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Y-D seeks return to the top

Y-D seeks return to the top

By SAM MONROE
CCBL INTERN

YARMOUTH ---- 
After exiting the 2009 playoffs in the second round with an 18-4 loss to the Cotuit Kettleers, the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox look to get back on top by winning their fourth championship in seven years. 

    Field manager Scott Pickler returns for his 13th season. He was the recipient of the Mike Curran Manager of the Year Award last season, an honor he also received following the 2007 season. 

    Returning from last year’s Eastern Division champions are catcher Ben McMahan (Florida) and infielder Tyler Hanover (LSU). McMahan hit .241 with eight RBI in 23 games, while Hanover averaged .300 with 16 RBI in 25. Hanover was also named to the All-Star team. 

    The Red Sox led the league with a .261 average, and were first in hits and runs. They also fielded one of the league’s top pitching staffs.
This year, the Red Sox feature 11 sets of college teammates, including a pair of pitcher and catcher combinations. 

    McMahan brings along Gator teammate and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, who signed to play with the Red Sox last season but was unable to make the commitment. The other pitcher-catcher combination is Central Florida right-hander D.J. Hicks and catcher Beau Taylor. In his freshman season at UCF, Hicks posted a 4-5 record with three saves and 31 strikeouts. Taylor was hitting .350 with 27 RBI and five homers early in his spring season. 

    Right-hander Trevor Bauer and outfielder Cody Keefer arrive from UCLA. Bauer was 6-2, 2.57, while Keefer was off to a .317 start at the plate with 22 RBI for the Bruins. 

    From Cal-Poly come outfielder Bobby Crocker and second baseman Matt Jensen. Crocker started his sophomore season this spring hitting .304 with 30 RBI, leading the team in steals with 12 through 36 games. Jensen led the team with 32 RBI, hitting .270. He has been selected for the Team USA roster and has yet to make a decision on where to play this summer. 

    Fresno State will provide the duo of right-hander Derek Benny and outfielder Dusty Robinson. Robinson hit .319, with 15 home runs and 45 RBI in his freshman season. 

    Changing one red jersey for another will be St. John’s shortstop Joe Panik and right-hander Kyle Hansen. Panik knocked in 47 runs as a freshman and added 33 to start his sophomore season. The 6-7 Hansen was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 40th round of the 2009 MLB draft.

    The two players closest to home this summer come from Boston College. Catcher Matt Watsonand infielder Matt Hamlet will try to provide power to the lineup. Watson hit .318 with 32 RBI heading into the final week of April, while Hamlet was averaging .311 with 28 RBI and seven steals. 

    Other college teammates include outfielder/infielder DJ Baxendale and outfielder Matt Vinsonfrom Arkansas, pitcher Alex Meyer and outfielder/first baseman Lance Ray from Kentucky, right-handers Tanner Poppe and Lee Ridenhour from Kansas, and right-hander Jordan Pries and left-hander Scott Snodgrass from Stanford. 

    First baseman/outfielder Regan Flaherty (Vanderbilt) could also provide some pop. He was hitting .304 with eight RBI and five doubles in the first 14 games of his college season. The same can be said of infielder Tyler Sibley (Texas State), who was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American.