Versatility to key Rams title defense

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 17 March 2018 at 8:06 am

Photo by Mike Wertman – This trio of seniors including Ben Schwab, Jacob Bruning and Al Xapsos, will lead Roy-Hart into the defense of its Niagara-Orleans League baseball title this spring.

Versatility will be the key word as the two-time defending champion Roy-Hart varsity baseball squad preps to defend its Niagara-Orleans League title.

Despite losing nine seniors to graduation, five of whom earned spots on the N-O All-League squad, Roy-Hart returns a solid nucleus of five regulars.

That veteran quintet is led by the senior trio of Jacob Bruning (pitcher/outfield), Ben Schwab (pitcher/first base) and Al Xapsos (infield/pitcher).  Bruning and Xapsos both earned first team N-O All-League honors last spring.

Also returning are juniors Charlie Bruning (pitcher/first base) and Charlie Brigham (infield/outfield). Bruning was a first team All-League selection.

Junior Walker Samanka (infield), who is up from the JV ranks, also looks to help bolster the Rams lineup.

“It’s a very versatile team,” said Rams new Coach Mike Tarnowski. “That versatility will be a big key for us. We have a good group of returning seniors and juniors and a good group of pitchers. A big key is we want to be a strong defensive team.”

The Rams graduation losses include first team All-League honorees Cameron Meadows (pitcher) and Eric Fitch (third base/pitcher) along with second team honoree Austin Walker (outfield) and Honorable Mention selections Brendan Hess (infield) and Nick Kubas (first base/outfield).

Last spring Roy-Hart won its second straight N-O title with a 9-3 record just edging out the trio of Albion, Barker and Wilson, which each finished just a game off the pace at 8-4.

The Rams are scheduled to begin their N-O title defense on April 9 at home against Barker. The non league home opener is slated for April 5 against Lyndonville.

April: 4 – at West Seneca West, 12 p.m.; 5 – Lyndonville, 4:45 p.m.; 7 – CCA, 12 p.m.; 9 – Barker, 4:45 p.m.; 11 – at Newfane, 4:45 p.m.; 13 – at Wilson, 4:45 p.m.; 16 – Albion, 4:45 p.m.; 18 – at Medina, 4:45 p.m.; 21 – at Alexander Tournament first game vs. Alden, 10 a.m.; 23 – at Akron, 4:45 p.m.  25 – at Barker, 4:45 p.m.; 27 – Newfane, 4:45 p.m.; 30 – Wilson, 4:45 p.m.
May: 2 – at Albion, 4:45 p.m.; 4 – Medina, 4:45 p.m.; 7 – Lockport, 4:30 p.m.; 8 – North Tonawanda, 7 p.m.; 9 – Akron, 4:45 p.m.; 10 – Tonawanda, 4:30 p.m.