Cambridge baseball hopes to breakout in 2017 – Bennington Banner (subscription)

CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. — It was tough sledding for the Cambridge baseball team in 2016 as they lost five games by fewer than two runs.

All that resulted in Cambridge going 4-16 and finishing last in the Wasaren League with a 2-12 record in league play.

Last season, though, is in the past.

Cambridge baseball coach Jason Waite said during a recent practice that the team is focused on making huge strides in 2017.

“We struggled last year with our fielding and pitching, but I feel like our team has taken the steps this offseason to be much better in those areas this season,” Waite said. “We have seven starters coming back for us this year. We have a lot of players with experience in the fold, which is great. I’m very excited to see how things shake out for us this season.”

Key returnees for Cambridge begin with senior Jake Harrington, who was the team’s best hitter last season.

Harrington hit .424 with 21 RBI to earn him first-team Wasaren League honors for the Indians.

“I’m looking for Jake to build off the type of year he had last season,” Waite said. “He’s going to be a bat that will hopefully knock in a lot of runs for us again this season.”

Harrington will also take over a new role this season as the team’s closer, Waite said.

“If he can throw strikes consistently, Jake is a tough guy to hit,” Waite said. “It’s something we have been working on with him and will see how things go with him on the mound to begin the season.”

Fellow senior Ryan McLenithan returns after a strong 2016 campaign for the Indians.

McLenithan stole a team-high 16 bases and scored 12 runs, while playing well as the team’s shortstop.

With a young outfield,Waite has decided to put the speedy McLenithan in centerfield this season and expects the senior to fit in well in his new position.

Junior Patrick Robertson returns as one of the team’s top players and will be the team’s shortstop this season.

Like Harrington and McLenithan, this is Robertson’s third year on varsity and Waite expects the junior to have a productive year.

Senior Tim Lybert also returns and has swung a good bat during preseason workouts. On the mound, junior Nate Woodworth will be the ace of the Indians’ pitching staff, when he is not playing third or second base. McLenithan and Robertson will join Woodworth to make up Cambridge’s pitching rotation this spring.

Senior Isaac Robertson is expected to be a key contributor, while newcomers Colton Dean and Nathan Genevick are two big bats that could make an impact for the Indians this season.

The start to the season for the Indians has been delayed, like most teams in the area, with practices mostly held indoors. Friday’s season opener against Greenwich has already been cancelled.

“It’s been tough being limited with practicing inside to start the season, but I think the kids have handled the situation well,” Waite said. “We have had good bullpen sessions and the guys have done a great job hitting in the cage. We have been able to work on our defense with fielding drills as well. The team is really focused and I think will be fine once the season starts.”

As for the team’s goal this year, Waite said the team is determined to make the playoffs.

“Our goal is to make sectional this season,” Waite said. “We want to be .500 in the Wasaren League and the kids believe they can do that. Hopefully will be able to make it into sectionals this season.”

Reach sports editor Steven Bassin at 802-447-7567 ext 112 or @SBassin_Banner

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