Snow covers the landscape, but the Jamestown Community College Jayhawks baseball team is already hard at work, preparing for its spring season that opens on Saturday in Richmond, Va., under the experienced eyes of new head coach Dick Adams.
For those not who might not be aware, former coach Anthony Barone accepted a new position as the assistant coach at the University of California-Berkley, which led to the hiring of Adams, who came to JCC last fall after spending 18 seasons at Cerro Coso (Calif.) CC.
Adams brings a ton of experience to the table for the Jayhawks and he'll have several key sophomores returning to the lineup that will give JCC veteran leadership.
Franklin's Thomas Hearst, a right-handed pitcher, is a transfer from Erie CC.
"He was out of the game for about two years," said Adams, "but I expect he'll be one of our top two guys. He has good arm strength and really competes when he's on the mound."
Coming back again is Bradford's Connor Borowski, who will handle first base and can also play the outfield.
"He's strong, runs well, has plenty of power," Adams said. "We're looking for a big year from him. He has a bright future and is a hard worker and a very good student."
One of JCC's outstanding players from last season, infielder Jose Hernandez, has earned both respect of his teammates and coaches and was selected as an all-region selection in 2012.
"He's the most experienced player we have coming back," Adams said. "Jose hit over .400 last year and was mostly the leadoff guy. He'll be in the either the 1 or 2 hole for us. I look to him to be one of our leaders this season. He has a good baseball head."
Silver Creek's Jake Harford, a right-handed pitcher is, as his coach says, "a big man that throws well. He's 6-5 and has a live arm with good velocity and a good curve. Jake was a big force in JCC's playoff run last year, so expect some big things from him."
Elio Gonzalas, who hails from Weston, Fla., was JCC fourth outfielder last year.
"Elio was not here last fall, but we are excited he's back," said Adams. "He a fine athlete who runs well and practices hard. We hope those intangibles make him a leader on the field for us."
Also back is Jamestown's Cody Crandall, who will see time at first base and in the outfield.
"Cody had a knee injury last year so he's had to take time to rehab," Adams said.
Another sophomore is Levi Madden, also from Jamestown.
"Levi was one of the top four outfielders for us last year," Adams said. "He had a good fall and will bat in the 2-to-6 hole range. I expects he'll be a real spark plug for us."
The freshman class is large and talented, beginning with Corry's Kody Kondrilk, who will play in the outfield.
"He has excellent power and has a good background," Adams said. "Kody is an all-around good player and when he gets hot, he can hit."
Maple Grove's Matt Fowler is another right hander and Adams sees good potential.
"His overall physical abilities are just blooming. He worked hard in the fall and stepped into the college arena and performed well. He could be a major cog in the wheel of this pitching staff."
Pine Valley's Lyle Howard, a 6-3 right-handed pitcher, was recently honored by the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame as a Class D first team all-state player.
"Lyle looks to be in the rotation," Adams said. "He got a strong arm, but has to work on location. He's a hard worker, a guy we think that has potential to be a very good player at this level."
Gowanda's Christian VanNote will handle third base, but according to Adams, could be a right-handed closer for the Jayhawks.
"We think he'll start for us in the infield. He very athletic, runs well and has a good arm. We like his practice habits."
Infielder Josh Allan, who hails from Angola, transferred to JCC in January and has impressed Adams.
"Josh is the front runner to start at shortstop for us. He's a great athlete, has a strong arm and he's feeling his way here to find out what it takes to be in this program."
In the catching department, Canadian native Greg Marco will be one of the contributors.
"He's a good receiver and can handle hard throwers. He also has good velocity on his throws," said the coach.
Also hoping to see time as a catcher is Falconer graduate Tyler Petersen.
"He is in the developmental stage right now and has a great work ethic. Tyler is a real hard-nosed kid and improved a lot during the fall," Adams said.
Bradford's Cory Viola, who will play in the outfield, is 20 years old and brings some experience with him.
"He was at Pitt-Bradford before," said his coach. 'Cory runs well and he'll gives us a lot of maturity on the team. I expect he'll be a good offensive guy for us."
Ryan Songer is a big (6-4, 250) left-handed pitcher who comes from West Virginia.
"Ryan has a good fastball, but he lacks some experience," said Adams. "He has all the tools, a good curve ball and he's working hard trying to learn. I expect that by the time we get to conference (play), he will be pretty good."
Dylan Caldwell, who is a Cassadaga Valley alum, will see time at third base and is also a right-handed pitcher.
"Dylan had an injury in the fall, so he's just like a new player for us this spring," said Adams. "He's been a hard worker, but we really haven't seen him a lot yet. He has good tools and we could use him in relief, but he has potential to be a starting infielder."
Another Bradford native, Tyler Borowski, "is one of our top four in the field," said Adams, "He's a seasoned guy and brings maturity to the club."
Joelvy DeLaCruz is a right-handed that comes to JCC from the Bronx.
"He's a very excitable young man when he's pitching," said Adams. "He's learning to locate his pitches, has a nice curve and he's very competitive.That will be his ally as he learns at this level."
Jamestown's Nekyle Taylor is an outfielder, but has an attribute that Adams really likes.
"Nekyle has a low three-fourths throwing motion that produces a great sink and run. Now he has to learn some control and throw strikes."
Rounding out the roster are Richard Allen from Falconer, who can play third base and pitch, Zach Hallberg from Maple Grove and Imaziah McIntosh, a Toronto native.
Allen was a pleasant surprise for his coach.
"He walked in and asked for a tryout," said Adams. ''He's got a quick arm and could be a good reliever for is."
Hallberg, according to Adams, "looks like he could compete for a DH spot. He works hard and he's got a lot of pop. At the moment, he's trying to gain some consistency."
McIntosh hopes to see time in the outfield.
"He transferred in from Canada in January," Adams said. "He runs well, has a good arm, We're anxious to see what he does outside and hope he blooms into a good outfielder for us."
Helping out Adams will be assistant coach B.J. Salerno, who was a four-year catcher at St. Bonaventure.
"He's an accomplished athlete, "he said. "I liked his maturity and he has a great ability to coach and teach."
Adams can't hide his enthusiasm for the upcoming season and his team.
"I like their personality and their fun spirit and hope that will help us in this long season. I'm really excited and looking forward to the challenge."
1Thomas HearstRHPSo.Franklin, Pa.
3Jordan HarringtonSS-3BFr.Bradford, Pa.
4 Tyler Borowski OF Fr.Bradford, Pa.
5 Conner Borowski 1B So.Bradford, Pa.
8Greg MarcoC-OFFr.Waterdown, Ontario
11 Jake Harford RHPSo.Silver Creek
14Cory ViolaOF-RHPFr.Bradford, Pa.
16 Jose HernandezSS-2B So. Weston, Fla.
20Lyle HowardRHPFr.South Dayton
21Dylan Caldwell 3B-RHP Fr. Cassadaga Valley
23 Cody Crandall 1B-DHSo. Jamestown
24Elio GonzalezOFSo.Weston, Fla.
33Kody KondrilkOFFr.Corry, Pa.
45Ryan SongerLHPFr.Berkley Sprs., W.Va.
55Imaziah McIntoshOFFr.Toronto, Ontario