The Evergreen baseball team will have to break in some new players this season, but with seven returning letter winners, they are hoping to see improvement as the season progresses.
“We have a relatively inexperienced group returning this season with 7 returning letter winners,” said head coach Brian Nagy, who is entering his 25th season at the helm. “We lost four key players to graduation from last year’s team. Our younger players showed great improvement during the ACME season last summer and we will have great competition within the team to challenge for starting positions.”
Back for the Vikings are Teagen Pinkelman, Phoenix VanOstrand, Drew Greene, David Moore, John Ruth, Bryce Hudik and Sam Lubinski.
According to Nagy, the Vikings have 30 players in the program to help them “develop greater depth within the system.”
They have some pitching back but will need to develop some as well.
“Bryce Hudik and Teagen Pinkelman will be our most experienced returners on the mound from last year, while David Moore, Travis Newcomb, Josh Dowling, Phoenix VanOstrand and Bryce Eisel, along with many others, will get their opportunities to log innings for the Vikings on the mound and play a much greater role in the pitching rotation,” explained Nagy. “We will have to develop pitching from within our ranks in order to be competitive day in and day out with the compacted schedule and very few off days throughout the spring season. The new pitch count rule will also add a new element of decision making and pitcher usage throughout its inaugural season.”
The Vikings also add newcomers Jayden Adamczewski, Brendan Canfield, Josh Dowling, Adam Baumgartner, Bryce Eisel, Zach Lumbrezer, Travis Mersing, Isaac Yunker, Jack Etue, Mason Henricks and Jack Krispin.
They will be looking to help fill the void left behind by departed letter winners Nick Etue who was second team All-NWOAL, Alec Truckor and Noah Eisel who were each honorable mention All-NWOAL, and Levi Carson.
On the offensive side, the Vikes are looking to be more aggressive than a season ago.
“We continue to look for more consistency and better production with runners in scoring position, as well as developing our ability to string together several productive at bats in a row,” said the veteran coach. “Our extra base hit numbers were down significantly last year and we hope to improve our gap to gap ability this season. Our team will have to learn how to do the little things within the game in order for us to compete on a daily basis. Intelligently-aggressive base running may be the most important improvement for our potential offensive success.”
Defensively, there are some open position battles in the field for the Vikings.
“There are several younger players who have a chance to make a good impression during the preseason and possibly outcompete an older player for a position,” said Nagy. “The key to our season will be how quickly we mature and our ability to make our opponents earn runs, as well as our defense’s ability to limit big innings.”
Nagy has Archbold, Bryan, Wauseon and Swanton all competing for the top spot in the NWOAL.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010