By Mike Wertman
Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — Hit hard by graduation, Albion is prepping to rebuild to defend its Niagara-Orleans League and Section VI Class A-2 titles.
The veteran quartet of junior catcher John Warne, senior pitcher/infielder Chris Reed, senior pitcher/shortstop John Page and junior pitcher/outfielder Connor Barleben anchors the lineup for Albion which lost seven starters to graduation. Warne was a second team N-O All-League selection last spring and Reed received honorable mention.
“We lost a lot of offense but we should be competitive if our pitchers from last year perform again this season,” said coach Bruce Blanchard. “I think our challenge this year will be to score runs. Our goals though are still the same, to win the league and repeat as sectional champs.”
Albion also returns varsity experience in the senior trio of Jack Narburgh (outfield), Ed Narburgh (infield/catcher) and Tyiler Neilans (outfield/infield).
The Purple Eagles roster also inclues juniors John Krieger (pitcher/infield), Noah Preston (pitcher/infield), Zach McMullen (outfield), Steven Stauss (first base/designated hitter), Zach Neilans (outfield) and freshman Trey Hart (outfield).
Last spring Albion posted a 13-1 record to capture the N-O crown for the fourth time in the last five years. Going 20-3 overall, the Purple Eagles went on to claim a third straight Section VI title.
The Purple Eagles key losses from that squad include Travis Downs (shortstop/pitcher), Elliott Foos (outfield), Ryan Golden (infield), Stephen Holler (infield/pitcher), Jack Nenni (pitcher/third base), Pete Nesbitt (outfield) and Matt Quider (first base/pitcher).
Weather permitting the Purple Eagles have five non league games scheduled (Kendall on March 30, at Lew-Port on April 2, at Lockport on April 3, Depew April 4 and Alden April 5) before opening defense of their N-O title against Akron at home on April 9.Albion Purple Eagles COACH: Bruce Blanchard LAST YEAR: 13-1, 20-3 KEY LOSSES: Matt Quider (1st base), Steve Holler (infield), Pete Nesbitt (outfield), Travis Downs (infield/pitcher), Ryan Golden (infield), Jack Nenni (infield/pitcher), Elliott Foos (outfield) KEY RETURNEES: Connor Barleben (Jr., pitcher/outfield), John Page (Sr., pitcher/shortstop), Chris Reed (Sr., pitcher/infield), John Warne (Jr, catcher) SCHEDULE March 30: Kendall, 11 a.m. April 2: at Lew-Port, 11 a.m. April 3: at Lockport, 12 p.m. April 4: Depew, 12 p.m. April 5: Alden, 3 p.m. April 9: Akron, 4:45 p.m. April 12: at Barker, 4:45 p.m. April 13: Batavia, 12 p.m. April 16: Wilson, 4:45 p.m. April 18: at Aquinas, 4:45 p.m. April 19: CSAT, 4:45 p.m. April 22: at Medina, 4:45 p.m. April 25: at Roy-Hart, 4:45 p.m. April 27: Newfane, 12 p.m. April 30: at Akron, 4:45 p.m. May 3: Barker, 4:45 p.m. May 6: at Wilson, 4:45 p.m. May 9: at CSAT, 4:45 p.m. May 11: Medina, 11 a.m. May 14: Roy-Hart, 4:45 p.m. May 16: at Newfane, 4:45 p.m. May 18: at Niagara Falls, 12 p.m.