Posted by Michael Beaven for the Beacon Journal
It would not be a shock to see Kenmore and Ellet back in the City Series Baseball Playoff Championship game next season.
As both coaches pointed out after Sunday's game at Canal Park the teams will each return almost every player that started in the game, assuming any unforseen circumstances.
Kenmore (15-7) will return seven of nine starters and Ellet (16-9) will return eight, nine counting the designated hitter.
"Unless another City team steps it up, we could both be playing in this game next year," said ninth-year Ellet coach John Sarver, whose Orangmen teams have won five out of the past eight City Playoff Championships and six out of eight City regular season titles.
Kenmore senior left-handed pitcher Adam Harris is one player who is departing, along with senior Mike Despot. Harris earned the win Sunday and said he was a bit surprised by his team's emergence this season.
"I expected us to be good, but we were so young and I didn't know how we would respond to the challenges of a season," Harris said. "But we came together, bonded and did well."
Much of that credit should be directed to ninth-year Kenmore coach Joe Nauer and his staff.
Kenmore and Ellet each asserted themselves over perrenial City Series contender Firestone early in the season. The Falcons suffered two losses each to the Cardinals and Orangemen and fell out of the race.
Ellet won the regular season title with a 12-0 record and Kenmore placed second at 9-3. Sarver said he wanted his players to not forget what they achieved.
"I tried to remind (our kids) we were here because we did so well in the regular season," said Sarver, whose team will need to replace senior Mikey Canavan. "I tried to remind them they had a great year. Kenmore was one-run better than us on one particular day."
Ellet had earlier beated Kenmore 5-4 and 2-0 this season.
"It's ironic that both games at Canal Park (against Kenmore this season) ended with a 5-4 score," Sarver said. "The three games we played were so close. It shows there is a lot of parity between these two teams."
Kenmore will return: juniors Aaron Bond and Dominick Harper, sophomores Ryan Harris, Dusty Newberry and Brett Mudd and freshmen brothers Mike Massaro and Matt Massaro.
Ellet will return: juniors Chad Keppler, Isaiah Fridley, Jon Archual, Cory Martin and Kelcey Eberle, sophomores Travis Hamad and Cory Gravesmill and freshmen Steven Lively and Matt Merring.