Saints continue building

Published 9:39 pm Friday, March 4, 2011

Tripp Kretz, now a sophomore this season, was one of many young pitchers Nansemond-Suffolk relied on last season as the Saints went 6-10 overall and 4-5 in the Tidewater Conference. The Saints are going on a Spring Break/spring training trip to Daytona Beach, Fla. and the Bucky Dent Baseball School next week before opening their season on March 17 by hosting Nandua.

Head coach Michael Curry believes his Nansemond-Suffolk baseball squad has grown from very young last spring to simply young heading into this season.

“We knew last year this was probably more along the lines of two years’ worth of rebuilding,” Curry said.

The Saint roster carried only two seniors and two juniors last year. As the Saints had a 6-10 record, including a 4-5 mark in the Tidewater Conference, some outings showed the talent Curry was rebuilding with. Others, especially against the toughest competition, showed NSA’s youth.


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“We’re raising the expectations a little more,” Curry said.

“We expect to be competitive throughout the year. Our goals are to win the games we should win and compete better versus the teams that are older than us, the likes of Greenbrier Christian and Cape Henry,” he said.

The Saints won five of seven games in a stretch midway through last season, including an 11-10 win against Norfolk Academy and a 6-5 extra-inning win against Hampton Christian.

The season ended with five straight losses, including an 11-2 score against Greenbrier Christian and a 14-5 loss versus Hampton Roads in the first round of the conference tournament.

Curry’s pitching staff could be the spot where another year does the most good. Taylor Edens, Zach Edwards and Brian Vincent, now juniors and Tripp Kretz and Jacob Laine, now sophomores, make for what’s still a young group even with a year of varsity experience.

Junior Anthony Waldner is a three-year starter at shortstop and as a main bat in the top of the Saint order.

Curry has four freshmen on the varsity squad and 10 of the 12 players on his roster are still underclassmen.

NSA’s regular season gets going early and with a serious road trip, to Daytona Beach, Fla.

The Saints will spend Spring Break at Bucky Dent Baseball School and play two official games along with a couple other scrimmages. NSA meets Woodward Academy of College Park, Ga. on Monday evening.

Bucky Dent, the New York Yankee shortstop who hit a famous three-run, division-winning, jinx-prolonging home run in Fenway Park on Oct. 2, 1978, built a full replica of Fenway Park, or at least the field with the proper dimensions and Green Monster, as one of the main fields at his school in Daytona Beach.

More importantly for the Saints, the trip is an opportunity to get a lot of work done as a team.

“We’re taking some of the younger (junior varsity) guys, too. We’ll have time to work a lot on individual things, fundamentals,” Curry said.

“We’re not going to have a lot of home run hitters so we have to play the game fundamentally. We have to play quality, routine baseball,” he said.

Once back from the Sunshine State, the Saints will have their home opener on Thursday, March 17 against Nandua.