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By Mitchell Broughton
Coming off their first playoff series victory under general manager Bryan Duff’s operations last season, the Broadway Bruins have high expectations for 2020.
“We’re in it to win it,” Duff said. “That is the mindset going into every season, but with the talent that we are bringing in and the veterans that are coming back we are feeling really confident.”
For the most part this will be a different looking Bruins team. Starting at the top, a new manager in Chip Abernathy. Knowing him from the travel ball circuit, Duff had nothing but high remarks for the team’s new coach.
“He’s very competitive,” Duff told me. “Chip’s got a lot of good connections that we are excited about.”
How have the Bruins used Abernathy’s connections so far? Bringing in RCBL legend Bobby Wease as an assistant coach. Announced last week, Wease’s “experience and great baseball mind are going to really help us out this season,” Duff said.
With the coaching staff set, what familiar faces will we see in a Bruins uniform this season? First on that list is reigning RCBL pitcher of the year John Judy. In 2019, Judy led the Bruins with 65 strikeouts and only 28 walks, going 4-1 in his eight regular season starts. Playing a severely condensed schedule, 21 games in 28 days, the Bruins are going to need more than just Judy to step up on the mound. Helping him out are a pair of right-handers from Potomac State, Garett Haggerty and Brett Whiteman. Duff also mentioned that Bobby Wease had a hand in bringing in a pitching duo from James Madison, RHP Matthew Kleinfelter and LHP Liam McDonnell, who played for the Harrisonburg Turks last summer. Starting pitching was the weak link for the Bruins in 2019 according to Duff, but the new pitching core could prove to be one of the best in the RCBL.
Statistically speaking, the Bruins need to drastically improve upon their offense in order to win it all. Broadway recorded the lowest hits (210), RBIs (121) and home runs (3) in the regular season last year. Returning veterans like outfielder Matt Meiser (led the Bruins batting .327 in 2019) and infielder Tyler Ault (led the RCBL in 2019 with 13 doubles) come back as crucial members of Broadway’s offensive core. They are also gaining one of the best bats in the Colonial Athletic Association — shortstop Josh Jones from James Madison. As a freshman, Jones was second on the Dukes batting .297 in 49 games to go along with 53 hits and 27 RBIs.
Bryan Duff and his staff have high hopes for the Bruins in 2020. With a solid core of returning veterans and an impressive influx of incoming talent, their goal to win the title in 2020 seems as realistic as it can get.
Broadway will start the 2020 campaign against last season’s champions, when they travel to Buck Bowman Park to take on Clover Hill on Saturday June 27.
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