Jets have plenty in the tank

The Hauser baseball team is looking to defend its Mid-Hoosier Conference title and contend for a sectional championship after returning eight players from last year’s roster that posted a 17-8 record.

Senior Sam Meek, who went 9-2 with a 1.60 ERA, will be the Jets’ go-to pitcher, with junior infielder Aaron Mee behind him. Junior first baseman Trey Johnson will see quality pitching time, as well sophomore outfielder Parker Eickbusch.

Junior Sean Miller returns behind the plate. Other returners are seniors Jacob Johnson at second base, junior Jacob Luken at shortstop and senior Jon Hatton in center field.

New faces will be senior Jordan Johnson and junior Kameron Lawson, who will also make some appearances at the mound, in the outfield. Freshman Koby Meahl is fighting for a shot at some catching and pitching time, while freshman Alex Pattondale is looking for time in the outfield and as a possible pitcher. Freshman Landon Asher could possibly earn some time in the infield.

“Our strengths lie with pitching and defense,” Hauser coach Nate Long said. “Hopefully by the end of the year, our hitting can catch up to those two things.”

Long is expecting the top hitters for the Jets to be Johnson, Eickbush, Hatton and Miller.

Columbus Christian

The Crusaders are expecting to have another 12-man roster, with the only guaranteed players coming from the six returners from last season.

Columbus Christian is entering this season with limited pitching experience. Sophomores C.J. Reed and Evan Graham, who both threw the first pitches of their high school careers just last season, likely will be the Crusaders’ top pitchers. Reed also will spend time in the infield, and Graham will take one of the outfield spots.

Senior Kyle Foster and sophomore Josh Jones will return in the outfield. Freshmen Garrett Spurgeon and Drew Robison both played as eighth-graders last season and also will be returning in the outfield.

Columbus Christian coach Jamey Reed anticipates a handful of junior high players starting this year but is not sure who those athletes will be at this time.

“I would say some of the junior high kids are going to have to start in the game and kind of just learn as we go,” he said.

Edinburgh

The Lancers have basically the same roster from last year’s 12-12 sectional championship team with 12 of the 15 players returning, including seven starters.

Returning seniors are Zack Murphy at pitcher and shortstop, catcher Parker Bryant, third baseman and outfielder Ryan Gaston, first baseman and pitcher Tavian Cosby and outfielder Dillon Simpson. Returning juniors include Coltan Henderson on the mound and at shortstop, along with outfielders and pitchers Zack Giles and Ethan Armel.

Sophomore infielder and pitcher Tyson Sackman and freshman outfielder Austin Streeval are the two newcomers joining the varsity roster.

“If this team builds on recent success and continues to get better as a full unit, they have the potential to be a very special team,” coach Jason Burton said. “This team has the potential to be remembered as one of the best teams in a program full of rich baseball history.”

Jennings County

The Panthers have five players returning from last year’s 9-13 team.

Senior Chase Reason and junior Josh Pettit are returning to play in both the infield and outfield. Pettit also will be one of the team’s top pitchers.

Senior Travis Wilson will take over in center, and senior Jonathan Wagner returns as an infielder who also will do some pitching. Senior Jamin VanVolkenburgh will see time at almost every position this season.

New faces for the Panthers include junior infielder Duncan Rowda, who is the No. 2 pitcher; and senior catcher Peyton Olds. Other players looking to receive some pitching time in the outfield are sophomores Owen Miller and Owen Deaton. Sophomore Kyle Wilson is a possible pitcher and infielder.

“Our strength is our defense in general,” Jennings coach Trent Hardisty said. “I think we’ll be pretty solid pitching-wise. I think it’ll come along as we go through the year.”

Brown County

Ryan Wilcoxen is entering his second season as the Brown County head coach and said he was able to create a culture during last year’s 5-21 season, so he doesn’t have to do the same amount of teaching this time around.

His key returners are senior third baseman and pitcher Grant Suding, along with senior outfielder Tristen Richards. Eli Snider returns on the mound and at first.

Juniors Jake Riehl (infield, outfield and pitcher), Josh Parry (outfield, first base and pitcher), second baseman Branden Leslie and John Wayne (outfield and infield) all are versatile players that are returning to play multiple positions for the Eagles this year.

