunner McCormick (IF) and Chance Resetich (IF/OF), who will find their way into the lineup as it changes and evolves to suit Keegan’s game plan this season.
Hall went 29-6 a year ago, only to fall to rival St. Bede in the regional finals.
The Red Devils will face talented teams throughout the season and after two nonconference cancellations this week, will jump straight into the grinder with a conference home game at 4:30 p.m. Monday
“Night in and night out it will be grind for us in conference. St. Bede will be tough. Princeton will put a good product on the field ... Everyone is going to try to be competitive, and on any given night, someone may have your number, and you better be ready to come out and play,” Keegan said.
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Red Devils baseball
Coach: Tom Keegan.
Last year: (29-6)
Conference: TRAC East.
March 14 Mendota, ppd.
March 15 at L-P, ppd.
March 20 *Newman, 4:30
March 23 *at Newman, 4:30
March 24 at Morrison, 4:30
March 27 *Kewanee, 4:30
March 28 at Fieldcrest, 4:30
March 30 *at Kewanee, 4:30
March 31 Rockridge, 4:30
April 1 at Serena (DH), 10
April 3 *St. Bede, 4:30
April 6 *at Ottawa
April 7 at Sherrard, 4:30
April 13 Alleman, 4:30
April 15 *at St. Bede with Warren
April 17 *at Princeton, 4:30
April 18 at Riverdale, 4:30
April 20 *Princeton, 4:30
April 21-22 at PC Wooden Bat Tourney
April 24 *at P/E, 4:30
April 27 *P/E at Clinton, Iowa
April 28 Fulton
May 1 *Bureau Valley, 4:30
May 3 Putnam County, 4:30
May 4 *Bureau Valley, 4:30
May 6 at Orion with Mon. United
May 10 Ann/Wethersfield, 4:30
May 11 at Plano, 4:30
May 13 at Johnny Mac Tournament
May 15-18 Regionals, TBA
* TRAC East game