<b>Coach</b>: Steve Palese, second year (14-9)
<b>2007 Record</b>: 14-9, 9-3 National District
<b>Season Ended</b>: Lost 4-1 to Stone Bridge in the first round of the region tournament.
<b>Key Losses</b>: P/C Seth Williams, CF/P Brian Stokes, OF Brian Simmons
<b>Key Players</b>: 3B/C John Kane SR, LHP/1B Jack Frawley SR, SS/P Isaac Barnett JR
<b>Quotable</b>: “It’s going to be a little rougher than it was last year. Seth and Stokes. Last year, we had someone here step up everyday. Hopefully, we can get the same out of these guys this year — if someone steps up and becomes the hero, we can carry that on week-to-week.” — Steve Palese, Edison head coach
<b>Outlook</b>: Seth Williams is gone, and second-year Edison head coach Steve Palese is charged to deal with the wake. Williams, a current Michigan State catcher, was the National District Player of the Year and holds Edison’s career, season and single-game home run records, along with a single-game RBI record. A team captain for two seasons, he, along with Brian Stokes and Brian Simmons, led the Eagles to a 33-11, two-year record.
For Palese, who returned to coaching last season after a 17-year hiatus, knows that his current roster resembles little of Seth, Stokes or even Simmons.
“It’s going to be hard to replace them,” said Palese, who has to replace seven starters. “None of the guys on the roster have really played much. We’re very young.”
The Eagles will rely heavily on senior stars John Kane and Jack Frawley. Kane, who has a cannon, will split time between third base and catcher.
“He loves the game of baseball,” Palese said. “He wants to play all the time.”
Frawley, who will also play first, will likely be the second pitching slot. Both are charged with guiding a starting rotation that includes four seniors, two juniors and three sophomores.
“The seniors are going to have to play like seniors,” Palese said. “They’re going to have to be leaders and the young guys are going to have to follow them.”
Though Edison will have to replace its top seven hitters, the coaching veteran will have to ride his young arsenal of arms, which includes junior ace Isaac Barnett.
“This year, we’re not as strong pitching,” Palese said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to hit the ball.”
Each individual player takes 300 cuts per practice to instill the repetitive batting motion, but also to keep the younger players aware of what many consider to be their glaring weakness.
Edison, which won the district for the first time in 2006, will play in the West Potomac tournament starting on March 15. The four-day tournament field includes Stone Bridge, Lee, O’Connell and the Wolverines. Palese isn’t entirely sure how his inexperienced team will respond.
“It’s hard to say, because we’re so young,” said Palese, who will start sophomores at third base and in the outfield. “If these young guys come through, I could see us having a chance to battle it out like we did last year. But all of the young guys are going to have to step it up.”