Pettisville baseball has some experienced players back who hope to get them pointed in the right direction for the 2021 season.
The Blackbirds return eight players who saw time on the field back in 2019. That group is led by Josh Horning, who earned honorable mention All-Buckeye Border Conference honors. However, Horning will be out to start the season as he rehabs an injury suffered during basketball season.
“Our team has been working hard and have been showing improvement every day in practice,” said head coach Paul Bishop. “We have a few more athletes out this year which will help us be more competitive. We have a solid group of seniors returning with two years of experience. Josh Horning will be our top pitcher and is a very good center fielder who can cover a lot of ground and has a strong arm.”
He said, the catching position should be a strength as well.
“Brayden Barrett, catching since his freshman year, is back and will provide solid defense behind the plate. Nate Keim (1B/P) and Jake King (INF) provide solid leadership and stability in the infield. They have really started to help mentor the younger/less experienced athletes. Junior Josh Norr (SS/P) will bring good range, (a) strong arm and a steady glove to the shortstop position. Gideon Myers (INF), Josh Basselman (INF) and Nate Rupp (OF) are all returning as well. They have all improved and will provide us with some flexibility to move guys around wherever they are needed in the field.”
Another positive for Pettisville is they have no letter winners lost from previous seasons. But, with finishing 5-14 in 2019, there will likely be many areas in which Bishop would like to see improvement out of his team.
“Pitching depth will need to be an area of major growth for us this year,” said the Blackbird coach. “Josh Horning, 32 innings pitched, and Nate Keim, 12 innings pitched, are our top two pitchers back. We will need to have Josh Norr, Gideon Myers and Josh Basselman step up to provide quality innings on the mound.
“Overall experience will also be a factor. Having lost all of last year’s spring and summer seasons our juniors haven’t had a lot of varsity experience.”
The Birds hope to make steady improvements throughout the season.
“We hope to come out and compete in every game we play. With our top pitcher out to start the season, we will look to get our less experienced pitchers valuable time on the mound to help us later in the season,” said Bishop on his overall outlook for the season.
Pettisville’s coach expects a pair of teams to be at the top of the BBC race this season.
“Montpelier (and) Edon should be at the top of the league again this year,” he said.
Pettisville begins the season and BBC play next week with a pair of contests with North Central. They are at the Eagles Tuesday before hosting them two days later.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.