By Dave Bryne
New Era Correspondent
The New Era Tournament’s first year at Clipper Magazine Stadium was a rousing, unqualified success. Especially for the Lititz Oddfellows, who rode the top seed position of the tournament to a first-ever NET title.
Can they make it two in a row? The pieces are in place for another run as the Oddfellows once again grab the top spot.
Lititz is one of five squads returning from last year, joining Strasburg-Willow Street, Manheim Township Black, Comet Blue and Donegal.
Hempfield Black returns, in name. However, these players competed as Hempfield Gray last season.
Strasburg-Willow Street and Comet Blue open the tournament tonight at 5:15 p.m. in the first game of a quarterfinal doubleheader at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Hempfield Black and St. Leo follow, 20 minutes after the end of the first game.
Thurday’s twinbill features Lititz and Donegal at 5:15 and Bears Blue and MT Black in the nightcap. The semifinals are Sunday, beginning at 4 p.m., with the championship game Monday at 7 p.m.
Following is a look at the teams in this year’s tournament.
COACH: Frank Camera
LEAGUE: Lanco School National, first seed
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 1, defending champion
RETURNING PLAYERS: p/1b Skylar Gingrich (.400), 3b Tyler Hill (.304), c/of Tyler May (.278), ss Zach Shank (.595), p David Leisey (3-1, 3.35 ERA), of Mark Stuckey (.532), p Sean Steffy (1-0, 3.48), ut Dan Ansel (.512), c/1b Austin Klinger (.431).
NEWCOMERS: dh Nate Lawrence (.417), of Nate Garner (.353), of/p J.T. Garner (.353), of/p Adam Zipko (.400, 5-0 1.24), 2b Kyle Keener (.370)
COACH: Ted Carlson
LEAGUE: Lanco School American, second seed
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 0, Strasburg won in 1973 and ’76
RETURNING PLAYERS: 2b Jonathon Carlson and ss Evan King (errorless in the field), of/p Adam Bukowski (.435), p Kyler Morgan (5-0), cf Daniel Snyder (.471), 1b Joe Good (.400), 3b/p Randy Hess (.450, 3-1), p Chad Babcock.
NEWCOMERS: With 13 returning players, who has newcomers?
COACH: Phil Houseal
LEAGUE: Lanco School National, third seed
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 5, last in 2006
RETURNING PLAYERS: p Brandon Hinkle (3-0, 1.33), 1b Brett Houseal (.632), c Brandon Kline (.564), 3b Jared Horning, ss Andrew Kulp
NEWCOMERS: p Zachary Kinne (0-0, 2.04)
COACH: Rick Givens
LEAGUE: Lanco School American, fourth seed
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 1, 2000
RETURNING PLAYERS: 1b Shane Long (.575), c Conrad Heisey (.425), 2b Nico Givens, cf/1b Brad Garber, 3b/ss Anthony Rivera. 3b/c Tyler Vuxta (.478) on vacation & will miss tournament. p Brian Savage tore ACL at beginning of season.
NEWCOMERS: p Matt Frederick (5-0), ss/p Matt Weidman (.545).
COACH: John Dochterman
LEAGUE: Lanco School National, fifth seed
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 0, MT based teams have won six titles
RETURNING PLAYERS: of Carl DeAngelis (.484), c Tyler Deshong (.415), of Kyle Karpinski (.486, 6 2bls), of Andrew McVey (.355), p/3b Andrew Pieffer (2-1; .435, team leading 16 RBI), 1b Tyler Stoltz (.414), Matthew Thurman.
NEWCOMERS: p Mark Jones (6-0, 1.69, 34 Ks), p Christopher Thorson (3-1, 20 Ks 22 IP).
COACH: Paul Jankowski
LEAGUE: Lanco School American, sixth seed
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 0
RETURNING PLAYERS: p/1b Tim Jones (.389), c Ryan Clark (.389), p Steve Darrenkamp (4-1, 3.20), cf Travis Jankowski (.419), lf Evan Montgomery (.370).
NEWCOMERS: None listed
COACH: Scott Keddie
LEAGUE: Lanco School National, seventh seed
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 0, the pre-merger Manor Ridge program won 3 titles
RETURNING PLAYERS: of Tyler Musser (.379, team leading 15 RBIs), cf Eric Rintz (.290), c Tyler Gault, of Lucas Huber, p/1b Nicholas Shroyer, 2b/3b Mike Spisak, p/1b Brad Stout.
NEWCOMERS: p Zach Buterbaugh (5-1, 1 sv; .439), eh Jared Shearer (.424), 1b/c Josh Longsderff (.306)
COACH: Ryan Hamilton
LEAGUE: Lanco School American, eight seed: defeated SWS’s Lanco Community representative 11-0 in play-in qualifier
NET CHAMPIONSHIPS WON: 1, MJAA teams won 3 titles
RETURNING PLAYERS: cf Nick Zito (.600), 1b Morgan Rupp (.375), ss Devin Gorski (.629).
NEWCOMERS: of Josh Rudy (.429), 2b Jarred Dettinger (.353), c Jeff Heisey (.353), p Tyler Squibbs (.406)