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Ken West baseball feels ‘need’ to challenge for NFL crown

Sophomore Ricky Deiboldt said it best. There is a need to win.

As the Kenmore West Blue Devils baseball team moves into the 2013 season, they bring with them a drive and determination to return to the top of the Niagara Frontier League.

“I feel the need to win this year and I feel like with the group of guys that we have, we can do it,” Deiboldt said. “(Coach John) Haynes has been saying since year one he wants to put Kenmore West baseball back on the map. I have a feeling this year is our time to do it.

“With the group of guys we have on the varsity team and the group of JV kids than can come up later in the year, I feel we can put Kenmore West back on the map,” he added.

Now in his third season coaching the varsity team, Haynes said that guys know what is expected of them. And from the word go, everyone came in ready to work.

“It was a very nice tryout. It was nice to go around the stations and not harp on what they needed to do. It was just automatic,” Haynes said.

“It wasn’t like (having) to get on kids and get them motivated. They were motivated on their own because they’re used to my philosophy and my work ethic,” he added.

Haynes said the toughest thing about tryouts was making cuts, because so many athletes tried out.

Seeing a renewed interest in Ken-West baseball is something Haynes sees as a plus that will benefit the program as years go on.

“Day one of the tryouts, I just knew immediately,” said Deiboldt, a catcher, third baseman and outfielder. “Everyone had their intensity up. No one was slacking off. Everyone was going as hard as they could.”

Four-year varsity starters Tommy Ryan, a catcher and infielder, James Faso, a pitcher and centerfielder, and Jeff Becker, a pitcher and shortstop, will lead the way for the Blue Devils this season.

Sophomore Tim Stoerr (2B), like Deiboldt, is also coming off of a breakout freshman season. The two are not only going to be needed to be key contributors and build off last season’s success, Haynes also sees them as the kind of players who can make their voices known as leaders this season.

That should only help take some of the pressure off of the shoulders of the seniors.

“They’re young; they’re sophomores, but they’re the foundation of the program,” Haynes said. “Kids are buying into what they’re doing and their work ethic is very good. And the kids actually look at them — even though they’re sophomores, as leaders.”

Early on, Haynes feels pitching depth could be a concern.

Faso, Justice Sheehan and Cody Sullivan should be innings-eaters who can give quality starts. But if rain outs and make-up games pile up, depth will be an issue.

So, the Blue Devils are targeting six to eight runs a game so the pitchers don’t feel all the pressure on their shoulders.

Ryan Hussar, Mike Coyne, Tom Lunghino and Dakota Lloyd (3B/C) will also see time on the hill.

Chris Dymond, Steven Weigand, Anthony Catania, Gary Halt and Noah Whalen compete the lineup.

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