Weekly Feature



2018-04-11 / Sports

Sweet Home baseball hopes to continue wave of success for school’s sports teams

by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter


Sweet Home’s Josh Bystrak throws a pitch during the Panthers’ home scrimmage against East Aurora on April 3. Bystrak, a returning ECIC II Second Team all-star, allowed no runs and threw six strikeouts in the scrimmage. He also threw a perfect game in Monday’s non-league 1-0 home win over Maryvale. 
Photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Sweet Home’s Josh Bystrak throws a pitch during the Panthers’ home scrimmage against East Aurora on April 3. Bystrak, a returning ECIC II Second Team all-star, allowed no runs and threw six strikeouts in the scrimmage. He also threw a perfect game in Monday’s non-league 1-0 home win over Maryvale. Photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Many of Sweet Home’s sports teams have seen success in the current school year, most notably the boys hockey team winning the Division II state title.

Panthers’ baseball coach Jon Campolo is hoping his squad can also have success and improve on last year’s 6-6 mark and third-place finish in ECIC Division II, and 10-11 overall record.

“They have a lot of drive and are trying to live up to the expectations of what is going on at Sweet Home,” Campolo said. “I am starting to see them come together as a team. I think we have a good year.”

Campolo said the biggest ways the team can have success on a consistent basis for this season is if it increases its on-base percentage and capitalizes on situations with runners on base and in scoring position.

“We have to be aggressive and able to create runs when necessary, and have a solid defense,” Campolo said. “In all of the close games we won last year, we had less than two errors.”

The Panthers committed only one error in their season opening 2-1 non-league home win over West Seneca West on April 3.

Campolo said the defense made plays to help secure the win, including a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded in the second inning, and a throw out from sophomore shortstop Austin Romanowski at home plate in the seventh inning.

“It was nice to see us execute plays like that this early in the season,” Campolo said.

Senior Brian Lovering, a returning ECIC Division II Honorable Mention all-star, got the win in relief, allowing three hits and no runs in four innings and striking out three. He also had a hit at the plate.

“He has a nice fastball and curve ball,” Campolo said. “He’s very effective.”

Lovering will also start at third base when he is not pitching.

Junior Keith Murphy, also a returning Honorable Mention division all-star, pitched the first three innings and allowed four hits, an earned run and struck out six. He also recorded the game-winning hit in the sixth inning.

Murphy will be one of the team’s starting pitchers along with senior Josh Bystrak, a returning ECIC II Second Team all-star who tallied a team-best 4-2 record to go along with a 2.70 ERA in 15 appearances last year.

“I am confident with both,” Campolo said. “Both will do an outstanding job on the mound. Josh has a live arm that is deceiving to the batters. He throws hard and has some good off-speed pitches. Keith has a strong arm and a good curve ball.”

Bystrak allowed no runs and six strikeouts in the Panthers’ scrimmage against East Aurora on April 3.

He also threw a perfect game with 10 strikeouts in the Panthers’ 1-0 non-league home win over Cheektowaga on Monday. It was the Panthers’ first perfect game since Justin Orinzbach threw one against Lake Shore on May 6, 2002.

When Bystrak is pitching, Murphy will start at first base, and when Murphy is pitching, Bystrak will start at third base.

Campolo will lean on sophomore brothers Austin Romanowski (starting shortstop, can also play second base/third base, starting pitcher) and Shawn Romanowski (starting catcher, can also play third base) to lead the offense.

Shawn Romanowski, a returning Second Team division all-star, hit .250 with five doubles last year and could lead off the lineup this year.

Austin Romanowski was a JV call-up last year for playoffs and hit .333. He singled against West Seneca West this season.

Campolo is also hopeful for big things at the plate from Murphy and returning seniors Evan Bezak (designated hitter/first base), Anthony Frescatore (starts in center field, also plays left field and pitches) and Tyler Edholm (starts in right field, also plays second base).

Frescatore and Edholm are returning starters and three-year varsity players.

Frescatore tripled in the bottom of the sixth against West and scored the game-winning run. He also doubled in the fourth against Cheektowaga and scored on an RBI single by Murphy.

Edholm — the MVP of the Division II boys hockey state tournament — is a returning ECIC II Honorable Mention all-star for baseball and will most likely bat in the cleanup spot.

Another hockey player, sophomore Kyle Neudorf, who was called up to the varsity baseball team from JV at the end of last season, will start at second base. He is also capable of playing at shortstop and catcher, and can also pitch.

Senior Mike McKeehan and juniors Everett Quintieri and Dylan Aarum are battling for the starting job in left field. McKeehan can also play at third or pitch.

Quintieri got the Panthers’ offense going against West Seneca West when he hit a ground ball, reached third on an error and scored the tying run when a ground ball by McKeehan fell out of the West first baseman’s glove.

Sweet Home hosted Kenmore East Tuesday, but information about the non-league game was unavailable before press time. The Panthers travel to Amherst at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and hosts Williamsville South at 5 p.m. on Friday.

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