March 30, 2013 7:00 a.m. —
Conneaut is collected
Conneaut is in a similar situation as Meadville. Technically, each of Conneaut’s starters will be new to the team, considering it is the first year of the program following the consolidation of the former Conneaut Lake, Conneaut Valley and Linesville high schools.
Greenawalt is somewhat familiar with all of his players, although many of them he knows from standing in the dugout on the other side of the field. Linesville, Conneaut Lake and Conneaut Valley were Class A rivals just last year.
“It’s gone well so far,” said Greenawalt. “A lot of aspects of it, obviously, are different. But the kids have been together almost the whole school year. Some have played together in different sports. I don’t think it’s an issue anymore. And I don’t think it ever was, really.”
With the combination of the three programs, Greenawalt has more players (27) than he was used at Linesville. But he was able to add to his coaching staff, which now includes his former Linesville assistant Steve Mickle, former Conneaut Lake assistant Jeremy Allen, and volunteer assistant Brennen Miller.
The larger number of players also opens the door for more opportunities to play.
“We’re moving up to Triple-A, so we’ve tried different things to start a junior high team and we’re going to be putting more emphasis on the JV team.
“I think it should go well,” he added. “It’s an adjustment. It’s about building a program, getting guys to play our style of baseball and just keep building on that.”
Region 6 awaits
So, Conneaut is an entirely new team. And Meadville, though it will be wearing the same colors, will be a sort of a new team as well.
But that’s not all these two teams have in common. They also share a conference now — Region 6.
The reshaped league is similar to last year’s Region 7, only Commodore Perry and Franklin both dropped to Class AA. Perry now plays in Region 2 and Franklin is in Region 4.
Grove City, Oil City and Slippery Rock will be familiar league foes for Meadville fans. Conneaut will be a perfectly new entity.
“Grove City is going to be very good,” said Stewart. “Slippery Rock always has a good team. ... And CASH, I’m not sure what they’re going to be like with them being combined.”
From Conneaut’s perspective, almost every opponent this season will be a new one.
“Never been to their fields, never played them, don’t know the coaches,” said Greenawalt. “A lot of unknowns.”
And not only will the region games be against unfamiliar foes, but the Eagles also have a slew of seldom-seen opponents on its non-league slate, like McDowell, Girard, General McLane, Cathedral Prep.
“It’s going to be exciting to compete with the Meadvilles and the Grove Citys and the Cathedral Preps and these teams that have had a lot of success over the years,” said Greenawalt. “It’s going to be nice to be playing on the same level as them. We’ll have to earn it and we’ll be working on that.
“That’s what keeps you going — the unknown.”