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Baseball has voids to fill

Head coach Mike Pochron is entering his 19th season leading the Salisbury baseball team.

The 2019 season might be his biggest challenge in nearly two decades.

Salisbury (11-10 overall; 9-9 in Colonial League) returned to the district tournament last spring after missing out on the playoffs for the first time in eight years in 2017. But much of last year’s team has graduated-including 10 regular rotation players- and that has left Pochron with a largely unproved bunch.

“We have very little varsity experience,” Pochron said. “[Quinn] Warmkessel was a starter last year, and [Colin] Weiss and [Ernesto] Fermin played a few innings, but all positions are open.”

Salisbury’s season came to an end last year in the Class 3A quarterfinals when Palmerton handed the Falcons a 3-2 loss. Lucas Irwin started on the mound, with Andrew Sukanick relieving him in the sixth inning.

Both of those two have graduated, and a number of other pitchers are also gone. Jack Repyneck (.333 average), Cole Warmkessel, Taylor Linn and Pete DuBois saw innings on the mound as well and won’t be of service for Pochron this season.

The good news, however, is that Quinn Warmkessel is back after pitching in a number of meaningful games as a freshman. He also figures to be one of the Falcons’ leaders in the batters box as well this spring.

“It looks like there are a number of players who can provide innings on the mound,” Pochron said. “It may turn out to be a strength if games begin to back up due to bad weather.”

The biggest question centers around the Falcons’ offense, which was a bit inconsistent last season. The Falcons were held to three runs or less in five of their league contests.

With the losses of a number of key contributors, it will be difficult to find immediate success hitting the ball. Joey Galantini (.344 average) also graduated and is playing college baseball at Northampton Area Community College for the No. 10 nationally ranked Spartans.

But the loss of Galantini in the outfield just scratches the surface of the voids Pochron will have to fill in the upcoming weeks. Colten Hagadus (.339 average) and Ryan Miller (.323) also roamed the outfield on the corners, but won’t be back. Hagadus transferred to Northwestern, while Miller has graduated.

Infielder Mark Wilson rounds out the group of Falcons that have graduated from last year’s team.

“The big question is who will hit and provide offense,” Pochron said. “That is yet to be seen.”

Hayden Kuhns, who had a stellar summer playing Connie Mack, figures to be one of the upcoming pitchers that Pochron will rely on for innings. Jones Resto and Josh Negron are also expected to make an impact on the varsity level as the Falcons look to make it back to postseason play.

“We’re looking for enough wins to qualify for district playoffs,” Pochron said.

Salisbury opens its schedule at Dieruff on Saturday, March 23. Game time is set for 12 p.m.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZSalisbury pitcher Quinn Warmkessel is one of just a few returning players on this year's varsity baseball team.