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2008 Spring Training: Hayfield Baseball

Hawks want to bounce back from rare losing season.

<ro>Hayfield Baseball

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<b>Coach</b>: Scott Broyles, second year (9-11)

<b>2007 Record</b>: (9-11, 8-6 Patriot District)

<b>Season Ended</b>: Lost 13-1 to fifth-seeded West Springfield in the second round of the district tournament.

<b>Key Losses</b>: LF Josh Hauserman, P/3B Tyler McElhenny, SS Greg Cheza, 1B/DH Josh Bender

<b>Key Players</b>: P/3B Andrew Kim SR, SS Kenny Booth JR, C/OF Ben Adducci JR, 1B/C Taylor Kewer JR

<b>Quotable</b>: “We will go as far as our pitching and defense take us. We won't be able to afford giving our opponents any extra outs or at bats. I believe we have a team that will fight and scratch and claw its way in every game to be competitive.” — Scott Broyles, Hayfield head coach

<b>Outlook</b>: Despite becoming the third head coach in as many years, first-year Hayfield head coach Scott Broyles had a talented crop coming off a 17-win season. With just nine wins — the Hawks’ lowest since 2001 — the year didn’t pan out the way he expected.

However, year two is already setting up to be different. For one, Broyles really likes this team.

“What we lack in game experience we make up for with a great work ethic and a team that's very focused on playing sound, fundamental baseball,” Broyles said.

Broyles, who failed to lead Hayfield to a winning season for the first time since 2001, brings a young lineup after graduation claimed seven starters. The second-year head coach must replace four all-district standouts and the void in leadership created by their absence.

“What we lack in game experience we make up for with a great work ethic and a team that's very focused on playing sound, fundamental baseball,” Broyles said.

The Hawks finished tied for third in the district last season, but whiffed at chance for the regionals with a tough 13-1 loss to the fifth-seeded Spartans after winning four days earlier on Senior Night. This season, the 14-game district slate looks to be a grind with Lake Braddock, South County and West Springfield poised to be the top programs.

“We have a very strong district with three teams in the Northern Region preseason top 10,” Broyles said. “The rest of the district is going to be a dogfight to see who can knock off some of the big dogs.”

The Hawks do return several building blocks, including senior Andrew Kim, who will split time between pitching and third base duties. Kim hit .387 last season and went 3-1 on the mound. Other players that need to step up will be shortstop Kenny Booth, who takes over for the departed Greg Cheza. Junior first baseman Taylor Kewer, a transfer from St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes, will split time at catcher with classmate Ben Adducci, who hit .300 last season.

“I'm pleased with the way we have hit the ball in our preseason scrimmages, and we've shown some good overall team speed,” Broyles said. “We will go as far as our pitching and defense take us.”

Aside from Kim, four other players, including sophomores Brandon Bender and Matt Clark could see time as pitcher. With only five seniors, Broyles is counting on the underclassmen to mature rapidly. In order to enhance the process, the Hawks will compete in the same Cocoa, Fla. tournament in which Wakefield will compete. The 14-game district schedule starts on March 29 at Lee.

“The future looks bright as we've got a very strong junior class that will gain valuable game experience, coupled with a very promising group of young, big, strong freshmen who provide us with building blocks for the next few years to come,” Broyles said. “We could surprise some people who take us lightly.”