Just like its volleyball, boys and girls basketball and softball teams have done this school year, Hauser baseball is making the jump from Class A to 2A.
Here is a look at the Jets, along with the other area baseball teams heading into the 2023 season.
The Jets are coming off a Mid-Hoosier Conference title. They went 15-13, including 11-1 in the MHC.
Hauser lost three standout players from that squad, but return several players with varsity experience.
“We’re looking good,” Hauser coach Nathan Long said. “I’m pleased with what I’m seeing. We have a mix of young and old, and it helps when you have good baseball kids. The guys are baseball kids, and when you have good, competitive baseball kids, there’s a chance for them.”
Junior Sam Louden and senior Owen McIntyre were the Jets’s No. 3 and 4 pitchers last season. Senior Zayne McCanlis and sophomores Simeon Wasil also have done some pitching and could see more innings this season.
Freshman Stryker Gill steps in at catcher. McIntyre and Wasil, who played center field last year and led the team with a .347 batting average, will be at first base.
McCanlis takes over at second, and freshman R.J. Foster steps in at short. McIntyre and Pittman will be at third.
Louden, who played some right field last season, moves to center. Freshman Kameron Blair and senior Nathan Worland will be in left and right and also could so some pitching.
Freshman RJ Foster could see action at second or short, and senior Hagen Wiedersatz could play in the outfield. Sophomores Nathan Linke and Carson Stuckey also could see varsity action.
“We’re going to try to put guys in the right positions to succeed,” Long said. “We’re going to try to contend for a conference championship this year. With us being in a new sectional, we’re going to see what we have there and build for the postseason.”
The start of the season for the Crusaders has been pushed back a couple weeks as they wait to have enough healthy players.
Junior Cam Watts-Pritchard and senior Jordan Burton were two of the top pitchers on a team that went 4-3 last season. Junior Branson Carr, a transfer from Columbus East, also will pitch.
Watts-Pritchard, who led the Crusaders with a .583 batting average, could catch or play shortstop when not pitching. Branson Carr and freshman Cannon Carr also could catch.
Burton likely will be at first when not pitching. Branson Carr could play first or third. Junior Brandon Rehlander returns in the outfield.
Sophomore Noah Rose could play first or outfield, and seventh-grader Andrew Lucas could play second or third base. The top two players off the basketball team — junior Peyton Walden and senior Noah Edwards — are playing high school baseball for the first time.
“I have a pretty decent list of kids, but I just haven’t seen very many of them,” Columbus Christian coach Todd Hostetler said. “Some kids look like they have a lot of promise. Some kids are seventh-graders who are going to try to get better.”
The Panthers hit the ground running this week, with all six players from their sectional and regional champion basketball team starting baseball practice just two days after they were knocked out in the semistate.
“They jumped right into it on Monday,” Jennings coach B.J. Sigler said. “All six of them are probably varsity starters, so it’s going to be a quick turnaround for them, but throughout basketball season, when we had limited contact sessions and they were able, they came and worked out with us, so they aren’t starting totally from scratch.”
Senior Keegan Manowitz (2-1, 2.85 ERA) and Lane Zohrlaut and juniors Austin Byford and Cole Sigler — all basketball players — return with pitching experience from last year’s 18-11 squad. Senior Ashton Cohee also could see some innings this season.
“Keegan pitched some big games last year, and he’ll lead us very similar to how he did the basketball team,” B.J. Sigler said.
Junior Sam Burkman and Zohrlaut (.288, 14 RBIs), who has committed to IUPUC, will do the catching. Zohrlaut and junior Ryan Schuck will be at first.
Sophomore Logan Napier takes over at second, and Manowitz (.306, 25 RBIs) returns at short. Byford (.366, 18 RBIs) is back at third.
Cole Sigler (.348, 18 RBIs) returns in center and also can play second, short or third when Manowitz and Byford are pitching. Junior Owen Kipper and sophomore Cole Skinner take over in left and right. Burkman also could play left or right.
“Winning breeds winning,” B.J. Sigler said. “When you have kids that compete as hard as what our guys do, they’re never really out of a game. We play in a really tough sectional, just like our basketball team does. We’re probably going to start a little slow until our basketball guys come around, but we hope to be playing our best at the end of the season.”
The Lancers have a new coach in Jason Schoettmer, a Columbus North graduate, and current principal at East Side Elementary in Edinburgh. He has coached some of these players in parks and recreation league baseball, including with last year’s middle school-age team.
“I’ve known most of these kids since they were second-grade or younger,” Schoettmer said.
Only four players return from a team that went 6-16 last season, and only one of those is a senior. Senior Jarrett Turner will pitch, along with sophomore newcomer Jared Myers and junior Gabe Bennett, who is coming off ACL injury from a football injury and could be ready in two-to-three weeks.
