Central High School’s Varsity Baseball team is one of the most respected and well-decorated athletic groups in the school’s long history of sporting achievement and excellence. The team has enjoyed moderate success over the past decade, consistently ranking amongst the teams with the best records in the PPL (Philadelphia Public League) baseball conference. Unfortunately, the team hasn’t won the Philadelphia City Championship since the first year of Richard Weiss’s tenure as the varsity coach.
During the 2016 season, Central boasted one of the most talented and experienced rosters in recent memory. The class of 275 had the talents of Kyle Rosenborg, Kyle Spaulding, Sam Greene, Danny Feyler and Justin Kochmer amongst their rank. However, even with those players it wasn’t enough to overcome contemporary rivals Franklin Towne Charter in the quarter finals. The subsequent defeat and exit from championship contention, coupled with departure of so many skilled seniors, certainly had a lasting impact on the collective psyche of the team. After addressing various players before the start of the 2017 season, the overall team expectations seemed low. However, it is now safe to say that those expectations are a thing of the past. The team is currently cruising through the league, to the playoffs with a deservedly much higher morale.
Central is currently sitting third in the public league with a 6-2 record in the conference, and a 8-5 record out of league. The team has excelled under the captaincy of seniors Danny Holdsman, Jared DiCampello and junior Eamon McCoubrey. After starting off with a 3-0 record, winning against Gamp, Northeast and Bishop McDevitt respectively, Central hit a slight slump, suffering two out-of-league defeats against Shipley and Father Judge. These defeats were not enough to discourage the Lancers, who bounced back in the following game with a 16-1 score with solid performances from Rawyn Mercado (277), Blake Mayberry (278), and Nick Ocasio (276). Central then went on to beat Abington Friends School (4-3) in extra innings in a hotly contested game and Esperanza (8-2) in their self-proclaimed best performance of the season.
In the 11th game of the season, the Lancers travelled to Arm and Hammer stadium in Trenton, NJ to take on rivals Franklin Towne. In large part due to a solid performance by captain Jared DiCampello (276), the lancers clinched the victory 5-4 after 7 hard fought innings. Most recently the Lancers beat Swenson 10-0 with a dominant performance by Blake Mayberry(278) who performed well as a pitcher and recorded a season high of 4 RBI’s.
Recently, Central lost a close game against Lincoln, 5-3. Following the game, catcher Phillip Dallam (277) said that the game was their “worst performance of the season.” While the 2017 season hasn’t been perfect, the team’s preseason expectations have been handily exceeded and the Lancers are playing with a particular confidence and chemistry which is propelling them full-force toward the next and most crucial matches, and beyond that the playoffs.
It is not clear what to expect from the next few games on Central’s schedule, but of the remaining 6 games, 3 in particular catch the eye. Germantown Friends, Masterman and SLA all land directly in a row, Thursday the 4th, Friday the 5th and Monday the 8th respectively and should all prove to be very entertaining and eventful games. Germantown Friends always delivers as an exciting out of league thriller, with last years coming down to 10-9 to GFS, definitely a game not to be missed. Masterman as well should be a hotly contested match, especially with the rivalry considered and the history from last season, another can’t-miss game and perfect location for Friday afternoon. Finally the game on Monday, May 8th against Science Leadership Academy could end up being the best game of the regular season. Both Central and SLA are cruising through the league but both teams have their weaknesses, the game becomes even more tantalizing since Central knocked the SLA out of the round of 16 last season in another very close game.
After those games the regular season begins to wind down with the final three games being against Olney on the 10th, against Springfield on the 17th and Lower Moreland on the 18th. Then the Lancers will begin to gear up for the playoffs. There is little doubt that Central will make it to the round of 16 since they currently sit third in the league, but how far they progress beyond that is anyone’s guess. What is for sure is that the team’s confidence is at an all time high. In the words of junior Greyson Sobel, “The road from here won’t be easy but we can make it happen.” Sobel’s words accurately sum up the current confidence level that the team possesses and the belief that this year is the year for a championship title.
Julius Duhan (277)