Broadneck Travel team helps shape next group of Bruins players
By Conor Doherty
After a three-year absence, Broadneck’s travel team, the Bayside Bears, returned this summer. Coached by Bruins college coach Matt Skrenchuk and comprised of players from both junior and varsity varsity teams, the Bears went 20-8-2, with their tournament-best finish being sixth out of 58 teams that participated.
Created by Skrenchuk in 2019, the team stopped playing due to the pandemic. Although winning matches and tournaments is important for players and coaches, the team has two other valuable aspects. The first is to give players, especially those who have been blocked by juniors and seniors, more playing time and allow them to gain more experience. And second, because there are JV team players on the team, Skrenchuk can assess players who could be the next members of the varsity team.
“We had a nice senior class that evolved,” Shrenchuk said. “So I thought it was important to create some cohesion with our underclassmen and allow them to spend more time with our coaching staff this summer.”
One of these players is Nate Shilling. While on the varsity team last year, Shilling has only had a handful of batsmen throughout the season, so this summer has been his chance to prove he should. start next season, and he has delivered on his promises. Shilling finished with an average of .410, with 32 hits, 12 doubles, a triple, a home run and 20 RBIs. Other players like Sean Murphy, who Skrenchuk said was the Bruins’ top pitcher last year, got to show off his skills. In 33 innings pitched, Murphy had an earned run average (ERA) just under 2.08 and threw 29 strikeouts.
Coach Skrenchuk came up with the idea for the Bayside Bears seeing the Bruins soccer and basketball teams practice more due to their ability to play in a summer league, which Anne Arundel County didn’t have for baseball.
“What it’s allowed us to do, picking up games and tournaments, is practice, where our kids have really improved,” Skrenchuk said. “Nate had 89 on-set appearances this summer, so it was a full summer for me to assess him and see how he fits into what we’re trying to do next spring.”
Next spring, with the ratings he was able to make over the summer and the extra playing time his players got, Skrenchuk and the Bruins will be looking to make further progress in the playoffs after losing in the first round last year.