Turner (.313, 11 RBIs) and Myers will do the catching. Sophomore Milas Burkman will start the season at short until Bennett is healthy, then likely will move to first. Sophomore Jaden Detling moves from right field to second, and senior newcomer Isaiah Steinke will be at third.
Freshman Eli Turner takes over in left. Sophomores Cole White and Austin Brockman could play center, and freshman Brayden Schoettmer or sophomore newcomer Caleb Murphy will be in right.
“We are very young, and not a lot of varsity experience,” Jason Schoettmer said. “We’re going to have to try people out different places because we haven’t seen these people in game-type situations yet.”
Anthony Jarvis, who has been as assistant coach for the Cougars the past five years, takes over a team that finished 18-7 last season after starting 16-2.
“That’s our motto this year — finish the job — and we’re confident,” Jarvis said. “Our (Mid-Hoosier) conference is tough. We have great talent. Expectations are very high this year. I think we’re better than we were last year. It’s just a matter of putting things together at this point.”
Senior Avery Seegers, who has committed to IUPUC, did it all last year, leading the Cougars on the mound (2-2, 0.84 ERA) and at the plate (.485, two HR, 20 RBIs). Junior Devin Pate (5-5, 0.99; .360, 21 RBIs) and senior Dale Peters (1-0, 1.56; .411, 13 RBIs) also were solid two-way players.
Seegers catches when he isn’t pitching. Freshman J.P. Scudder steps in at first and also will do some pitching. Seniors Cameron Henderson and Brady Lane will be at second and short, with junior newcomer Brock Lane taking over at third.
Peters will be in center when he isn’t pitching. Junior newcomer Janson McDonald and senior Austin Boilanger will be in left and right.
“We have great numbers,” Jarvis said. “We’ll actually be able to have a JV team this year, so that’s huge for us.”
The Eagles will look for a few more wins this season with most of the regulars returning from a 1-15 team. They have 25 players, but no seniors.
“We’re a year older, a year stronger,” Brown County coach Justice Guerrero said. “It’s just another year of everybody together. We hit the weight room in the offseason, and you can tell our arms got a lot stronger.”
Junior Brady Bond and Mikey Kobiernik and sophomore Noah Lewis are the top pitchers. Junior Sawyer Gore returns at catcher.
Lewis and Bond could play first base when not pitching. Bond played every position but second, and junior Gavin Butcher played every position but first last year.
Junior Jack Sichting returns at second could do some pitching. Sophomore Jade Woolems could play short and pitch. Kobiernik returns at third.
Several players, most of them young, are vying for spots in the outfield.
“We have a lot of guys that can play multiple spots,” Guerrero said. “It’s a problem to have, but it’s a great problem. It’s just who’s hitting the best. I have three guys at every spot right now, and they all know that they have to show up.”
The Cougars return all but one starter from a team that went 9-18 last season.
Senior Nathan Voelker and juniors Kowan Gross, Chase Bode and Peyton Pollert were the top pitchers. Freshmen Jackson Trueblood and Drake Goodpaster also could see innings on the mound this spring.
Sophomore Nathan Finke returns at catcher. Gross and Bode could play at first, and junior Levi Pottschmidt is back at second. Voelker returns at short, and Trueblood could play there when Voekler is pitching. Senior Luke Coomler is back at third, where Goodpaster also could see action.
Senior Sage Broughton will be in left, and Pollert returns in center. Senior Andrew Bell, who played several positions last year, takes over in right. Seniors Levi Froedge and Cole Brewer also could see action in the outfield
“We have a lot of experience back,” Trinity coach Ben Kleber said. “We’re trying to work on the mental side with them. They’re pretty hard on themselves, so we’re working on that. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can put together.”
The 2023 Hauser baseball schedule:
April 1;at Bishop Chatard;1 p.m.
April 3;at Southwestern (Hanover);5:30 p.m.
April 6;Edinburgh;5 p.m.
April 7;at Edinburgh;5 p.m.
April 8;South Ripley;11 a.m.
April 13;North Decatur;5 p.m.
April 14;at North Decatur;5 p.m.
April 15;Brownstown Central/Lawrenceburg;10 a.m.
April 18;Greensburg;5 p.m.
April 20;Waldron;5 p.m.
April 21;at Waldron;5 p.m.
April 25;Rising Sun;6 p.m.
April 26;Southwestern (Shelby);5 p.m.
April 27;at Southwestern (Shelby);5 p.m.
April 29;at Jac-Cen-Del;11 a.m.
May 6;at Jennings County;11 a.m.
May 9;Batesville;5:30 p.m.
May 11;at South Decatur;5 p.m.
May 12;South Decatur;5 p.m.
May 13;at Charlestown Tournament;9 a.m.
May 15;Morristown;5 p.m.
May 16;at Morristown;5 p.m.
May 20;North Daviess;2 p.m.
May 22;at Indianapolis Lutheran;5 p.m.
May 23;at Eastern Hancock;5:30 p.m.