Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Prep baseball: What's next for the Hurricanes?

Manatee is banking on guys such as Danny Lee, above, to keep the program moving forward next spring. Photo by Paul Videla
A season and an era ended Tuesday night at G.T. Bray, where Manatee's baseball team fell to Venice in a Class 7A-Region 3 semifinal.
It marked the final game in Hurricanes colors for guys such as Chase Sandberg, Correlle Prime, Garrett Waiters and twins Tyler and Trevor Beeman. That group was responsible for breathing life back into the Canes' baseball program, which reached the state final four last season for the first time in nearly 50 years.
So what's next?
Manatee will have some holes to full, but the cupboard won't be bare as Manatee preps for the 2013 season.
Lefty Scott Kelly went 3-2 this season and tossed 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief Tuesday. He has pitched behind Prime the past two seasons and could assume the ace role next year. Another junior, Tyler Souris, primarily played second base this season, but occasionally pitched and posted a 4.30 ERA in 27 2/3 innings while going 2-1 with two saves.
They will try and fill the void left by Prime, who won 10 games this year and 24 over the past three seasons.
Rightfielder Danny Lee, who transferred from Cardinal Mooney prior to this season, should be back next season after hitting .370 with nine RBIs and five doubles. Lee and classmates Danny Kerwin (catcher), Cord Sandberg (centerfielder) and Souris were in the starting lineup Tuesday and should return next fall.
Cord Sandberg, better known as the football team's star quarterback, drove in 17 runs and clubbed six doubles this season. Older brother Chase, who played shortstop, lead the team with 25 RBIs.
Tyler Beeman played left field and Trevor was the team's third baseman, while Waiters played first whenever Prime pitched.
Will their replacements do just was well?
Coach Dwayne Strong is ready to find out.
"We hope that they learned something. We've got a good nucleus coming back," said Strong, whose Canes have won back-to-back district title. "We've got some good young guys, and hopefully those young guys step up and fill some holes for us...Losing Correlle, that's pretty huge. And you lose the Beemans and you lose Chase in the middle, so you've got some holes to fill."

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