BY BEAU WICKER SPORTS EDITOR
---- — Logansport’s baseball team returns a veteran group with championship aspirations this spring.
The Berries have nine seniors on the roster including several starters back.
“That’s one of our strong suits this year is we have a lot of experience back,” Logan coach Jim Turner said.
Four of the seniors return with a good amount of varsity experience on the mound. Right-hander Kyle Jordan started both sectional games for the Berries a year ago — an 8-0 win over Harrison and a tough-luck 3-1 loss to semistate finalist Lafayette Jeff. Jordan posted a 2.24 ERA on the season.
Left-hander Clayton Frye (2.50 ERA) already has three years of varsity experience as one of the Berries’ top hurlers. He’s also a power hitter at the plate and hit .314 a year ago.
Right-handers Dustin Clements and Travis Palmer also saw time on the mound a year ago. Juniors Xavier Luna and Carter Jones are also in the mix.
“We’re six-deep pitching wise with decent arms,” Turner said. “I’m excited about having that many pitchers.
“I feel like we have the kind of pitchers that will be able to keep us in games. They have decent arm strength on the mound and they do have experience and they throw the ball over the plate for the most part.”
Chris Jones returns behind the plate after catching every game for the Berries a year ago. The All-Loganland selection had a .433 on-base percentage.
Jacob Shelton started the second half of the season at third base a year ago and will return there. Clements and Garrett Looker also play third. Jordan and Clements are the shortstops as they were a year ago. Cooper Kinnaman will be the starting second baseman. Sam Crain is also in the mix at second and short. Frye, Clements and Jones are the first basemen.
Palmer returns as the starting center fielder where he was an All-Loganland selection a year ago. When he’s on the mound starting outfielder Marcus Record will move over to center.
Brad Nies and Luna are in the mix for the other outfield spot, as is junior speedster Angelo Scagnoli.
The Berries have just 14 on the varsity roster but could start as many as nine seniors. The other five are juniors and Turner said some youngsters could be called up from the JV later in the season.
Team speed looks to be a strength as the Berries will be looking to manufacture runs throughout the year.
“We don’t have a lot of base stealers but we have guys you don’t have to pinch run for. They run well and they’re not easy outs. The hit ground balls and are able to take the extra base,” Turner said.
It’s a group that has played a lot of baseball over the years. The goals remain to win North Central Conference and sectional championships while also improving on last year’s 17-10 record.
“We play a tough schedule. We play Penn twice and play Jeff, Harrison and McCutcheon right off the bat. Kokomo is good again this year. We picked up Lebanon and Lebanon has a nice team. We play good teams,” Turner said.
The Berries open their season one week from today when they travel to Twin Lakes. They then compete in the Joe Heath Classic starting with a game at Lafayette Jeff the following Friday.