NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - As the New Providence Pioneers baseball team gets set to open the 2017 season, there is a sense of optimism around the program.

Yes, the team finished with a marginal 12-11 record last season and yes, the team lost two key contributors in catcher Matt Timpone and pitcher Peter House who were both captains. But at the same time a strong core of players led by William Faucher, Joe Nave, and Max Rivkees.

“Losing the production and leadership of Timpone and House will be significant,” head coach Chris Brodeur, who’s entering his 10th season at the helm, said. “But returning the core of the lineup led by Faucher, Nave, and Rivkees should help the team improve.”

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Rivkees, a senior, was a First Team All-Mountain Division selection a year ago and will once again hold down the fork at right field.

Rivkees will be joined in the outfield by Nave at centerfield and junior Tyler DeGeorge. The trio will be joined in the outfield rotation by seniors Andrew Peritone and Nick Mohan.

The infield lineup will consist of Faucher at short stop, senior third baseman Eric Martin, senior first baseman Michael Magnani, and junior second baseman Tommy Jankowski.

Sophomore Chris Kubas replaces Timbone at catcher.

Seniors Brendan O’Leary and Brendan Farley will also play in the infield. Farley will also see time in the outfield.

Senior newcomer Nick Pecoraro and sophomore newcomers Ryan Sherman and Stanton Leuthner will also be in the mix at infield.

“Defensively, returning starters Martin, Faucher, Jankowski, Nave and Rivkees should be solid,” Brodeur said. “Only time will tell if they will rise to the challenge."

The pitching rotation will include sophomore John Grill, sophomore Dylan Bedder, and junior Greg Lambert. Faucher, Nave, and Rivkees will also pitch this season.

Lambert and Grill will also play in the outfield while Bedder will see some time in the infield.

“Our pitching staff is inexperienced but there is some significant potential with Grill, Bedder, and Lambert,” Brodeur said.

New Providence opens at home against Arthur L. Johnson with a 4 p.m. start on Thursday, April 6.