LWB Connie Mack team out to defend title
Lehigh West Bethlehem Connie Mack coach Keith Lehman is all about his kids having fun playing summer baseball. And if they can add some hardware to their trophy case, well, that's nice too.
And they've added plenty over the last three years, winning two Lehigh Valley titles in that span, including last season over Nazareth.
This year, the team is off to a 3-0 start after a recent, close victory over Fullerton, 4-2.
"Our goal is to finish in the top-seven teams in the Lehigh Valley League, which gives us another chance to go to the state tournament," Lehman said. "These kids - well they are not kids anymore - these players just do a great job of supporting each other defensively and offensively."
The top two teams in the Lehigh Valley League square off at the end of the season for the title, and both are guaranteed trips to the state tournament which includes Bucks-Montgomery County teams. The winners of the four other series, featuring the top-ten teams in the league, also advance to states.
This year's LWB squad has five returning players: Casey Clearie, Mike Lancaster, Mike Lehman, Mike Miller and John Sawyer. But, even the newer players are quite familiar with the program. Lehman says many of the kids have played together since they were 7-years-old.
"They have a lot of fun, which is what summer baseball is all about," Lehigh said. "I think that is one of our strong points - they play loose. If we make a mistake we try to make up for it with a great play or a great hit."
New players to the team this year are: Michael Curti, Zachary Eisenreich, Alex Guzman, Owen Hawk, Vinnie Marfisi, Jacob Mello, Mike Miller, Andrew Posch, Domonic Rosario, Kyle Ross and Colin Zarzecki.
Despite getting off to a hot start, Lehman believes pitching will be a key to this year's success.
"Pitching, as with every team, is always the biggest hurdle to overcome," Lehman said. "We will try to work a number of guys into the rotation."
Lehman also believes the coaching staff really adds to the team. Lehman is assisted by his oldest son, Ben, who came through the Connie Mack system a couple years ago. Matt Hawk and Mike Posch will also assist and both have been coaching for a number of years.