SL Baseball Plans To Sharpen The Diamond This Spring


Luke Lea

The Spartans are hoping to reach yet another district title.

The Southern Lehigh baseball team finished last year’s season triumphantly with a 20-4 record, along with winning their second straight PIAA District XI title, leaving the Spartans with high expectations, under pressure to pursue their third consecutive District XI crown.

It sure puts a target on your back,” Head Coach Todd Miller said. “You must understand and expect that every other team in our league wants to beat us and loves to see us lose.”

However, the Spartans will have to face this newfound pressure without some familiar faces they’ve had in the past years, namely 2022 graduate Matt Tankred, last year’s All-Area Offensive Player Of The Year, who is continuing his athletic career at East Stroudsburg University.

“What we lose in Tank is the threat of him leaving the yard each at-bat and the ability to throw the ball by people on the mound when it’s needed,” Coach Miller said. “He was an imposing presence on the diamond.”

The Spartans are also feeling the loss of 2022 graduates Will Woodring, Christian Pickell, and Michael Andrews.

“We lost six starters that accounted for 209 hits, 170 runs, and 149 RBIs [Runs Batted In]. Woody’s leadership was probably the best we’ve had here,” Coach Miller said. “The other guys were just solid ballplayers who all had career years together, loved playing together, and loved winning, and the results from the past two years display all that. That’s tough to replace.”

Although losing leadership and veteran players hurts most teams, the young Spartans are optimistic and have high hopes for this upcoming season.

“I’m feeling rather optimistic; there’s a lot of holes we’re trying to fill and a lot of spots up for grabs,” returning All-Area Selection senior Luke Lea said. “We have a lot of guys who haven’t played in the varsity atmosphere, so we’re really just trying to see how it all plays out.”

This optimism has primed the Spartans with hopes that new players will step up to the plate along with Lea.

“Honestly, if Luke pitches as well as he did last year, that’s all I can ask of him. He will, however, have to take on more of a leadership role,” Miller said. “He will be an important part of our lineup and will need to contribute in all phases of the game and in practice.”

Having Lea as a formidable fortress on the mound will make it challenging for opposing teams to  put runs on the board. Beyond that, some Spartans believe the momentum from the past two years will help them this coming season.

Winning the championship last year is great, but that isn’t what is on our mind now. Right now our mind is winning these upcoming championships,” senior Avery Koser said. “But it does help knowing that we have the staff and everyone around us supporting us to make another run.”