Hillsboro’s Indian baseball team had a successful 2017 regular season before falling in the first game of the sectional tournament by Logan Elm.
The team returns five starters from last season that head coach Matt Garman will be expecting a lot from this season.
“We have five returning starters from last year. We are going to be solid defensively, we have guys returning and guys that can make plays. The guys that are coming up show a lot of promise defensively. The X-factor for us this year is going to be pitching. We lost our number one and number two pitchers from last year to graduation. The two guys that we have coming up that are going to assume those roles, a junior and a sophomore, we don’t have any senior starting pitchers. That is going to be a big question mark for us,” said Garman.
The Indians head coach expects the team to go out and be competitive on a daily basis while facing a daunting early season schedule.
“Overall we just want to go out and be competitive on a daily basis. We start out pretty rough on our schedule. It is an exciting schedule. We play Unioto, Waverly, Heath, New Richmond and Wilmington all early in the season. We just hope that we can start out and be competitive. We think that if we play the way we have been taught and the way we have been practicing the winning will take care of itself,” Garman said.
Garman expects the five seniors on the team to lead the way offensively for his team, their experience at the varsity level is something he thinks will benefit them this season.
“We are going to rely heavily on our seniors here, they have the experience and they have seen varsity pitching. Payton Bell led us in batting average last year and he is back. Mason Stanley led us in on base percentage last year and he is back. Kelton Anderson had a tremendous summer of Legion baseball and we hope he continues that success. Ethan Watson also comes back after a year of seeing varsity pitching. We hope that thoseseniors step up for us and shoulder a lot of that load and let some of our juniors that are new free swing it a little bit,” said the Indians coach.
Hillsboro’s coach enters his second season as the varsity head coach and expects the familiarity that the kids have with him to correlate to success on the diamond this spring.
“I think the beiggest thing with this being my second year is the familiarity the kids have with me. These seniors have had me as their coach since their freshman year. They know what the expectations are and they only get higher every year that I am here. From the kids standpoint it is good that we can put a little more on them now,” Garman said.
The Indians will play a foundation game against the Wilmington Hurricane on March 29 to benefit Little Hearts Big Smiles foundation. The foundation provides assistance for families of children with autism as well as other disabilities in the Clinton and Highland County areas.
“We played in a foundation game a couple of years ago to benefit an ALS foundation. We think it is a good opportunity for the kids to step away from the baseball side of things and get in some community service as well as raise money and awaremess for a good local charity,” said Garman.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.