Remembering lost season, Twinsburg baseball looks to move ahead

Michael Leonard
Kent Weeklies

From the moment the 2019 season ended, Twinsburg baseball coach Jeff Luca was looking forward to the 2020.

The Tigers were set to return a core of 12 seniors and had set their sights on the Suburban League National Conference and district title.

Twinsburg Tigers

Of course, COVID-19 had other ideas.

The cancellation of the 2020 season caused those 12 Tiger seniors, eight of whom are now playing collegiate baseball, to miss baseball.

It's a loss the 2021 Tigers don't wish to forget.

"The kids this year put 2020 on the sleeves of their uniform," Luca said. "They wanted to dedicate the team to the last year's team. It's a good thing. It was disappointing for everybody."

The loss of all that talent, however, has left Luca opening his third year starting from almost scratch.

"Winning a baseball game is one of the hardest things to do," Luca said. "Our seniors are really sopohmores coming into the their junior year. We're very inexperienced, like a lot of the teams in the area. We're trying to figure out our identity. 

"Right now, we're working hard. We're getting into what Twinsburg baseball is about. They lost basically two years. Getting better daily is our goal. As long as we get together and play better every day, I'll be happy 

Despite many of the teams being in the same position Twinsburg is, Luca still expects the Suburban League National Conference to be as tough as ever. 

"We're excited about it," Luca said. "We're looking to get going against Woodridge on [March] 27. We've got a lot of of work to do.

Luca has a veteran assistant staff as varsity assistants John Quartieri and Ron Fruscella, junior varsity coach Jim Lipinski and freshman coach Al Hodakievic all return. Luca also welcomes former long-time head coach Don Jones back to the program this spring.

"Our staff is basically back from last year," Luca said. "Don obviously brings a lot of energy with him. Our guys are green, so they'll benefit from the coaches experience."

Luca notes that senior Jeremy Tonelli is the lone pitcher with any varsity experience. 

Tonelli will be joined by seniors Kaden Kimmel, Gavin McCoy, Max Hollan and Jeff Romano on the staff. Luca notes Romano returns after dealing with hip surgery last season.

Junior Reggie Bussey also will see time on the mound as well as starting in the outfield.

Kimmel and sophomore Jeremy Soppel are in the mix for the first bas slot.

McCoy and junior Chris Bryant look to have the edge in the middle infield spots, while sophomore Kyan Barns will start at third base.

Seniors Dwayne Anderson and Carter Liotta and junior Colin Kelly will provide depth in the infield, while Kelly also could pitch.

Bussy, junior Jack Lyden and senior Dalton Kerensky all look to have the edge in the outfield. 

Twinsburg will open the season at Dodge Field by hosting Woodridge March 27 at noon and then play the Bulldogs at Woodridge March 31 at 4:30 p.m.

"Our schedule is loaded," Luca said.