Richland Northeast begins a new baseball season with an appearance in the RBI preseason tournament this week at White Knoll.
The Cavaliers enter with the plan of upgrading last season's finish - 12-13 overall record, 6-4 in Region 4-4A.
“We expect to have solid pitching and play good defense,” said RNE manager Thane Maness. “The big question is whether or not we can hit well enough to win games.”
The Cavs certainly have experience with the return of Joe Stanton (1B), Ryne Maness (2nd), Jake Mueller (SS), Zach Crumlich (3B) and catcher Shannon Glover around the infield, plus Nick Gelting, Robert Cooper in the outfield. Harrison Merck, Eric Manning, Justin Davidson and TJ Brunson also return.
Mueller and Davidson, the starting DH, are the top returning producers. Mueller hit .351 with 13 runs and 16 RBI. Davidson finished with a .362 batting average and was second on the team with 12 RBI. Glover was more productive than his .246 average might indicate. He had 26 total bases, scored 15 runs and had the only RNE home run.
Preston Bayne, Harrison Merck, Zach Crumlich, Mueller and Maness are back as the workhorses on the pitching staff. Maness, went 5-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 48.1 innings or work, is the ace.