By Lenny Sementi
Head baseball coach Adam Carver heads into new territory as his second year in service as the bench boss of the Warriors ensues. After two weeks of practice the IHSA has postponed the start of competition until at least April at which time Carver’s crew will look to recover from some time off. They will lean on a senior pitching staff to take the lead.
The leader of the tribe owns a 30-3 career record after last seasons elite eight performance that included a Central Illinois Conference Championship, and Regional and Sectional titles. Gone from a year ago are a big cogs from an offensive machine that produced over ten runs per game while plating 309 total runs and nine All CIC performers including four of which return this spring including the majority of the pitching staff from a year ago.
Headlining the acts on the bump are a pair of first team all league selections Lucas Kresin and Logan Tabeling. Kresin also stars as part of the battery when not delivering the baseball catching almost every frame but the 60 innings he tossed the pill. The University of Illinois Springfield signee ended the ‘19’ season with a miniscule ERA and a 9-2 mark overall while fanning 79 and walking just 3. He also resided in the two hole on offense and will likely be called upon to up his offense.
Tabeling was the clubs number one as a junior. The Wright State signee ended his campaign a year ago sporting an 8-0 record that included an area best 126 strikeouts earning him not All CIC honors but also All News Gazette accolades including Area Player of the Year. He also provided some punch to the lineup hitting .338 for the season.
Another pair of seniors Ryan Bartley and Max Wyninger also found their way onto the All League squad. Bartley was big in the Sectional Championship win over St. Joe Ogden driving in the winning run. He patrolled the outfield last year and was 5-0 on the hill and will be a big part of the staff again this season as well as take over first base. Bartley did some damage with the stick delivering 36 hits and 13 RBI’s batting .367 during the thirty-three-game stint. Wyninger was an extra base hit machine for Tuscola pounding out 3 homeruns, a pair of triples and ten doubles. Jonah Pierce is another fourth year that has his sights set on a big senior outing looking to fill a void at first base. Basketball standout Jacob Kibler will join his classmates for the first time on the diamond during his high school career. He has turned some heads in the outfield during early workouts and has had some good cuts during batting practice.
Juniors Cole Cunningham and Nate Koester both spent a lot of time on the varsity diamond a year ago and will be counted on to round the pitching staff. Koester served as big arm for the Warriors late in the spring both starting and closing games in the post season. Cunningham patrolled the middle infield more than a few times and is the best bet to flash the leather at shortstop. Carver also will look to some sophomores to fill in the open spots and has bragged about a few freshmen that could turn some heads before it’s all said and done.