Young Falcons fall just short of playoffs
You have to go back to 2010 to find the last time Salisbury failed to make any sort of playoffs. That season marked the last year the Falcons had not qualified for districts or the Colonial League postseason tournaments.
While 2017 wasn’t supposed to be the year that Salisbury broke its streak of six-straight district appearances, a slow start snowballed into a disappointing finish that saw Salisbury lose its final four league games.
Coming off a 2016 season in which Salisbury advanced to the district semifinals before losing eventual champion North Schuylkill, 2-1, Falcon head coach Mike Pochron anticipated a similar finish this season, perhaps even one that went a little further with plenty of experience returning in the field.
“It’s been a pretty long string here since we haven’t made it,” Pochron said. “This totally caught me off guard. We have a lot of guys coming back next year, but the key was most of them played last year as 10th graders. We were expecting a lot more out of them as juniors. It just didn’t work out that way.”
The team went 8-12 overall this spring and 7-11 in league play.
Unlike last year when the offensive woes were the main piece of Salisbury’s struggles, Pochron saw a mixture of both subpar hitting and inconsistent pitching this year.
“It just seemed like every game either we didn’t pitch well, or if we did pitch we didn’t field well or we didn’t hit in that game,” Pochron said. “Every game it seemed to be something that kept us from winning.”
A year ago, Chad Cooperman’s dominant pitching displays were able to mask some of those hitting woes. Pochron didn’t have an ace of that caliber this year, but neither did many teams in the Colonial League.
But Pochron still possessed a number of young arms that will be key building blocks moving forward. Junior Andrew Sukanick pitched the most innings; in 32.1 innings pitched, he posted a 3.03 ERA with 31 strikeouts.
Cole Warmkessel and Taylor Linn, also both juniors, proved to be solid options as well on the mound. Linn’s 1.99 ERA led the team and he posted 25 strikeouts in 24.2 innings. Warmkessel held a 3.77 ERA with 17 strikeouts opposed to just two walks.
“This year we didn’t have the guy that was quite as dominant as Chad had been,” Pochron said. “So we needed a little more offense and we also needed defense, and that is what really lacked at times.”
Ryan Miller was Salisbury’s best hitter in 2017, batting a team-high .346 with 18 hits. Collin Wagner batted .316 and held team-highs in batting average (.316), hits (18) and RBIs (10). And rounding out the Falcons’ other top hitters include: Peter Forestieri (.250 average, four runs, four RBIs), Colton Hagadus (.312 average, 15 runs, eight RBIs), Joey Galantini (.259 average, nine runs, eight RBIs) and Linn (.297 average, nine RBIs, eight runs).
“We’re building,” Pochron said. “We’ve got a lot of guys coming back from this year’s team.”