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April 12, 2013

2013 Tonawanda baseball preview

Tonawanda News — Last season almost everything went right for the Tonawanda baseball team.

The Warriors went a perfect 18-0 during the regular season and were unbeaten in ECIC IV play, winning 12 in a row. It was the first time in school history that the team entered sectionals undefeated.

But in the semifinals of last season’s Section VI B-2 playoffs, the Warriors’ season was ended in disappointing fashion by Olean. Several key cogs on that team (Joey Warthling, Kyle Gallivan, David Battel and Jake Spencer) graduated last spring and coach John Frank said that the team lost about 50 percent of its offensive production from last season.

So lowering expectations would seem to be the reasonable option heading into this season, but Frank instead has raised the bar for his players in 2013.

”You might say it’s hard to improve on 19-1, but we didn’t achieve our ultimate goal of winning a sectional,” Frank said. “We accomplished the division and this year we’re looking to do that and a little bit more.”

The Warriors are out to a 1-2 start after a pair of losses to Kenmore West and a win over Springville. 

Behind the plate, Steven Warthling — a three-sport standout in football, wrestling and baseball — leads the Warriors defensively and in the batter’s box.

”Steve is a natural leader,” Frank said, “He is looked up to and respected in all aspects — on the field, in the classroom and in the community.”

Senior Tyler Hughes in the outfield and pitcher Nick Pullo are both captains and team leaders along with Warthling. 

Frank said the players who led in the past taught this year’s group of seniors how to be leaders, and the team’s experience last year in big games will help them as they face adversity this season.

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