The 2021 baseball season gets underway today at Karns City (5:30 p.m.). COVID-19 wiped out last year's spring sports, making it extra special for head coach Josh Jekielek, assistant Mark Kossock, and the Wolves.
Team members include seniors Carson Whiteman, Reese Novosel, Bobby Rumcik, Bryce Bizzak, Isaac Smith, and Trenton Bradybaugh, juniors Jake Costanzo, Andy Jekielek, Harley Morris, Justin Peterson, Curt Barner, and Shane Ackley, sophomores Luke Ely, Landon Darr, Lucas Burrs, and Travis Walker, and freshmen Dane Anderson, Isaya Miller, and Benjamin Walter.
"We're very excited. We feel we've been lucky to get on the field early in March. The kids have been working hard, had a couple scrimmages, worked out inside and outside, and are ready to get going," said Jekielek.
The Kane coach is happy with his line-up but noted things can change quickly.
"We feel we are fairly deep, but with COVID, you can never be too deep. You just don't know what tomorrow might bring in that sense. It's changed our season already. We're missing a couple kids that are a very valuable part. We're comfortable with where we're at right now, but I think with the way things are, you can never be too comfortable," he said.
Strong Class AA field
Karns City is among the 11 teams the Wolves will compete with for a District 9 Double-A title. Also included are Johnsonburg, which will have a strong team, Brookville, Brockway, Coudersport, Cranberry, Curwensville, Keystone, Moniteau, Port Allegany, and Redbank Valley. Kane and Brookville dropped down from Class-AAA. The Raiders defeated the Wolves in the 2019 3-A playoffs.
"I think it's great double-A baseball is so competitive around here. Whoever comes away with the crown is going to have earned it for sure. It's exciting," Jekielek said.
The Wolves will play at Brockway on Monday and at Elk County Catholic on Thursday, April 1, before playing their home-opener on April 6 vs. Curwensville. Home games are played at the Mt. Jewett American Legion Field.