Young baseball team building strong foundation


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Holy Trinity seniors Joey Mel, left, and Pranay Raman will lead a group of younger players that have a lot of potential this season.

CARL KOTALA

Before any program can become a success story, it has to build a strong foundation first.

And for the Holy Trinity baseball team, this could be that year.

With three seniors and eight underclassmen, the Tigers might not be long on experience, but they believe they have the pieces in place to build for long-term success.

“We are very young,” Tigers coach Tom Kelce said. “I’m looking forward to this year as a coaching year, putting a lot of (emphasis) on coaching. I think this year, showing them how to do things, like having a (good) plate appearance or a good approach at the plate … obviously, that’s going to pay off next year and the following year.

“We’re going to have a strong team in a couple of years. This is our foundation that we’re building right now. I’m very excited to have some full-out coaching with the great coaches we have. Very excited.”

While it’s clear the Tigers have a bright future, their present isn’t looking too bad, either.

In addition to senior outfielders Pranay Raman and Joey Mel, the Tigers recently got another new addition to the roster when senior Dru Nickson — a decorated basketball and football player — decided to come out for baseball. Nickson will initially get a chance to play shortstop while Raman and Mel are both outfielders who can also pitch.

Sophomore Cole Teply should be the Tigers’ No. 1 pitcher and their No. 1 power hitter. Junior lefty Pedro Gonzalez will be the No. 2 pitcher.

Other Tigers with varsity experience are infielder Cal Rethwisch and Cole Hewatt, who will take on a bigger role after playing a little outfield and doing some pitching last year.

“We definitely know each other well enough to know how we play, our strengths and weaknesses,” Raman said. “We can all adjust to that.

“… It’s definitely fun to see how the program has grown over the last two years. I’m definitely excited to see what we can do this year.”

Mel, who transferred from Titusville to Holy Trinity for his senior year, said he has been impressed with the young talent.

While the offense will rely more on making contact than hitting home runs, the speedy Tigers will be a threat on the bases and are concentrating on playing strong defense.

“I think we can make districts,” Kelce said. “I want to start building that winning (foundation), winning one game after another. We get one, let’s get two. We get two, we get three and we’re happy. “I feel strongly that these kids want to play baseball. They’re good. They’re intelligent. We hit the ball. We play defense. We’ll be very competitive.”