Lorenz takes TVL MVP

COCOLAMUS – Nick Lorenz can add another MVP selection to his massive collection.

The East Juniata senior was named the Tri-Valley League Co-MVP for bashing a league-high four home runs, knocking in a league-best 27 runs while scoring 20 and hitting .432 on the season.

“He was one of the five seniors,” East Juniata coach Tim Brubaker said. “He led our team in almost all hitting categories. We looked to him for leadership on the field with calling the plays in the infield. He just had an outstanding year this season.”

Part of Lorenz’s success came from his experience over his career.

“The maturity that he displayed after playing varsity baseball for four years (played a role),” Brubaker said. “Knowing pitchers around the league and just getting the bat on the ball consistently.”

Lorenz shared the MVP award with Mac Ney of Upper Dauphin.

The Tigers finished the season at 13-6 overall and 11-5 in the league, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the District 4 playoffs.

Fellow senior Bailey Coder joined him as an all-league selection, earning the second-team nod.

Coder scored a team-high 21 runs and knocked in 15 runs on the season.

“He was solid all the way,” Brubaker said. “When he played first base, he was extremely skilled at receiving the ball and blocking the ball.”

Brubaker was complimentary of both Coder and Lorenz.

“They were good athletes, good players and were great men,” he said. “They will succeed at the next level in whatever they choose to do.”

Brubaker said Lorenz plans to play both basketball and baseball at Elizabethtown, while Coder intends to play basketball at Messiah College.

Another Tiger, Mason Hambright was named a second-team selection.

Hambright, the only freshman to be honored by the league, did a bulk of the work on the mound, going 31 1/3 innings and striking out 25 batters.

“That should show how good of a kid he is,” Brubaker said of Hambright’s selection as a freshman. “He has outstanding knowledge of the game.

“He’s very much an upcoming player that will be heard from the next three years at East Juniata,” Brubaker continued.

Brubaker also added that Hambright was “on his way” to being the caliber of teammate and leader than his upperclassmen teammates were.

Hambright tied for the league lead with five wins on the season.

Lorenz, Coder and Hambright contributed to the second-highest scoring offense in the TVL.

The Tigers totaled 136 runs in 16 league games, a clip of 8.5 runs per game.

Chantz Swartz was the only Juniata player honored as a second-team selection.

Swartz was tied for fifth in the TVL in runs and added a team-high 19 hits.

“Chantz was one of those valuable players to the team,” Juniata coach Nick Beward said. “He is that kind of kid that’s a total gamer.”

The Indians’ sophomore was one of four sophomores to be honored by the league and has two more years to continue improving and help Juniata build.

Beward said he saw flashes from Swartz as a freshman last year, but, “This year he took it to that next level,” the coach said.

One of the keys for Swartz this season was his approach to the game.

“He’s a very silent player,” Beward said. “He’s so focused. That’s what really makes him excel.”

Beward said that when he informed the pitcher/outfielder of his selection, Swartz simply said “OK, thank you,” and moved on.

“I do think it means a lot to him on the inside,” Beward said.

Greenwood’s starting pitcher Mitch Taylor was one of the other sophomores to be honored as a second-team pick.

Taylor struck out 42 batters, the fourth most in the league and the most among local athletes.

“His pitching really carried us,” Greenwood coach Mark Sherman said.

For Taylor, two things contributed to his successful season on the mound; a new arm angle and an advanced mental approach.

“We dropped him down to a sidearm action,” Sherman said. “It created a lot of movement and gave him a lot of confidence.

“We’ve been working on one pitch at a time and not worrying about the last pitch,” Sherman said. “I think that’s the part where he matured a lot. He didn’t let the mental game overtake his physical abilities.”