Scotties baseball looking to build momentum
The 2015 baseball season began as a work in progress for Bordentown High coach Chris Glenn and his Scotties, and the group hopes the work pays off as the campaign continues.
Bordentown graduated a number of mainstays from a squad that went 15-9 last year, but as the Scotties put together a 3-5 record through mid-April, Glenn and his players were looking forward to building momentum for the second half of the season.
Senior Joe Cashman knew this season was going to be tough, but he’s been happy with what he and his teammates have put on the board.
“We’ve just got to keep working,” he said. “We just try to work hard and improve on the little things in every practice. I like the way we’re going. I think we’re getting better and playing more as a team, getting used to each other on the field. I think as the season goes on we’ll get better and better.”
Bordentown lost its top pitcher from last year as well as several top hitters, including Tommy Walters, who graduated as the program’s all-time leader in hits. But the Scotties returned a solid group of players, including pitcher Matt Kohnke and hitters Marc Gronostajski and Cashman.
The challenge has been filling in the lineup around the most experienced returnees. Drew Chiszar and Kyle Cope have stepped up to joining Kohnke in handling mound duties, as well as Cashman, Gronostajski, Austin Fraser and Cody Schroeder.
“In the past we’ve had a couple guys on the mound that were able to go deep into games,” said Glenn, who is in his fourth season as Bordentown’s head coach after a dozen years as an assistant. “I knew we were going to have to try to piece together games with our pitching. To the guys’ credit, they’ve done a good job so far this season. It’s a little bit different because it’s been going one day to the next more [than having a rotation]. When we have opportunities to win games, we have to go out and try to win them. We’re going to throw whoever we need to try to win that game and then we’ll deal with the game after when we need to.”
Kohnke tossed a two-hit shutout in a 2-0 win over Pemberton and Chiszar fired five innings of one-run ball in a 4-1 victory over Riverside. Cashman got the save against Riverside with two scoreless innings of relief.
“Matt is the only guy back with a lot of varsity experience,” Glenn said. “With Drew and Kyle, they’re getting thrown right in there against really good competition. As confidence and arm strength gets built up over the season, I think we’ll continue to improve. Baseball is one of those games where when you succeed you seem to feed on it and come out and do better the next time. I think that’s where we’re at.”
In addition to Cashman and Gronostajski, who pounded two homers in an 18-7 win over Palmyra, the Scotties have been led at the plate by Tim Bognar, Cody Schroeder, Corey Smith and Pat Carter.
“The top four guys in our lineup are all returners and they’re pretty solid,” Glenn said. “The other guys really haven’t had much exposure to varsity hitting. It’s kind of like growing pains; we’re still trying to feel our way a little bit. We’ve been moving guys around to try to increase their success.”
Three of Bordentown’s first five losses came by two runs, twice in games in which the Scotties were tied with their foes after five innings. In addition, only one of Bordentown’s opponents reached the third week in April with a losing record.
“We can compete with whoever we play this season as long as we do what we have to do,” Gronostajski said. “Whether it’s small ball, long ball, or just basic baseball, we just have to execute. If you have a loss, you forget about it and get your head in the game for the next one."
A positive attitude, he added, can go a long way.
“As long as we keep intensity there’s always a chance to come out with a win no matter who we’re playing,” he said. “The more intense you are, the more pressure you put on the other team. That’s been Bordentown’s thing for a while. We stay in the game for all seven innings. That’s how we’ve had success in the past.”
Glenn knows execution, particularly when it comes to pitching and defense, can go a long way.
“We talk about it all the time,” Glenn said. “If pitchers throw strikes and we field, we’re going to be in any high school game.”
Regardless of the challenges, Glenn is simply happy to be back on the diamond with his squad.
“It’s a good experience for me as a coach because since I’ve been here we really haven’t had this kind of challenge,” Glenn said. “I’m definitely learning too. This is the sport I live for. Win or lose, we’re a team. Just being around each other and the conversations we have, it’s just a good experience for everybody.”