Playing a big part in last year’s squad and returning to the team this year are shortstop Brian Dansereau and first baseman CJ Sparnell. Also returning is pitcher Cody Worthy, who also played an important part in last season’s run.
“These guys and last year’s team overall kind of raised the bar for Alexander,” said AHS coach Chris Brown.”This group is ready to step up, do the same thing, and keep it going.”
Worthy joined the baseball team late this season after being a part of the basketball teams Elite-8 state tournament run. He played in his first game early last week.
“We are welcoming him back with open arms and excited to get him back into baseball shape,” Brown said. “It will not take him long.”
Dansereau will be the team’s leadoff hitter this season and is already performing at an elite level. Against Central last week, the shortstop went 4-for-5, setting the hitters up behind him for big nights at the plate.
“He is probably the leader on the team,” Brown said. “He is a soft spoken guy, but he leads by example and sets the tone for everyone else.”
Sparnell returns to the 2013 squad and will play first base and lead the pitching staff.
“He has embraced the leadership role on the mound and I can already see him coaching up the other young arms,” Brown said. “You can only go as far as your pitchers and you have to have a senior leader.”
Alexander’s pitching staff will be a strength this year and the team is filled with depth. Joining Sparnell on the mound are Nick Wise, Morgan Folks, Austin Morris, and Stephen Kloser.
“We are excited about our staff,” Brown said. “We knew last year we had the offense but we were not as deep on the mound. This year we know we are going to be deep on the mound and hopefully offensively someone will step up.”
Behind the plate are two guys, senior catcher Nick Vallanacci and junior Jordon Lee. Vallanacci is currently injured allowing Lee to take over at the plate. Lee is a defensive specialist.
Andrew Smith will start at third base and supply a lot of the power at the plate for the Cougars. Smith hit a 3-run homer in the game against Central last week, setting the tone of the game.
“He is going to be in the middle of the lineup and be one of our big RBI guys,” Brown said. “
Dansereau will leadoff and play shortstop, Sparnell will play first, and Kloser will start at second.
“We really have high expectations for Kloser this year,” Brown said. “He can be an interracial part of the top half of the lineup.” The outfield will be shared by four guys, Wise, Morris, Mitch Berger, and Cole Weatherby.
Alexander will play out of the 5-AAAA region where they will be joined by a very talented group of teams. Columbus joins the region as a three-time consecutive state champion. Troup enters this year as the preseason favorite. Other tough teams in the region include Carrollton and LaGrange.
“It is going to be a dog fight but our guys are up for it,” Brown said. “This is our region and I plan on winning another region championship.