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District 13-2A Preview: Young Teams With Good Work Ethics

District 13-2A essentially is a two-team battle between Sheridan Hills and Zion Lutheran. Although those teams also have to contend with Posnack, each is expecting to have to beat the other for the title.

Both teams have been working hard in practice to gear up for the season. Sheridan Hills is preparing with a new attitude, and Zion Lutheran players are seeing the benefits of a well-rounded program to get ready.

Below is a preview of the district.

Chris Meyer

Sheridan Hills Sharks

2011 Record: 12-13
Head Coach: Tim Talpesh
Key Returners: Chris Meyer, Jed Wilson, Thomas Davis, Marquis Rodriguez, Jorge Hernandez
Newcomers to Watch: Jose Fernandez
Team Strengths: Strong defense, speed, work ethic
Team Weaknesses: Pitching

Our season will be a success if….

“Our team stays united and builds on the season as it progresses by
working hard and honoring Christ in all aspects of the game.”

Under new coach Tim Talpesh, the Sharks have a new motto: Work hard to get playing time.

“We were a little lazy,” Talpesh said. “We require hard work. We want to show them they will go as far as their work ethic takes them. They are extremely motivated to succeed and they continuously build each other up.”

Talpesh hopes his message pays off in the school’s first district title. That’s the first goal the team is setting its sights on this year.

To help guide the team, Talpesh is placing faith in Thomas Davis, whom Talpesh called “the heart and soul of the team. He’s a quiet and strong leader. Everyone respects him. He shows it though actions.”

Davis hit .333 and scored 13 runs last year and will be among the offensive leaders along with Jed Wilson, who hit .362 and drove in 17.

The team also will be looking for a strong year from ace Chris Meyer, who last year went 2-4 with 20 strikeouts in 32 innings. Talpesh said Meyer’s gotten bigger and stronger this year and is “the guy we go to anytime we want to win a big ballgame. He’s not afraid to come inside and throw a fastball. He’s a bulldog.”

Talpesh said he knows Zion Lutheran is “gonna be the team to beat to win the district.”

Zion Lutheran players listen to the coaches during a post-practice talk.

Zion Lutheran Lions

2011 Record: 4-13
Head Coach: Jose Piedra
Key Returners: Marco Pinto, Johnny Mendez, Blayne Baker, Manny Rojas
Newcomers to Watch: Alex Ernestine, Eric Hepple, Nick Vasquez, Jack Cabrera, Ivan Robledo, JR Meneses, Bobby Barradas, Mike Rand Saul Valez, Zak Thompson, Ryan Ritter
Team Strengths: Young club and experienced coaching staff
Team Weaknesses: No one has taken the leadership role just yet

Something people not around your program need to know about your

“We are a small blue collar private school that wants to be known for
its student-athletes(avg. team GPA 3.7)and young talent.”

Coach Jose Piedra said he young team didn’t understand the benefits of weight training and conditioning. One he opened the players’ eyes to the benefits of those things, the message sank in.

“Now they’re in competition, trying to outdo each other with conditioning,” Piedra said.

As the team develops, Piedra will be watching to see who takes on a leadership role. He’ll expect one of his key returning players — Marco Pinto, Johnny Mendez, Blayne Blair and Manny Rojas — to step up and provide guidance to a team consisting mostly of freshman and sophomores.

To help get the young players ready for the season, Piedra has called on some of his former players from Deerfield Beach. Mike Dobre and Julian Cabrera are on the coaching staff, and professional players Mike Fiers and Alex Pepe are also imparting knowledge on the players while preparing for spring training. Fiers plays for the Milwaukee Brewers and Pepe is a minor-leaguer with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Lions got a big boost when Eric Hepple, younger brother of former Highlands Christian star Jason Hepple, joined the team this year.

“He went to state as an eighth-grader at Highlands, so I expect him to be a quiet leader in that he shows it and doesn’t say it,” Piedra said. “If he works hard, he can be something very special and do some very special things in the next three years.”

Piedra hopes the team improves on its four-win 2011 season but said the benchmark of a good season is whether the team wins the district.

“If we go .500 or just above and win the district, I know it was a successful season even though the record didn’t show it,” Piedra said.

Posnack Hebrew Rams
2011 Record: 5-6
Head Coach: Keith Krasiejko

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