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The Suburbanite
  • Springfield baseball looks to take another step in the right direction this season

  • Scott Swan finds his Springfield baseball team in a unique situation.


    On one hand, the Spartans graduated seven seniors, including two of the team’s top players. On the other hand, the team’s progress proves his players are buying in and his system is working. As a result, the Spartans enter the season with higher expectations than they have had in several years.

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  • Scott Swan finds his Springfield baseball team in a unique situation.
    On one hand, the Spartans graduated seven seniors, including two of the team’s top players. On the other hand, the team’s progress proves his players are buying in and his system is working. As a result, the Spartans enter the season with higher expectations than they have had in several years.
    The Spartans finished at even par last season, posting a 12-12 overall record, including a 7-7 league record and 1-1 tournament record—a solid improvement from a seven-win season the year before.
    The Spartans split with each team in the Portage Trail Conference but Kent Roosevelt, which they lost both games to, and Norton, which they beat both games. With that momentum, they enter the new campaign with added doses of optimism and confidence.
    “I think with the success our players had they got some confidence,” Swan said. “There are some guys that are first-year varsity players, so there will be some mistakes and some mental errors. But our goal is to get better each game and, hopefully, by the end of the season we’ll be playing our best baseball.
    “And with our number one pitcher coming back it adds confidence putting him on the mound,” he said.
    That pitcher would be Seth Robinson, a senior who finished with a 5-4 record, two saves and a 3.23 ERA last season. Robinson pitched 47 2/3 innings last season and struck out 64 batters.
    “He’s gotten a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger and he’s throwing a little bit harder,” Swan said. “I think he’s got more confidence this year. Being a senior and having success last year, he knows he’s the man.”
    Robinson also batted .340 last season, so when he’s not pitching he’ll be the Spartans’ first baseman.
    When Robinson’s not pitching, junior Mitch Stubbs likely will be. Stubbs pitched some in the relief position his freshman and sophomore seasons. This year “he’s pretty solid,” Swan said. Stubbs will also play second base.
    Shane Robinson, Seth’s younger brother, will also see time on the mound. Seth saw some time as a relief pitcher last season. He’ll also play catcher for the Spartans and some third base, where he’ll split time with Zach Werner.
    “Shane’s a really smart ballplayer,” Swan said. “He has a really strong arm and he’s really versatile.”
    Senior Matt Thomas will catch when Shane Robinson is pitching, play first base when Seth Robinson pitches and will also bat DH.
    “He received our ‘All Heart’ award last year,” Swan said. “It’s for the person who gives the most effort, intensity and good character. Matt’s probably the hardest worker on the team.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Junior Kyle McLean is moving from second base to shortstop this season. McLean was named to the honorable mention All-PTC team last season.
    Senior Brian Stanick is Springfield’s starting center fielder. Stanick brings a good amount of experience to the outfield, having played there in 22 of 24 games last season. Stanick is also an attribute on offense, having batted .327 last season.
    He will be surrounded by sophomores Brendon Howiler and Michael Perkins, who will rotate in left and right field and also both see some time as relief pitchers.
     Junior Brandon Groves is also a relief pitcher, as is Ryan Vaughn. Vaughn is the only freshman on varsity, and also the team’s utility infielder.
    Swan expects the Portage Trail Conference to be strong again, but thinks the Spartans can compete.
    “I’m really excited about this year’s group,” he said. “They’re all very coachable, hard-working kids. It’s a great group to work with. We have a good mix of veterans and some newcomers. I’m excited about this season and the direction the program’s going.”
    The Spartans began the season with a 9-0 win over Rootstown Thursday. Seth Robinson was the winning pitcher, striking out 10 and also drove in three RBI.
    The team will play all of their home games at JEDD Park (located on Pickle Road next to Schrop Intermediate School) due to construction of the new high school.