After massive turnover of senior-laden roster, Freeport baseball entering ‘strange year’
Tuesday, March 23, 2021 | 8:16 PM
Heading into last season, the Freeport Yellowjackets were set to return one of the most experienced and talented rosters in the WPIAL.
Coach Ed Carr was set to have 11 seniors return from a team that went 15-7, earned a No. 1 seed in the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs and punched a ticket to the PIAA playoffs for the first time in 21 years.
Now, with no players returning from Freeport’s 2019 team, the Yellowjackets are in the same boat as most of the teams throughout the WPIAL. They’ll come into the season with no players who have recorded a varsity hit or pitched in a varsity game.
“Last year was a disappointment because we kind of felt that we were built to make a really deep run,” Carr said. “We felt like at the end of 2019, everything that happened that year was gravy because we were going to return everybody. It was disappointing, but you have to move on, and we honored those guys the best we could.”
The Yellowjackets have four seniors and three juniors to go along with 17 players between the freshman and sophomore classes. With such an inexperienced roster, Carr and his team are just looking to improve week after week.
“I think this year, for us, is more about getting on the field,” Carr said. “We’ll assess at the end of the year where we are, but I think the important part is to get us back building again.”
Leading up to their season opener at Armstrong on Friday, Carr has been seeing who works where. A few players have stuck out so far.
Senior Colton Abbott has moved around the infield between third and shortstop, and Alec Asti has been one of the more vocal leaders so far. Asti’s younger brother, Tyler, a sophomore, could also see time behind the plate.
Carr is also excited about freshman Matt Corfield and sophomore Zach Clark, two young pitchers who are in line to eat up a lot of innings. Carr will be counting on a lot of young players in general.
“We’re going to rely on a lot of young guys, and we’re going to rely on the older guys for some leadership and some guidance, but the young guys are going to push,” Carr said. “There are going to be a lot of sophomores and maybe even some freshmen playing to get some experience.”
Without any players who have varsity experience, Carr and his coaching staff will be more focused on development than usual.
“We’re trying to develop 24 guys instead of trying to develop 14 to 15 guys,” Carr said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen with covid, and quite frankly, we just don’t know who can play at this level at this point. So, I think our approach to our development this year has been a little sped up and there’s a sense of urgency. We’re not only trying to cram in our own system, but we’re also teaching fundamental baseball.”
“It’s definitely a strange year.”
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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