Chestnut Hill Baseball
Dropping seven of their last nine to end the regular season, Chestnut Hill missed the CACC postseason tournament a year ago while stumbling to a 20-24 overall record. 

Now in his 16th year at the helm, head coach Robert Spratt believes his program has the talent to take a step forward this season. 

"We graduated 15 guys last year, so leadership is going to play a huge role this season for us," Spratt said.

One of those that graduated was Andrew Dietz, one of the top players in the region over the past three seasons. The Central Bucks South grad finished his Chestnut Hill career with a .352 average with 12 homers and 133 RBIs. His 184 hits set a program record. He also collected 148 strikeouts on the mound over 150 innings. 

"He was a dynamite two-way player for us," Spratt said. "He was a fantastic hitter, had speed, and was a front end of the rotation guy. He leaves a big hole for us." 

Senior outfielder RJ Huth is one guy Spratt hopes can fill some of the void left by Dietz's departure. The Pennsbury product hit .250 last season with three homers and 17 RBIs. Another guy Spratt plans to lean heavily on is senior utility player Gregory Sylvester. 

"Huth and Sylvester are tremendous leaders and great kids," Spratt said. "We have a lot of new faces, and these two are doing a great job of leading us and helping us get the program back to where we want to be." 

One of the newer faces Spratt is excited about is sophomore Brandon Long. The Wyomissing native spent two seasons at Fredrick Community College and hit .316 in two seasons with seven homers and 31 RBIs. He also was dominant on the mound, posting a 2.25 ERA over 28 innings with 30 strikeouts. 

"He can hit and should be in our starting rotation, no question," Spratt said. 

Another transfer addition is sophomore Ben Bradt, a two-way player from USciences. The right-hander made ten starts and posted a 5.33 ERA last year. 

Pitching was a weak spot for the Griffins last season. The club posted a 7.79 team ERA, the second-worst mark in the conference. 

"Our pitching staff was supposed to be the strength of our team last year, but it just didn't work that way," Spratt said. "We lost Billy Bethel early, and he's a two-time All-Conference arm, so we lost 60-plus quality innings right out of the gate. 

"We also had some guys that just didn't pitch to their standards, so it was a struggle. I think we'll be better than last year on the mound." 

The Griffins open the 2023 schedule on Friday in Myrtle Beach with a doubleheader against Franklin Pierce. The club opens the home portion of the schedule on March 4 with a doubleheader against Lockhaven. 

"I see us surprising some people," Spratt said. "Now we just can't wait to get out and play." 

Breakout Candidate
Michael Kiefer | Junior | P 
He limited opponents to a .226 batting average last year while posting a 5.09 ERA. He made nine appearances, including seven starts. 

"He got off to a slow start last year but came on really strong at the end," Spratt said. "We see him improving this year. He had a great fall, and I think he'll surprise people with just how good he really is."
13 stars

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