Purple Eagles return solid diamond nucleus

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 18 March 2020 at 11:48 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Leading Albion into the upcoming baseball season will be this contingent of veterans. In front are Ryan Krenning, Patrick Ricker and Alex Gibson. In back are Michael Harling, Thomas Furmanski, Liam Ward and Michael DiCureia.

Looking to improve upon last spring’s third place finish in the Niagara-Orleans League baseball standings, Albion is led by a good nucleus of seven veterans.

The senior battery of pitcher Thomas Furmanski and catcher Liam Ward head that veteran group which also includes senior second baseman/shortstop Patrick Ricker, senior outfielders Ryan Krenning, Michael DiCureia and Michael Harling and junior outfielder Alex Gibson.

Ward and Ricker will also help with the pitching chores and when not on the mound Furmanski will play shortstop.

Furmanski and Ward were both first team Niagara-Orleans All-League honorees last spring. Furmanski went 5-0 and had 2 saves on the mound and hit .383 with 15 RBI at the plate. Ward hit .375 and also drove in 15 runs.

Called up from the JV ranks late last season the Purple Eagles also have varsity experience in junior first baseman/outfielder Bailey Blanchard and sophomore pitcher/infielder Tyler Gibson.

“We have a nice group returning,” said Coach Bruce Blanchard. “We have a solid group of pitchers we just need to get the job done at the plate. We did pretty well hitting last season and we hope to build on that.”

The Purple Eagles graduation losses included pitcher/infielder Bryce Prtichard, outfielder/pitcher Vincent Zona,, infielder/pitcher Addison Christ and outfielders Isaiah Callicutt and Jon DePuy. Pritchard and Callicutt were both second team N-O All-League honorees.

The Purple Eagles went 7-5 in N-O action and 14-6 overall last spring advancing to the Section VI Class B1 finals where they dropped a 10-6 decision to rival Medina.

Now, as is the case with other area teams, it is not a question of setting the lineup or getting the diamond ready it is a case when the Corona virus closed schools will reopen allowing the schedule to begin. Albion had been scheduled to open the N-O season at home against Newfane on April 2.