Perkiomen’s Joseph De LosSantos makes contact with the ball during play in Fridays agaim against Westtown.
In his twenty third year at the helm of the Perkiomen baseball program coach Ken Baker will be looking to blend a handful of new faces with a solid nucleus of returning players as they head into the 2012 season.
In last Fridays season opener against Academy of the New Church it appeared the Panthers were blending together nicely as they could do no wrong in a 17-0 win.
Returning senior Noah Kauffman got the start on the mound for the Panthers and looked to be in mid season form striking out the side in the top of the first. Kauffman struck out four without allowing a base hit in his two innings of work and was credited with win.
One of the new faces on the Perkiomen roster Jose Marce came on to work the third and fourth innings and he also held the visitors hitless. Marce a junior struck out three of the six hitters he faced.
Juanki Sierra a returning junior pitched the fifth and allowed two weak infield singles before striking out the side. In all Perkiomen pitchers struck out 10 of the 17 batters they face.
Despite the opening day success pitching will be the number one concern for Baker as the Panthers season progresses. “Our pitchers will be challenged. We play a lot of games, and we don’t have a tremendous amount of depth. The boys will need to throw strikes, and a few players will need to step up when we call upon them said Baker.”
One look at the Panthers first full week of games and it’s easy to see why the coach could be concerned. The Panthers will play four games in five days and with Germantown Academy, Malvern Prep., and Chestnut Hill on the list of opponents it should be a very competitive week of baseball for the Panthers.
Defense should be the strength of the team with first year sophomore Joey Pena at shortstop. Other first year starters for the Panthers are Remon Grant at second base. Laing Crachad will handle the bulk of the catching duties. Esteban Martinez will land an outfield spot while Joseph DelosSantos will see time at first base.
Besides Sierra and Kauffman the Panthers return seniors Jorge Otero and Axel Rivera both outfielders. Rivera who batted in the cleanup spot for the Panthers last Friday was 2-3 with five RBI and a pair of runs scored. Naquan Holden only a freshman got the start in left field for Perkiomen. Holden was 2-2 with a double and three RBI and a pair of runs scored.
Perkiomen pounded out 11 hits in their opener but may find those hits a bit harder to come by as they face some of the stiffer competition their schedule has to offer. “We work hard on our hitting starting with the mental part said Baker. We take it one pitch at a time and battle every at bat. I think in the end we will do a decent job offensively.”
Perkiomen plays at home on Friday at 4:00pm against Mercy Vocational and will travel to Chestnut Hill Saturday for a 1:00pm game. The Panthers will face Upper Perkiomen next Thursday at 4:00pm at Upper Perkiomen High School.