Florence baseball optimistic this spring

Florence's Payne Walachy pitches in a preseason game against Lawrence High School on March 18. Photo by Thomas Wiedmann

Versatility and making contact are traits that have resulted in optimism this spring for the baseball program at Florence Township Memorial High School.

A scrimmage game against Lawrence High School on March 18 gave Florence coach Kyle Ballay a good look at his squad.

“We saw some good stuff, defensively. We made some good plays with guys at new positions that they weren’t playing in last year,” Ballay said. “They’re really proving themselves. Offensively, we have guys in the same situation. This is the first time we’re seeing them up at varsity, consistently. Even if they weren’t getting hits, they were putting the ball in play – hitting the ball, solid.”

Ballay said that the team has key players returning this season such as catcher, Jarrod Marshall, who has not only been a catalyst for the team on defense, but poses a threat with the bat as well coming off a 2018 season where he batted over .500 with 25 RBI.

Another key returning for the Flashes this season will be pitcher Ben Arnold who won four games while throwing 34.2 innings.

Looking to provide solid defense on the field, Ballay said that Osmar Quiones will be playing shortstop for the first time. He played a utility role last year.

“[Quiones] is going to be a huge help for us, defensively,” Ballay said.

Coming off a successful year when Florence reached the Central Jersey, Group 1 state sectional tournament quarterfinals, Ballay said he feels that the Flashes can be a contender this season in the Burlington County Scholastic League’s Freedom Division.

“This season we have potential to really challenge for our division,” he said. “The message right now is to do everything we can right now until the end of the season and make sure we’re in a position near the end to hopefully win it.”

Although the Flashes have showed signs of becoming solid contenders this preseason, Ballay felt there’s still more the team has to work on heading into league play this April.

“We’re trying to iron out the kinks a little bit as well, so all in all, we’re going to focus on the positive stuff,” he said. “We’ve been talking about a few things we have to clean that we can improve on both physically and mentally.”

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