By Joe Murphy and Joe Morgan
It’s the spring season, and a lot of things are starting fresh once again. Grass is being cut again, flowers are budding and starting anew, and Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s Varsity Baseball team is experiencing a fresh start.
The Red Rams gained this fresh start from the loss of seven starting seniors who graduated in 2014. Only three seniors start now, and the remainder of the spots are filled by sophomores and juniors. Due to this loss, the Red Rams didn’t have high expectations for the 2015 season, even though they finished the 2014 season with a sectional win and a 19-4 overall record. “We weren’t supposed to be good,” said senior Jake Binder, who currently leads the state in home runs with five in the first 10 games. Contrary to expectations, the Red Rams found success on the field so far, building an 9-4 overall record, and a No.14 ranking in the state according to Assistant Coach Mike Klemperer.
This success has come from the leadership of Binder and other key seniors like starter Xander Ferlenda and Brady Wing, and coaching by Head Coach Ryan Dera and Coach Klemperer. Ferlenda says the seniors roles on the team are to lead by example, help the younger guys out, and maintain intensity on the diamond. “It’s my job (as a senior) to keep the energy level high, and pick up the younger guys heads when they hang them,” said Ferlenda. Sophomore Gavin French, who has a walk off grand slam under his belt, said, “It takes great leadership (to have a successful team) and we are doing the best we can.”
The long standing rivalry between the Red Rams and Christian Brothers Academy hasn’t stopped this season. The Red Rams beat their rival this season three runs to nil, in nine innings, with a walk off grand slam French, who just so happened to be taking his first ever varsity at bat. A personal pitchers’ duel between Binder and CBA pitcher Webb Little added to the excitement. “I didn’t want Webb to hit a home run off of me, and then on my second pitch to him he hit a dinger off of me,” said Binder, “but I made up for it, by hitting one off of him.” The Red Rams play the Brothers again on May 14.
The Red Rams are looking forward to the postseason. Following last year’s squad who won the NYSPHSAA Section III Class B championship, the team has a high bar to reach. “I’m just trying to finish this season like I did my junior year,” said Ferlenda, who was a member of last year’s squad. “We are going to have to work hard to win it all.” The whole team shares this mindset. Wing quite simply said that the team wants to “take it home, win it all.”