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April 4, 2013

OHS to defend state title with young roster

In the spring of 2010, Oneonta High sophomores Sean Getman, Conor Youngs and Mike Calkins helped the Yellowjackets to a 12-10 baseball season.

Last spring, those three, along with a host of other seniors, were holding a plaque commemorating OHS’ Class B state championship.

It would appear Yellowjackets coach Joe Hughes is about to partake on another three-year plan.

With Getman, Youngs, Calkins, Daily Star and Class B state player of the Year Ben Moxley, Mark Giallanzo, Zach Pidgeon, David Wright, Ben Payton and Ryne Rivino graduated after winning the program’s first state title, this year’s edition of OHS will feature many new faces.

In fact, six players on the Yellowjackets’ 16-man roster are sophomores. Hughes said he’s never carried that many 10th-graders in his 28 previous seasons with the Jackets, who will open the season at 4 p.m. Friday at Cobleskill.

“I kind of think it’s the same blueprint,” Hughes said of having a young roster. “It’s a good group of sophomores and juniors. They have the same work ethic (of the kids who led OHS to a state title last season). They like baseball. They play in the offseason and they play in the summer.

“The sophomores need to get comfortable at the varsity and they need to grow and get stronger,” he continued. “As they keep playing as juniors and seniors, they’ll be a good core group of players.”

They’re also following in Frankenstein-like footsteps.

Oneonta went 44-4 over the last two seasons, winning a pair of Southern Tier Athletic Conference titles to go along with the 2-0 state-championship victory over Briarcliff at Conlon Field in Binghamton.

“I think we mentioned it once and that’s it,” Hughes said of last year’s accomplishments. “We’re proud of what happened last year. There were a lot of great memories, but this is a new year with new faces.”

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