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Mustangs rebuilding to defend N-O diamond title

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 23 March 2016 at 12:00 am

Photo by Mike Wertman – Anchoring the lineup for the defending champion Medina baseball squad this season will be this quartet of veterans. In front is Tyler Ames. Standing are Justin Morgan, Quentin Adkins and Jared Zinkievich.

Last spring Medina ended a 20 year title drought by capturing the Niagara-Orleans League championship with a 12-2 record.

This spring the Mustangs are looking to fill a number of holes in the lineup caused by graduation as they prepare to defend their title.

The biggest hole to fill is on the mound with the loss of the top two hurllng mainstays, Jason Hellwig and Matt Riemer, who also played shortstop and first base respectively when not pitching. The duo, along with designated hitter Kyle Herman, also provided three of the biggest bats in the lineup.

The other losses include outfielders Brennan Zinkievich and Josh Scroger along with third baseman Devonte Howard.

Hellwig, Riemer, Herman and Zinkievich all earned first team N-O All-League honors.

“Every year is a different team and this year will definitely be about development,” said Coach Eric Hellwig in noting the large number of graduation losses. “The experience thing will certainly be a factor.”

Three returnees, senior Tyler Ames and junior Quentin Adkins, who both saw some action on the mound last spring, and senior Jared Zinkievich look to anchor the pitching staff. Ames and Adkins can also man infield spots and Zinkievich an outfield position when not pitching.

Veteran catcher Justin Morgan, who earned second team All-League honors, returns to handle the pitching staff.

“Having an experienced catcher is a huge bonus,” said Hellwig.

The Mustangs roster also includes two other senior returnees, Gage Grabowski (outfield) and Brad McPherson (outfield), along with senior Joe Velez (outfield); juniors Matt Hann (outfield/catcher), Chase McAdoo (outfield) and Lucas Porter (shortstop/catcher/pitcher) and sophomores Brett Riemer (second base/pitcher) and Alex Allis (third base).

“We’ve got a good returning group. We’ll just have to see how the other players develop both defensively and hitting,” said Hellwig. “There is a lot of potential there. They just have to realize that potential. Improvement over the year will be our main focus.”

The Mustangs have four non league home games scheduled, beginning April 1 against Williamsville South, before opening their N-O title defense on April 8 against Newfane at Vets Park.

Schedule:
April 1 – Williamsville South, 4:30 p.m.
April 2 – Maryvale, 1 p.m.
April 5 – Holley, 7 p.m.
April 6 – Alden, 4:45 p.m.
April 8 – Newfane, 4:45 p.m.
April 9 – Batavia, 1 p.m.
April 11 – at Albion, 4:45 p.m.
April 13 – CSAT, 7 p.m.
April 15 – at Barker, 4:45 p.m.
April 18 – at Akron, 4:45 p.m.
April 19 – at Roy-Hart, 4:45 p.m.
April 25 – at Wilson, 4:45 p.m.
April 27 – at Newfane, 4:45 p.m.
April 29 – Albion, 4:45 p.m.
May 2 – at CSAT, 4:45 p.m.
May 4 – Barker, 4:45 p.m.
May 6 – Akron, 7:30 p.m.
May 9 – Roy-Hart, 7:30 p.m.
May 11 – Wilson, 4:45 p.m.
May 14 – at Batavia, TBA