Baseball spring preview

The fall baseball season wrapped up Saturday Oct. 7 at Centennial Field with the annual “Catamount World Series”, a three game inter-squad series. The exhibition was the last opportunity for coaches to evaluate the talent on this year’s version of the perennial playoff-contending Catamounts. The team looks to continue its string of recent success in reaching postseason conference play and to break through with an America East tournament championship and automatic bid to a NCAA regional. Coach Bill Currier returns with a veteran crew up and down the lineup as well as in the pitching staff, but a select few new players do look to make significant contributions. Here’s a comprehensive outlook for the spring:Infielders: Captain Jim Chapman is the leader of the Catamount infield, which is the most experienced group within the team. He spent a significant time at second, third, and shortstop last year and looks to be the everyday shortstop for his final year. Third base has the most depth of any place on the field. Former All-Conference player senior Miguel Magrass has experience at the hot corner but was injured for much of last year. His replacement, junior Kyle Massie, picked up the offensive slack by hitting .297 in 52 games. Redshirt freshman Brad Currier and sophomore Nate Matusick can also play third. Senior combination player Bryan Rembisz brings solid defense to second base as well as uncommon power at the plate and could be replaced by Currier or other arrangements of players when he is needed to pitch. Another combination pitcher/position player is slated to start at first in the form of big power hitting junior Kyle Henry. Along with Magrass, Henry will provide long-ball potential in the middle of the order. When Henry pitches, freshman and son of a former major leaguer, Bryce Shattie will see time at first base. Outfielders: Senior Will Huntington roams center field and his speed will not only turn hits into outs on defense but also afford him the opportunity steal bases on offense. Likewise, senior Nick Gallipani brings uncommon athleticism to left field. Newcomer Ethan Paquette from St. Johnsbury Academy could occupy right field. He is blessed with cannon for a right arm and showed hitting prowess during the fall that includes home run power. Left-handed freshman Isaac Bissell hits to all fields and has good speed and arm strength that allows him to play any of the three outfield spots. Catchers: Both returning catchers saw time behind the plate last year for the Cats. Sophomore Jeff Nolet was an invaluable asset offensively spending most of his time at first, but his strong arm should help this year to shut down opponents’ running games. Meanwhile fellow sophomore Jeff Heppner, who added valuable offensive production last year by hitting .280 with 2 home runs, can expect a lot time both behind the plate and at designated hitter.Pitchers: Junior captain Joe Serafin leads the pitching staff both with experience and performance. The southpaw starter will anchor the rotation with a full complement of quality pitches that features a devastating change-up and slow 12-to-6 curve. Junior Eric Thompson, another lefty, will try to improve on his solid season last year which saw him post a 3.16 ERA and throw two complete games in only five starts. Hard-throwing right-handed sophomore Keith Rakus was effective in most of his fall appearances and along with sophomore Jeremiah Bayer should round out the weekend rotation. Sophomores John Boyle and Justin Albert will provide middle relief most often. At the backend of the bullpen, senior Bryan Rembisz is expected to close games with a mix of a nasty hard-breaking slider and a consistent high-80’s fastball. Although injured during the fall, righties Brandon Miles and Derek MacDonald hope to bolster Vermont’s pitching along with freshman Ethan Paquette.