That's all folks, just four core players from the 2011 North Country Varsity baseball team are returning in 2012.
The Falcons lost a whopping eighty-three percent of their roster to graduation. The veteran four, the only members of the this year’s with significant time at the varsity level are the two seniors, Nate Stewart and Jon Boyer, and two juniors, Mike McCarthy and Jason Hatin. these guys will be expected to provide the team with leadership.
"For what I have sketched out for a starting line-up, I have those four guys and five guys who have never played at the Varsity level, so it is a very inexperienced team," said coach Brian Bonvechio.
However, there are some other seniors that played at the JV level last season that will join Stewart and Boyer; Nate Corrow, Jacob Barry and Cody Farrar are moving up to the varsity level for JV while Tre Sanville is coming off a lost season due to his well documented ACL injury.
The rest of the team is young, no doubt about it, but there is a lot of promise within the ranks of the Falcon program.
"We have a lot of good young players who have played a lot baseball, which is different from years before," said Stewart. "A lot of these kids have played more than just local ball, playing for travel teams like the Heat, so they have some experience with that."
Said Boyer, "The longer they stay in high school, the better they will become as players."
The pitching rotation might be the weakest part of the line-up in that they do not have a clear cut number one Ace, but they will use a variety of pitchers to get the job done this season.
"If our pitchers throw strikes we will be competitive with most teams. I have Joel Lemarche, our soft throwing lefty scheduled to pitch today, Boyer, a big strong kid set to go for Saturday against Lyndon, and the third spot is interesting, much like a lot of things I'm doing this year," said Bonvechio.
"There are a lot of kids fighting for it, but I anticipate Wyatt Prue will probably be the third starter. Six feet, two-hundred pounds, a big kid. He will also play first base for me."
One thing that Bonvechio plans to do is utilize his JV team as a place where, if he needs to get some innings for his guys, he will have them go out and throw for Jay Gonyaw's squad, getting stretched out, or just some work in, and then come back up to the varsity and pitch.
Shane Goodell, Bryce Carter and Tucker Corrow, who will most likely start the year with Gonyaw, all have the capability of pitching for the Falcons, but still need some seasoning before they are ready.
Said the coach, "Those six guys will get hopefully all the starts in the regular season between the two levels."
Mike McCarthy, Aiden Smith and Jacob Barry are slated to be the three horses out of the pen for North Country.
Going around the horn, Boyer's at third, unless he is on the hill, then it will be Nate Corrow. Tyler Sanville, the strong fielding sophomore who did not play ball last year, will start at short. Second base looks like it will be a platoon position with McCarthy and Chase LaCourse both seeing plenty of time handling the bag.
First will manned by Tre Sanville or Lemarche, depending on performance and situation.
Stewart, an All-Metro selection last season, will once again be behind the plate.
Nate, valuable as a hitter and a catcher, brings a measure of leadership, knowledge and maturity that seems to place him on another level.
"It is like having another coach out there," said Bonvechio. "I just nod to him and he goes out and tells the pitcher what he needs to hear."
Said Stewart, who could wear the “C” this year, "I don't want to set statistical goals, I just want to go out there have good at-bats and take care of the baseball (behind the plate)."
In the outfield the big hitting Hatin will definitely be in either left or center. Dan Decelles, a junior who did not play the last two years will be in right, and the final outfield slot could go to slick fielding Barry, Trevor Monty, or freshman Nick Sicard.
Said Bonvechio, "Other than Tyler Sanville, the biggest surprise has been Nick. He has played in all four scrimmage's, and has made some nice catches and hits the ball hard almost every at-bat."
Bonvechio has a good idea of what most of his batting order will look like. Decelles, despite the time off has impressed during spring training, will be the first batter out of the chute.
"Dan is my lead-off hitter. He sprays the ball all over the field, goes gap to gap, and runs well," said the coach.
Number two may be the younger Sanville, with the three, four five being locked down by Stewart, Hatin and Boyer.
"I just want to go out and be the best player that I can," said Boyer on what he is hoping to accomplish in 2012.
Five through nine will change game to game, again based on performance.
While the Falcons are thin as far as experience goes, they are neck deep in depth as well as potential, and the 2012 squad could surprise some folks this spring.
"The lack of experience may hurt us in the beginning, but I feel that these ball players will step up and we are going to be a team to watch," said Stewart.
Oddly, that is what Nate said about the 2011-2012 boys' hockey team, and look how far they went this past season, hmmm....
North Country is scheduled to kick things off today in St. Johnsbury at 4:30, but the Academy has all-ready requested to move the start-time up to 4:00, if the game even takes place.
With inclement weather potentially derailing the opening, please consult the NCUHS web site to see if the game will be played as scheduled.