With a 2-0 start in their 2012 Niagara-Orleans League baseball slate, the Royalton Hartland varsity baseball team is well on its way towards ending a 50-plus year title drought. Not to be out-done, the Lady Rams softball team is also 2-0 in the N-O, heading to spring break.
Head coach John Grzymala’s baseball Rams feature a veteran squad, including seniors Connor Baker (catcher), Aaron Brigham (first base), Jake Gregson (third base), Brandon Wolter (outfield), Ryan Metz (pitcher), Zach Yates (pitcher) and juniors Judd Jamieson (pitcher), Alex Jensen DH).
Junior Brian Farewell also looks to help out with the pitching chores and eighth grader Andy Xapsos takes over at second base. Metz and Jamieson both earned second team N-O All-League honors.
Last spring Roy-Hart dropped a 10-4 extra inning decision to Akron in the N-O finale to finish at 11-3 and a game behind champion Newfane. Ironically, due to a scheduling conflict later in the season, the Rams are slated to open the N-O season at Akron tomorrow.
“Last year we lost the league on the last day so this season the kids really want to put their year on the championship banner,” Grzymala said. The Rams last N-O diamond championship was in 1958.
“We have the pitching back which is definitely big and we’ve always been a good hitting team,” Grzymala said. “We have to get better defensively though. We really have to minimize our mistakes because the league is really up for grabs this season, You can’t take anyone for granted.”
Key losses to graduation include shortstop Michael Porter, catcher A.J. Szklany, first baseman Brendon Conley and outfielder Kyle Vanderwalker. Porter, Conley and Vanderwalker all earned First Team N-O All-League honors.
“We lost four seniors who came up big for us last year but this year’s seniors are looking to take up the intensity of where they left off and finish the job of winning the league title,” Grzymala said. “They’re really committed.”
The Rams are now on an Easter break trip to Orlando, Fla., where they have three scrimmages and three games.
“We’re really looking forward to that,” Grzymala said. “We’ll be playing all Class A schools so it will be great experience for us.”
Meanwhile, head coach Lee Walker’s Lady Rams feature a veteran battery of junior pitcher Brianna Walker and sophomore catcher Sam Brown, as well as junior first baseman Olivia Kelkenberg and senior outfielders Molly Murphy and Missy Wittenzellner.
Roy-Hart’s key losses to graduation were multi year First Team N-O honoree Amanda Werth (pitcher/shortstop), along with Second Team honorees Chelsey Jamieson (infield) and Jillian Smith (first base).
The Lady Rams roster also includes junior third baseman Ariana Henley along with freshmen Hannah Rausch (infield), Lindsay Yates (outfield), Taylor Fry (pitcher/outfield) and Ashley Bower (infield).
“We’ve got a lot of diversity,” Walker said. “We’re young but I have a lot of confidence in them. The key is having our pitcher and catcher back. It’s all about confidence.”
The Lady Rams finished in a tie for second place with Wilson last spring at 10-4, two games behind N-O champion Albion.
R-H Baseball Schedule
4/17 4:45 p.m. @ Barker
4/20 4:45 p.m. NEWFANE
4/21 1 p.m. @ Lake Shore
4/23 4:45 p.m. @ Medina
4/26 4:45 p.m. ALBION
5/1 4:45 p.m. @ Wilson
5/4 4:15 p.m. @ CSAT (DH)
5/7 4:45 p.m. BARKER
5/10 4:45 p.m. @ Newfane
5/12 Noon MEDINA
5/15 4:45 p.m. @ Albion
5/16 4:45 p.m. @ Tonawanda
5/17 4:45 p.m. AKRON
R-H Softball Schedule
4/12 4:30 p.m. @ Starpoint
4/16 4:45 p.m. MEDINA
4/18 4:45 p.m. CSAT
4/19 4:30 p.m. @ East Aurora
4/21 10 a.m. BARKER
4/24 4:45 p.m. @ Albion
4/26 4:45 p.m. AKRON
5/30 4:45 p.m. WILSON
5/2 4:45 p.m. NEWFANE
5/5 3 p.m. @ Medina
5/8 4:45 p.m. @ CSAT
5/10 4:45 p.m. @ Barker
5/14 4:45 p.m. ALBION
5/15 4:45 p.m. @ Akron