Ken Kashatus has a DVD copy of the final game of the 2017 Dallas High School baseball season.
Kashatus has a ring commemorating the Class 4A state championship the Mountaineers won that day.
The video won’t be viewed and the ring won’t be on his finger for the next two months.
Kashatus has a new season in which to lead a talented Dallas team, which returns seven starters and what may have been the state’s most vital reserve a year ago.
“Nothing changes,” Kashatus said of preparing for a season as a defending state champion for the first time. “You’re still dealing with weather and gyms, student-athletes, booster clubs, parents, ADs and principals and nothing changes.
“Me personally, on the inside it makes me feel good as the CEO of a baseball program that won a state title, but for the next year, we’re trying to retool, reload, and make adjustments while dealing with the facilities we have.”
As Kashatus spoke Wednesday, he had just learned another game scheduled for that day had been postponed.
The Mountaineers have managed to mix two games in with their preseason practice, losing an opening non-league game to Hanover Area, then beating Lake-Lehman March 21 in a tournament game at Nanticoke.
Nick Kocher, the team’s returning number-one starting pitcher, has not thrown in game action yet after being with the basketball team on its run to the second round of the state Class 5A tournament.
“He hasn’t pitched on the field,” Kocher said. “They had a good run in basketball, so he’s been bullpens. He did a bullpen on the side Monday, but he hasn’t pitched.”
The Mountaineers return Kocher and Darren Kerdesky, their top two starting pitchers who both play in the outfield when not on the mound.
They also have catcher third baseman Mike Luksic, shortstop Will McCrum, left fielder Drew Patton, right fielder Mike Collins and catcher Matt Mathers back from last year’s starting lineup, along with tireless relief ace Josh Lydon.
Lydon finished the majority of games in 2017, appearing in the last 10 of a season-ending, 13-game winning streak by a team that lost two key players to early injuries and started out 2-6.
“It’s sort of a big deal having him back,” Kashatus said. “That’s almost like another starter because he pitches in most games.
“That’s what we’ll go with going in, but you never know what’s going to happen.”
The 7-0 victory over rival Lake-Lehman was part of a four-team tournament that did not get completed.
Host Nanticoke defeated Wyoming Seminary, 11-3, then Dallas set up what would have been a championship game meeting with the Trojans.
Kerdesky worked the first five innings before Alex Kapral and Lydon pitched an inning each to finish off a combined shutout in which Lydon issued the only walk.
“Josh Lydon closed the seventh,” Kashatus said. “Even though it was not a save situation, I wanted to get into that routine.”
Patton and Kocher had three hits each in the win. Kerdesky had a double while McCrum, Luksic, Mathers and Beaudyn Lewis had the other hits and Mike Caravaggio added a sacrifice fly.
C.J. Cercone went 2-for-2 and Jacob Wesley was 2-for-3 for the Black Knights.
Dallas is scheduled to open the Wyoming Valley Conference season Tuesday at home when it gets to chance to face Division 2 Nanticoke in a different setting.
Lake-Lehman is set to play at MMI Prep Wednesday in a Division 3 opener.
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