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Wayne Post
  • Victor baseball team is ready for another run

  • After the Victor baseball team won the 2011 Class AA State Championship, the Blue Devils brought back only three starters after graduating several key players. The team’s younger players stepped up in 2012, and Victor finished as the state runner-up.The Blue Devils are looking to continue their success thi...
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  • After the Victor baseball team won the 2011 Class AA State Championship, the Blue Devils brought back only three starters after graduating several key players. The team’s younger players stepped up in 2012, and Victor finished as the state runner-up.
    The Blue Devils are looking to continue their success this year with an extremely experienced team. Coach Sean Rucker brings back eight starters from last year’s team that went 22-5.
    “Last year, we were a young team that kind of grew as the season went on,” said shortstop Dale Wickham, who made the jump from JV to varsity last spring. “Now we have the experience. We know we can get the job done and I think that’ll be helpful. We know what it feels like to play in the big games.”
    Of course, that one starter who graduated is Matt Portland — the Blue Devils’ ace pitcher, cleanup hitter, first baseman and the reigning Daily Messenger Baseball Player of the Year. Portland logged a team-high 52 2/3 innings on the mound last year with a 10-0 record, two saves, 0.80 earned-run average and 108 strikeouts. He is now pitching for Northwestern University.
    Rucker, who is entering his 18th year as Victor’s coach, admitted that it’s a huge hole to fill. However, he is looking to seniors Pat Metzger (3-0 record, one save, 2.35 ERA, 45 strikeouts), Tommy Wagner (2-2, 4.38 ERA, 26 strikeouts), Mike Parsons (3-0, 2.57 ERA, 10 strikeouts), AJ Lefebvre, Brandon Hildreth and Jon Schlesing, and sophomore Mike Wagner (3-1, 2.43 ERA, 18 strikeouts) to make an impact on the mound.
    “We might not have the No. 1 we had last year in Portland, but this year we have a lot of depth and seniors who are going to step up,” Metzger said. “We’ll have a bunch of guys who can step in and do the job.”
    The Blue Devils’ offense was potent in 2012, averaging nine runs and 11 hits per game. Rucker is looking to Tommy Wagner (.394 batting average, 2 home runs, 29 RBI), Pete Carrier (.438, 29 RBI), Jon Simmons (.329, 2 HR’s, 17 RBI) and Mike Wagner (.333, 1 HR, 24 RBI) to be key contributors at the plate.
    “We were pretty good offensively last year,” Carrier said. “Everyone is coming back and we’re all a year older, a year more experienced, bigger and stronger. We can only go up.”
    Victor won the Monroe County Division I league title in 2012. The team went on to defeat McQuaid to win the Section 5 Class AA championship, Penfield in the Class AAA-AA playoff, Lancaster in the regional championship, and Baldwinsville in the state semifinals.
    Victor fell to Kingston in the state championship, 9-8. The Blue Devils trailed by three runs in the top of the seventh, but managed to tie the game at eight. Kingston scored one in the bottom of the seventh to pull out the win.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Blue Devils have high expectations for 2013, but they’re being careful about looking too far ahead. Victor addressed expectations on the first day of practice.
    “We just want to take it one day at a time, starting in the preseason getting our work in right now and at practice every day like we always do,” Tommy Wagner said. “We’re going to start down in Myrtle Beach and go from there. We’ll move the expectations up as we go along.”
    Victor left its spring break trip to the Cal Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C. with a 3-1 record. The Blue Devils visit Pittsford Sutherland at 4:30 p.m. today.
     

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