Arguably the most consistent program during coach Scott Barber’s (2013 Star Beacon Ashtabula County co-Coach of the Year) his 14 years in charge, the Falcons are poised for another strong season.
As a winner of 220 career games, when Barber makes a comment such as this, people start to pay attention.
“We have without a doubt one of the best senior and junior classes on paper that I have ever had,” he said.
The leaders of that group are seniors Joe Piscsalko (SS-P), Ethan Pawlowski (OF-P-3B), Ryan Zindash (P-3B), Cole Erdel (OF-P), second baseman Steve Houser and pitcher Kurtis Fusco.
Also back are junior first baseman Matt Barber and junior catcher Chris Wittenmyer.
“We also have some very strong sophpmores that will continue to push the upperclassmen for spots in the lineup,” he said.
The leader of that group is sophomore Colten Wilber, who was sensational on the mound as a freshman.
Focus is the key to success, Barber said.
“The key is that our guys put all the personal stats and non-baseball activites aside and give me complete focus for two or three hours a day to accomplish the only stat that matters — wins!” he said.
After winning the AAC in its first two years in the league (sharing it a year ago), Jefferson is in search of its third straight title.
However, that will be easier said than done as the conference is realigned and Jefferson will contend with the likes of Poland, Struthers, Niles and new entry Edgewood.
Those are the teams, in addition to the Falcons, Barber expects to be competing for the title.
“Realignment of the AAC makes a third straight title much tougher,” he said. “Schools such as Poland, Struthers, Niles and Edgewood all have potentially district championship-caliber teams. Then, you take Lakeview, that has without a doubt the best pitcher we could face in David LeMasters. They can beat anyone when he takes the mound.
“I do feel we will compete with any of those teams for the conference title.”