The new Street Kids/Wildman softball team will open the 2013 season on the same field they finished the 2012 season, where they captured their first GSL World Series title, in Columbus, Ohio at the GSL Mojo Madness.
Almost every player from the 2012 team returns from SKS and as everyone that has played competitive softball in the Midwest area already knows, a handful of the best players from the Wildman Uniform team in Fort Wayne has joined the SKS organization to create one some are calling the best SKS team ever. Matt Sheehan, who has guided the Wildman team to some big wins over the years, including the NSA "A" World Series title in 2011, will become the first full time SKS head coach.
"I'm excited to head up this amazing team," Sheehan, who turns 47 this summer, said. "SKS has been one of the top teams for the last several years and you bring in some of our guys to an already stellar team and you get a serious title contender in any association."
Reigning SKS Most Valuable Player Leland Schmucker and the SKS team credit team unity as one of the strengths to their success.
"There are a lot of talented teams out there but I think what made us so successful the last few years is how well we all get along," said the Amish shortstop, who carried SKS on his shoulders during the post season in 2012, batting .722 in six post season tournaments, including .889 at NSA Super "B" Worlds. "We can have an off weekend on offense, but our defense and pitching would hold us together, or we can struggle on defene, but we would outslug teams. But the key was sticking together as a team, shaking mistakes off and moving forward."
Two-time defending batting champion and offensive player of the year Jay Jeffery agrees.
"Teams are going to struggle, its a guarantee in any long season," said the 2011 MVP. "But its how you bounce back as a team that defines you. We struggled midseason last year but came together when it counted most."
Faron Miller and Chad "Cat" Marchand will head up the duties on the mound again this year, but Marchand is still nursing an injury he suffered last summer. He will start the season on the disabled list, but is expected to not miss too much action. Todd Mase will back up both pitchers as well, with Faron also playing in the USSSA Conference. Veteran slugger and two time former MVP Joe Horvath leads a powerful lineup that features former tournament player of the year winner Jeremy Hochstetler and 2012 Gold Glove winner Tim Austin. Along with longtime SKS infielders Nick Bishop and Tony Hardiman, the new team also features Joe Peelle, John Krider and Todd Mase on the infield and rounding out the outfield are Fred Schmucker, Scott Martin, Newell Phebus, Erik Falcone and former ASA all american Kevin Lewandowski. The catching core consists of Horvath (who will also see plenty of outfield), Terry Patesel and TJ Jorgensen. Helping with the coaching duties alongside Sheehan are JR Shapiro, Bob Hamilton and veteran Teddy Panagakos.
SKS won 12 tournaments in 2012, including the ASA "B" state title and the GSL "B" World Series title. They finished second in the NSA "B" World Series for the third time in four years and finished third in the NSA Super "B" World Series in South Carolina. They amounted an overall record of 117-31, including going 83-25 in tournaments.