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Reloading or Rebuilding for the Wolverines?

By KF, 03/11/18, 9:00PM PDT

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Another surprise party?

Bellevue Capsule: 

2017: 17-4 (12-2)

Key returners: OF/P Al Aurelio, C/1B/3B Michael Fernandez, INF/P Connor Cirillo, Ben Anger, OF Chase Santora. 

Key Loses: RHP Colin Suter, RHP Jack Enger, SS Colin Baker, C Will Moore.  

Key?s for 2018:  Can the Wolverines replace all the seniors from 2017? What will the pitching staff look like? 

Key games: 3/24 vs Kentlake, 4/2 vs LW, 4/6 vs MI, 4/11 vs Juanita. 

Bellevue put together an impressive 2017 Campaign, powered by a strong Senior Class the Wolverines pulled off quite a surprise party.  Replacing key contributors on the mound and defensively will be paramount if Bellevue wants a repeat performance in 2018.  What do the Wolverines have planned this year?  Lets take a deep dive to get some answers. 

Leading the offensive charge Al Aurelio and Michael Fernandez, the pair combined for 4 HRs and 20RBI.  A good start to the offsensive equation for the Wolverines.  So the first question is who or what group of players is going to set the table and provide protection for Aurelio and Fernandez?   Let's start with Senior OF Chase Santora, he got his feet wet as a junior, but now is the time Bellevue will need him to be at the top of the order.  Providing protection behind 3-4 hitters or batting in the two hole is Junior Connor Cirillo will be a key ingredient.  Cirillo has played on varsity since his freshman year, so he is seasoned and savvy.  Production from those two players will really change this offense and take the pressure off newcomers: 1B/P Dane McQuillan, INF/P Alex Carlisle, and OF/P Ryan Pennington.  Overall if this group has the potential to keep the Wolverines in games and battle MI & LW.  

Helping the pitching staff with a good defense is exactly what Bellevue accomplished last season.  The Wolverines led the conference in field percentage which made the pitching staff even stronger.  With a lot of new faces Connor Cirillo will have to direct the middle of diamond like symphony conductor.  If Bellevue can defend their fielding percentage title the young pitching staff will have the opportunity to settle in and get their footing. 

Gone are Suter and Enger, but Ben Anger is back and he pitched angry last year compiling a 5-1 record, sporting a 1.48 era, and mowing down 33 batter in 33IP.  So the #1 spot in the rotation is taken care of, but who is next?  Look for SR Nick Cvitkovic to takeover the #2 spot, if the Wolverines are to challenge for a conference championship Cvitkovic will be a huge reason how Bellevue can achieve that destination.  A number of other arms will give Head Coach Tate Seefreid options of mix and match early on.  If SR Al Aurelio and Juniors Ryan Pennington, Connor Cirillo, Dane McQuillan, Alex Carlisle and Ben Rupp can deliver quality outings the Wolverines will be in great shape. 

Overall a number of IFs dance around the crystal ball for the Wolverines,  but the opportunity for success looks bright.  The question is how bright in 2018?  This group has more depth and talent than most of the teams in the conference so that is a good thing.  Prediction: 3rd place finish for the Wolverines, but don't be surprised if they sneak into the 2nd spot if everything comes together...another surprise party!