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The King's College baseball program enters the 2008 season prepared to answer a number of challenges. After graduating six standout seniors a year ago who posted more combined wins (96) than any other class in King's history, including a single-season program record 28 victories a year ago, the Monarchs clearly have big shoes to fill.

With the loss to 2007 Freedom Conference "Player and Pitcher of the Year" Caleb Calarco; 2006 Freedom "Pitcher of the Year" Paul Giovannoli; and two-time All-Freedom picks Jeremy Faust and Mike Venarchick; along with four-year starters Josh Faust and Vince Budzyn, the Monarchs have lost a great deal of talent, experience, and leadership.

Under the direction of head coach Jerry Greeley, who has led King's to new school records for wins in one season during each of the past four years, the Monarchs are confident they can remain one of the premier programs in the Freedom Conference. The Monarchs still return several players who fulfilled large roles in the team's past success, but there will be others counted on to fill the void left by such an outstanding senior class.

Heading the list of veterans is junior third-baseman Jon Venarchick (left) who enjoyed a banner sophomore when he earned first-team All-Freedom Conference honors. Last season Venarchick batted .380 (62-138) with 12 doubles, four triples, two home runs, 35 RBI, and scored 32 runs with a .540 slugging percentage. In his two seasons with the Monarchs, Venarchick has already amassed 92 base hits.

Also back is senior shortstop J.R. Graver (right) who is also a returning first-team All-Freedom choice. A year ago, Graver batted .360 (58-161) with 13 doubles, five triples, one home run, 29 RBI, and scored 38 runs with a .522 slugging percentage as the Monarchs' leadoff hitter. Graver enters his fourth year as a starter and is an outstanding base-runner with excellent speed.

A third all-conference choice returns as senior Pat McGlynn (left) was named to the All-Freedom second-team in 2007 at designated hitter. In first year as a starter, McGlynn batted .373 (38-102) with six doubles, two triples, 18 RBI and 22 runs score while drawing a team-high 15 bases-on-balls. His steady bat will also be important due to the offensive output lost to graduation.

Several players will be looking to contend for time in the infield. Looking to fill the shoes of Josh Faust at second base are Matt Fec, a transfer from Sussex Community College in New Jersey, along with freshman Rob Bergman. Sophomore Rob Fravel is looking to compete for time behind Graver at shortstop while first-base will feature a hearty competition between sophomores Jeremy Bonser and Eric Matula, along with freshman Ryan Konopki and Ryan Knowles. Freshman Jim Troianello is also pushing for time at third base behind Venarchick. Senior Matt Colgan is a versatile performer who could end up playing every infield position.

The Monarchs graduated one their all-time great catchers in Jeremy Faust and replacing his game management skills and rocket arm will be no easy task. Looking to do so will be senior Joe Tucker and sophomores Gracjan Kraszewski and Matt Unger. Knowles and Unger could also see time at designated hitter, spelling McGlynn.

In the outfield, senior Matt Livoy patrols right field and possesses one of the strongest throwing arms in the region while providing a reliable bat. Livoy is also one of the hardest base runners in recent memory as he has a knack for picking up the extra base with his speed, savvy, and aggressiveness. Juniors Phil Moskowitz and Sean Hannon; sophomores Sean Rooney and Pat Harsch, and freshmen Kevin Wrenn, Mike Fignar, Matt Friewald, and Knowles are all battling for time.

In graduating Calarco and Giovannoli, the Monarchs lost the top two starting pitchers in the Freedom Conference over the last two years. Potentially, King's may be in better shape on the hill than most observers would think. For the starters, senior J.T. Levonick and juniors Joe Jenkins and Ryan Derry have valuable experience, but it could be the sophomore class that keys the staff. Dan Jenkins (4-1), Matula (6-1), and Ryan Tychinski (4-1) went a combined 14-1 as freshmen last season last year and will all be counted on to step their games up a notch. Jenkins (left) was a a regular in King's three-man conference rotation last year as a rookie.

The wildcard of the group could be Livoy, who excels as the team's starting right fielder but has also pitched in spots during his career. Livoy may take on a bigger role and his left-handed arm could make him a valuable contributor. Freshmen who could also impact the starting rotation include Ryan Konopki and Tommy Rozelle.

Coming out of the bullpen, King's has a large group of hurlers who have experience. Seniors Aaron Deroba, Mark "Big Country" Yankowski, John McNichol, and Adam Depko highlight the bullpen. Sophomore Craig Levitski, Bonser, and Rooney are looking to gain more prominent roles, while freshmen Dexter Dathmers, Tom Parrish, and Knowles also look to earn innings.




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Questions or comments to:  Bob Ziadie, King's College Sports Information Director
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