By Missy Chappell
The 2018 Warrior baseball season gets underway Wednesday, March 14 on the bump at Arthur, and Head Coach Duff Hoel said his team is ready.
“Returning as much experience as we do, we could have probably played a game on the first day of practice. About 60 percent of our pitching staff was mound ready before practice started. Their off-season work was huge for our early season development.”
He continued, “Pitchers are typically ahead of hitters about the first two weeks of the year, but we’ve got several guys that have taken a ton of cuts over the winter and are looking ready to put some runs on the board. We return eight of nine defensive starters and our entire infield.”
Returning three-year starter at shortstop Dalton Hoel is the leader defensively according to Duff Hoel who describes him as “arguably the best defensive player we’ll see all year with quick hands and feet as well as a very strong arm. Dalton is like a coach on the field and may very well be smarter than his coach. He has earned the respect of his teammates, and they don’t question his decision making.”
The infield also has two-year returning starters in junior Brayden VonLanken at first base, senior Tyler Meinhold at second base and junior Cade Kresin at third base. According to Hoel, “They know what to do. We haven’t spent nearly as much time with instruction this pre-season, because they have so much experience and have done well instructing the younger guys.”
Hoel feels that each of his starters brings several attributes to the table that will serve the team well this season. VonLanken at first is a big target, and he moves well. Hoel said.
“Has been behind the plate enough to know how to keep a thrown ball in front of him.” VonLanken will be backed up by senior Caleb Stumeier.
At second base Meinhold makes the routine play well according to Hoel.
“He has a strong arm when it is needed.” Meinhold will be backed up by sophomore Michael Ludwig.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, March 14 edition of The Tuscola Journal.