After graduating eight seniors last year, the Lynchburg-Clay High School baseball team is overall pretty young – but still hoping to continue their success from the past, said coach Vince Pitzer.
“The talent is there to compete in the league,” he said. “This year, we’re going to be young… all those kids are going to need to get their feet wet in a hurry. We’re really looking to contend for the league this year. We’ve held down the top spot and tied the league the past few years, and we’re hoping to stay with that.”
On the returning senior roster, Pitzer is looking to Bricen Hess as returning pitcher to lead a young pitching staff. Meanwhile, Forrest Elam will anchor first base and do some work in the outfield.
Junior Blake Croy and sophomore Drew Pitzer also return to the diamond this season. Croy will play utility, and Drew Pitzer alternate pitching and center field.
Sophomore Josh Wolfe is a key newcomer this year, replacing Lynchburg graduate Kendall Vilvens, an All-League Champion of several years who left an empty slot behind home plate. Pitzer said he also expects sophomores Ethan McConnaughey and Caden Hess to step in and contribute.
Freshman Alex Barber is looking good, Pitzer said, and will serve as a middle-fielder.
Currently, Pitzer said, the boys are looking good in practice, although they haven’t had much time outside in the diamond.
“We’re looking to grow as a team,” he said. ‘They all know each other and have played with each other. Coming to the varsity level, that experience and getting in there the first couple games and getting their feet wet is what it’s all about… Our weaknesses would be just having all the new kids coming into the varsity level. Overall, team speed isn’t going to be there yet.”
But, Pitzer said, the boys are working hard – especially the pitching staff.
“I have three pitchers who are seeing serious duties, and I’ve got another three or four I’m working with to get them up to speed,” he said. “We’ve got some good pitchers who will keep some ballgames. Overall, heading through the lineup, as they come into it, that’ll be a big plus for us… We’re just trying to get the pitchers’ arm strength built up. With all the games we have – three, four, five a week – we need to make sure we don’t have sore arms.
“On the offensive side, I think once all the JV guys come around, they’ll be just fine when they get a taste of the varsity pitching.”
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.