Spring previews: Indians to defend Wasaren crown
CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- Thirteen seconds.
That was the time between the Cambridge Central School boys lacrosse team and a berth in the Class C championship game last spring. Facing Scotia, the Indians came back from a 7-0 halftime deficit to tie the game, but a score in the dying moments sent the Indians packing.
"I came to Cambridge five years ago to start the high school program," said coach Tom Pillsworth during a practice earlier this week. "Last year, we won the league title, and came within 13 seconds of reaching the final. I'm proud of where we got to."
But to do it again, new players will have to step up.
Seven seniors graduated from a team that finished 13-4 and won the Wasaren League title with an unbeaten 7-0 mark, including leading goal scorer Tom Hemmerling and leading assist man Skyler Saunders.
"We lost a lot of people, but we're having a lot of people step up too," said senior captain Len Darcy. "Some of the kids come in and work in their free time too. It matters if you pick up your stick in the offseason."
Three starters return from last year's semifinal squad: Chris Warnke, Kiel Kyer and Jarred Sausville -- all three in the offensive end of the field.
Other options including seniors Bryant Gibbons, Darcy, Paul Baker and Liam Somers. The four upperclassmen are the Indians' captains.
"All of our offensive players can handle the ball, we're not dependent on one or two," Pillsworth said. "We'll have an active offense, they all should produce goals and assists. Lots of teamwork, everybody's in motion, I expect everyone to contribute."
"I've just been working hard, trying to work both hands and trying to pick up for Skyler, the main feeder," Gibbons said.
A new face on defense will be Zack Martin. Martin, who wrestled during the winter, will take faceoffs for the Indians.
Charles Hayes was the netminder a year ago, but two have taken his place in 2013 -- Dustin DiMaggio and Nate Gates. DiMaggio was a backup last season, while Gates is in his first season of lacrosse.
"Nate played soccer, so he knows the net. I wanted to have two goalies and [he] volunteered," Pillsworth said. "My hope is that we're scoring goals, not focusing on being just a defensive team. We have a full 10-man game, hopefully the offense can put the ball in the net."
Pillsworth, who has been dedicated to the sport in the Capital Region for the past half-century, was tight-lipped when asked to predict his team's success.
"They're a good team, I like this team, how we'll do I don't know," he said. "They can pass and catch, but we have a lot of new players. I cant guess how we'll do, we have a decent core squad." BASEBALL
Coach: Jason Waite (3rd season)
Last year: 7-12, lost in first round of sectionals
The team: The focus on the Cambridge diamond this year is on pitching and defense as the top two starters -- seniors Shaeden Mosso and Matt Parmenter -- head into their third varsity campaigns. The team around them is still young with five sophomores and a freshman on the roster, but junior catcher Brady Sausville and junior designated hitter David Reedy, along with sophomore center fielder Ethan English, all bring experience from last year's squad. Sophomore Caleb Rowland joins the team after playing lacrosse last spring and freshman Andy Romack will start at third base in the season opener. "[Andy] has quick hands and he's a hard worker," Waite said. Clayton Harrington, expected to bat cleanup, is out for a month after breaking his ankle in practice. "Our goal is to reach seven wins and qualify for sectionals," Waite said. "Then we want to win it. We have two guys in Shaeden and Matt who know what it's like to be there."
Opener: Today vs. Lake George, 4:15 p.m.
Coach: Jackie Hall (1st season)
Last year: 2-16, missed playoffs
The team: A new year and a new coach are cause for optimism for the Cambridge softball team. Jackie Hall, who played softball at Saratoga Catholic and was the pitching coach at Skidmore for the past seven years, takes over a team that finished last in the Wasaren League and missed the postseason. "They know my background in softball and they're excited," Hall said. "They've already learned a lot in the past three weeks." Seniors Jean Brownell, an outfielder, and second baseman Taylor Clark will be at the top of the lineup, while junior Carly Dwyer, sophomore Autumn Clifton and senior corner infielder Stephanie Shimer will drive in runs in the middle of the order. Dwyer and Clifton are the main battery for the Indians and Hall said the two worked hard in the offseason to get in sync. Another senior, Dylan Jakacki, will play the outfield. "I had a presentation the first day of practice and said if you trust the coaches, you'll see good things happen," Hall said.
Opener: Tuesday at Tamarac, 4:15 p.m.
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