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   March 27, 2008 Issue                                       

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Expectations high for GFS baseball in ‘08
by Justin Goldman

GFS’ Noah Goodman at bat

Over the last four seasons, the Germantown Friends Baseball team has enjoyed immense success and championships. This season, the expectations remain high as the Tigers set out to defend their championship. Though GFS is the overwhelming favorite to win the league for the fifth straight time, it is not taking anything for granted during its quest.

“We realize that the target is squarely on our backs each time we take the field against a league opponent. But I think one of the advantages to being so successful is the guys have learned to deal with the expectations that are associated with the GFS baseball program. Some of the key ingredients to this programs success are the work ethic, commitment, and passion displayed by the players particularly by our seniors. Each passing year the standard is set and with this group there is no exception,” said head coach Bob Bergholtz in an email.

Last season, the Tigers outscored their league opponents 125-48 and posted an impressive 11-1 mark in league play. GFS was particularly impressive in the semi-finals and finals of the Friends League, beating Moorestown 11-1 and avenging its only league loss of the season in an 18-2 rout over Shipley.

This season, the team returns most of its core, but it will have to deal with the loss of  first team all-league selection Marek Loder, who was a key cog in the middle of the batting order in the Tiger’s high octane offense.

“Every year, each team is different,” Bergholtz said. “But this group is led by a tremendous group of seniors that worked extremely hard in the off-season and in preseason to get ready to defend the league championship.”

This season, GFS will rely heavily on the four All-League performers returning from last year’s team. Sophomore Jesse Biddle and Senior Michael Barsotti will team up to be a dynamic one-two punch atop the pitching rotation, and will also continue to make huge contributions in the lineup. Junior right fielder Rasheed Stewart will still be a feared hitter while shortstop Noah Goodman will captain the infield and try to get on base for the big RBI men behind him.

Though the Tigers did have another good season last year, there is one thing that they will definitely try to improve on. Even though they won another league title, they failed to win one game outside of league play.

Bergholtz commented, “Our number one priority going into to each season is to compete for the Friends League title. With that said, we still want to compete in our non-league schedule. That is probably is our biggest motivating factor going into the season. I feel it’s important not only for GFS but for the entire Friends League that we as a league compete with schools from the Inter-AC, the Public and Catholic Leagues. I don’t think its any secret that the Friends League flies under the radar when it comes to baseball in the Delaware Valley, which is a shame because we have a lot of talented players. Maybe if were to have more success as a league in our non-league schedule, it would help to garner some more recognition for our teams and players.”

Despite trying to make constant strides outside the league, GFS is still very cognizant of all the challenges ahead.

“Shipley always seems to have a talented squad and is usually there in the end. GFS and Shipley have met in the championship game the past two seasons,” Bergholtz said.  “Friends Central returns some quality players and is in our division this season, so our games with them will be very important.”

Even with all these teams returning quality players, GFS is still the favorite to win the league an unprecedented fifth year in a row. Whether or not it can complete that feat remains to be seen.