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Falls and Germantown baseball teams are youthful but competitive

Both teams around .500

June 16, 2014

Experience is not on the side of either the Germantown or Menomonee Falls baseball teams this early season, but both the Warhawks and the Indians are making the best of it.

Germantown is off to a 5-6 start overall, including a 2-3 North Shore mark.

"We're young up the middle and in the pitching department," Germantown coach Jeff Wolf said. "We knew that those would be weak points for us. The kids we've lost (to graduation) the last few years are proving hard to replace. We've just been giving up too many free bases (walks and hit batters). That we need to eliminate."

Meanwhile, Falls is off to a 7-6 start overall and 4-4 in Greater Metro Conference play.

"The seniors we had last year chewed up a lot of innings," Indian coach Pat Hansen said. "Of our nine starters, seven of them are first-time starters and that leaves us with a learning curve. But we are confident we will improve as the season goes along. It's just that we're having some ups and downs right now."

Germantown will be paced by an experienced, all-senior outfield that includes leftfielder Joey Sykora ("as good as it gets defensively," Wolf said), Ben Eggert and Justin Powalish.

Other experienced hands include senior catcher Sam Essman and senior third baseman Randy Finger.

Newcomers in the field include first basemen junior Alex Kumbier and 6-7 senior volleyball and basketball all-star Jon Averkamp ("if an infielder misses him with a throw, he doesn't deserve to play infield," laughed Wolf of the hard-working Averkamp); junior second baseman Tyler Kloss; and senior shortstop Zach Benn.

Benn did trade time with long-time veteran and now-graduated shortstop Jordan Kuczynski last season.

The pitching staff is where the Warhawks are really green. Pitchers include, in rough order of importance, include Finger, Kumbier, junior Trevor Murphy, junior Luke Deubler and senior Danny Knutson.

"The big thing we have to work harder on is our mental toughness," said Wolf. "We just have to be mentally tougher. In about three of our losses, we've played about four or five innings of really good ball and then, for some reason, we let it go and our confidence drops."

The Warhawks will be at West Bend West on Thursday, June 19, will host Grafton on Friday, June 20, and will be back home on Monday, June 23 against Cedarburg. All games will be at 5:30 p.m.

For Falls, the lone really experienced hands include senior defensive whiz at catcher Jordan Richardson and sophomore first baseman/pitcher Ty Weber.

Newcomer position players include sophomore second baseman Zach Kornburger, sophomore shortstop Boyd Sansone, senior third baseman Derek Johnson, and outfielders senior co-captain Tommy Wolf, senior co-captain Adam Vechart, junior Michael Bowe and senior Daniel Dahlke.

The top of the pitching order includes Weber, Wolf and Bowe and the top hitters so far include Weber, Dahlke, Johnson and Wolf. Hansen is pleased with the way the seniors have taken the lead, especially offensively.

"I like the way the kids are competing," Hansen said. "When we've lost, we've let small things snowball on us. But these kids are coachable with a lot of potential."

Falls will be at Marquette on Thursday, June 19 (MATC South), will host Wauwatosa East on Friday, June 20 and will host Kettle Moraine on Saturday, June 21 (1 p.m.) before welcoming Franklin on Monday, June 23. All games are at 5:30 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.

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