Viera baseball may be young, but expectations are high


The Viera Hawks have a nice mixture of youth and experience this season, led by co-captains Andrew Brait, left, Colton Farrington, Jordan Kaplan and Connor Leary.


There will be a number of things that will be different about the Viera High baseball team this season:

* New faces in big roles.

* More of a small-ball approach after years of having some big bats in the lineup.

And let’s not forget … the new field.

The Hawks will play 16 of 23 regular-season games at the new USSSA Space Coast Complex. And that doesn’t even include a potential Cape Coast Conference title game, or the district tournament.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun coaching this club,” Viera coach Bob Doty said. “We always have high expectations of trying to win 20 games, win our district and do as well as we can in the conference. But I think playing here is going to be really enjoyable.

“… It’s going to bring out the best in players.”

While the Hawks will be led by veterans like team co-captains Jordan Kaplan, Connor Leary, Andrew Brait and Colton Farrington, there will be a lot of younger players playing key roles as well.

Left-hander Alberto McCarthy and fellow sophomore Christian Stubbendeck will get plenty of mound time behind No. 1 starter Kaplan.

The catching spot will be filled by either sophomore Declan McDermott or junior Joe Veltri. Farrington will be at first with juniors Leary and Brait forming perhaps the best second base-shortstop duo in the county. Senior Logan Plante will take over at third with the outfield consisting of Taylor Pruett in right, Kaplan in center (when he’s not pitching) and Jordan Allen in left.

“I think we’re going to have a great year this year, honestly,” Kaplan said. “We’re going to have to learn to work together, the younger guys are going to have to learn to step up, and we’ll have a good shot.

“We made it to the regional finals last year. I don’t see why we can’t make it to states
this year.”

Leary, who said he loves the way the younger players have been grinding so far, has also been working on his own game with the help of a Major League player.

“I’ve been working with Dee Gordon for a little bit,” Leary said. “He’s really helped me out with my fielding. I had three errors last year out of 30 games. That’s good, but I want to minimize it down
to zero.”

Viera has put together a record of 43-14 during the past two years, but in order to maintain that type of success, the Hawks must adjust to having less power in the lineup.

“We have good hitters, but we’re not those same guys that are just going to lift it out of here,” Doty said. “We have to execute.”