Isaiah Luenebrink transferred to Brown County too late for last year’s team, but he is another versatile player who will be spending time in the infield, outfield and on the mound. Isaac Weddle had some limited varsity time last season at catcher before injuring his knee in a collision during a popup. Freshmen Justin Partyka will play in both the outfield and infield, as well as do some pitching.

“I like where we’re at right now,” Wilcoxen said. “Obviously, it’s early in the season. Just like everybody else in the state, I’m sure we look a little rusty right now, but I’m confident in our team.”

South Decatur

The Cougars have a new face at the helm of the program with Eric Foga entering his first season as head coach.

Foga is taking over a program that has 10 players returning from last year’s 10-14 season. Returning seniors are Devon Martin at shortstop, outfields Bryce Lange and Connor Dean.

Returning juniors are outfielder Nolan Storm, first baseman Jalen Winchester and infielder Luke Eden, who will also pitch a little. Junior Riley Peele will be used at various positions but will spend most of his time in the outfield.

Returning sophomores are second baseman Brogan Howard, pitcher and outfielder Adam Baugh, and third baseman Charlie Frenfmeier. The Cougars welcome two freshmen, catcher Ben Stier and infielder Joseph Royer.

“We have a pretty balanced roster,” Foga said. “We can plug-and-play seven or eight different guys in multiple locations, so that gives us some depth throughout the entire field.”

Trinity Lutheran

Coach Matt VonDielingen said the Cougars are entering this year with a lot of pitching depth, just not a lot of pitching experience.

Senior University of Indianapolis commit Jake VonDielingen will be leading the way for Trinity on the mound, while senior first baseman Chandler Reynolds will be the No. 2 pitcher. Other returners from a 14-9 team are senior left fielder Jacob Crockett, junior center fielder Trent Shoemaker and sophomore infielder Noah Voelker.

Junior foreign exchange student Kevin Cho joins the team in the outfield. Sophomore Josh Rowe comes on as an outfielder and first baseman, while Sam Flint will see time in center.

Third baseman Jake Mau, center fielder and pitcher Tyler Goecker, catcher and pitcher Reid Kruse, catcher Brayden Wilson and shortstop and pitcher Lawson Woods are five of the six freshmen who are expected to see varsity time. The other freshman is Jack Marksberry, who will play first, third and do some pitching.

“Obviously, we’ve got a lot of youth, but they’re boys that played a lot of travel baseball,” VonDielingen said. “They’re very athletic, so I think they’ll acclimate to the game just fine.”

If you go

Hauser

March 31;Henryville (DH);11 a.m.

April 2;at Milan;5 p.m.

April 4;Edinburgh;5 p.m.

April 5;at Edinburgh;5 p.m.

April 7;at Trinity Lutheran (DH);11 a.m.

April 12;at North Decatur;5 p.m.

April 13;North Decatur;5 p.m.

April 14;Lawrenceburg (DH);11 a.m.

April 17;at Greensburg;5 p.m.

April 19;at Waldron;5 p.m.

April 20;Waldron;5 p.m.

April 26;Southwestern (Shelby);5 p.m.

April 27;at Southwestern (Shelby);5 p.m.

April 28;Jac-Cen-Del (DH);11 a.m.

April 30;at Shelbyville;5 p.m.

May 3;Indian Creek;5 p.m.

May 8;at Batesville;5:30 p.m.

May 10;South Decatur;5 p.m.

May 11;at South Decatur;5 p.m.

May 12;at Austin;11 a.m.

May 14;at Morristown;5 p.m.

May 15;Morristown;5 p.m.

May 18;at East Central;5 p.m.

May 21;Indianapolis Lutheran;5 p.m.

Columbus Christian

March 31;at Liberty Christian;11 a.m.

April 2;Indiana Deaf;5:30 p.m.

April 3;Suburban Christina;5 p.m.

April 12;Indianapolis Tindley;5:30 p.m.

April 14;Southwestern (DH);11 a.m.

April 16;at Hauser JV; 5 p.m.

April 21;Southwestern (DH);11 a.m.

April 23;at Crothersville;5 p.m.

April 24;Bethesda Christian;5:30 p.m.

April 26;South Decatur JV;5 p.m.

May 2;Traders Point Christian;5:30 p.m.

May 3;Suburban Christian;5:30 p.m.

May 5;at Madison Shawe (DH);10 a.m.

Author photo
Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.