By Rob Tetro
In 2014, the Fulton varsity baseball team is hoping to build off the momentum they built during the final portion of last season.
Coach Kip Harvey said the Red Raiders don’t plan on messing around and instead are working hard to compete for the league championship while qualifying for the Class A, Section 3 Playoffs.
The Red Raiders are considered a young, but fairly experienced team this season. Eight starters return from last year’s team while four sophomores are moving into starting positions.
Harvey said some of his sophomores gained quality experience as starters a year ago. Fulton may have to break in a few new players at certain positions but overall, Harvey feels his team is much more experienced than it was a season ago.
Before practices began in early March, players were encouraged to attend preseason practices held a couple of nights a week. These practices not only aimed to help players get into better physical condition, but they also gave players an opportunity to get their arms ready for the season.
Harvey said these preseason practices helped his team prepare to be throwing the ball six days a week once the season kicks into high gear. Harvey said it’s a positive sign that almost every player took part in these preseason practices.
He said he believes the team is in pretty good physical condition. The Red Raiders are prepared to both throw and run hard this season. Harvey also mentions his pitchers are developing the endurance to pitch a complete game. They practice at a good pace, which is expected to allow their arms to last throughout the season.
Jeremy Langdon and Jon Cummins have been named team captains for Fulton. Captains are selected by their teammates based on the expectations Harvey has for his captains. He said a captain is someone a player can look up to and someone who offers valued support and encouragement because he has earned the respect of his teammates.
The Red Raiders have a challenging schedule ahead of them. On their side of the league, Jamesville-DeWitt returns an experienced team and is expected to be talented. Defending Sectional Champion Cortland is also expected to be impressive with the return of many players from last season’s team.
Teams from Christian Brothers Academy and Bishop Ludden also appear to be in store for solid seasons. On the other side of the league, Fulton will have the challenge of taking on Chittenango for the first time in years. Harvey also expects County Foe Mexico to be as competitive as they have been in recent years.
Fulton’s biggest strength will be found on the mound in 2014. The Red Raiders have many capable pitchers hard at work preparing for solid seasons. Harvey said having depth at the pitcher position could work to his teams’ advantage, especially if they have to play four or five games a week.
Barring injuries, Fulton hopes to have many capable pitchers ready to be competitive, throw strikes while ultimately giving the team a chance to win.