Things are looking up for the Evergreen baseball program as they return all their letter winners from a season ago when they finished with a winning record overall and in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League.
The Vikings were 18-10 overall and 5-2 in the league in coach Mark Cymbolin’s first year at the helm.
“With an experienced group coming back this year, we expect to be competitive in every game we play this year,” Cymbolin said. “We will rely heavily on our pitching staff and defense. Offensively we need to have better at bats and drive in runs when guys are in scoring position.”
Notable returnees for the Vikings include Landen Vance (P/SS) and RJ Shunck (P/1B), who were both first team All-NWOAL a season ago.
Shunck is a University of Toledo commit. Last year he hit .278 with 18 runs batted in. On the mound, Shunck was 4-4 with a 3.11 earned run average.
Vance held a .342 batting average, hit two home runs, and collected 26 RBIs. He was 5-3 on the mound with a 1.80 ERA.
Also returning are Brock Hudik (OF/P/SS), a second team all-league selection; Zach Laver (2B), honorable mention all-league; Nick Smithmyer (P/1B), honorable mention all-league; and Ashton Sayers (1B/DH), honorable mention all-league.
The Vikings also have Isaac Overfield (C), Connor Hewson (OF), Hunter Vaculik (P/SS), Austin Marvin (OF), Joe Mitchey (OF) and Alex Peete (OF).
A newcomer to the squad is freshman Layne Vance (C).
“Experience with everybody back is a strength,” said Cymbolin. “Pitching and defense will also be a strength for us and we will rely on that to keep us in games.”
For the Vikes to take even bigger strides in 2022, they will have to improve on offense.
“Offensive production,” admitted Cymbolin as to his team’s biggest weakness. “We struggled at times to produce runs (last season). Need more consistency at the plate from all our guys.”
Evergreen is still searching for the program’s first league title. Perhaps this is the year they can reach that plateau.
“Look to be competitive and have a chance to contend for a league title,” said the Viking skipper of the league race. “The league is going to be competitive and have good balance. Hopefully we can play good baseball and give ourselves a chance.”
The Vikings are at Otsego this Saturday at 11:30 a.m. to begin the 2022 campaign.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.