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April 3, 2014

Lewis Cass baseball reloads for 2014 season

Caston, Pioneer to field youthful squads; Winamac has a new coach

Lewis Cass’ baseball team is reloading for 2014.

The Kings have several starters back from last year’s team that went 18-7.

Among the losses to graduation are pitcher Connor Adams — who threw well in a 3-0 loss to defending state champion Northfield in sectional play last season — and last year’s Loganland Player of the Year, Austin Clem, and the 2012 Loganland Player of the Year, Zach McCoy.

But the Kings return a good amount of talent starting on the mound, where left-hander Josh Rankert earned all-area honors by going 5-1 with a 0.78 ERA a year ago and returns for his junior season.

Senior John Hartley (3.68 ERA) and juniors Jake Wilburn (2.43 ERA) and Dakota Hammond (2.10 ERA) also return on the hill. Jake Miller is another option.

“We’ve got five or six guys that we can easily go to on the mound and seem to be versatile enough to move guys around and not lose a beat,” Cass coach Greg Marschand said.

Another returning all-area player is senior outfielder R.J. Phillips, who hit .358 a year ago.

Noah Byers returns with a good amount of experience behind the plate. Ty Stover looks to be the starting first baseman, and Brandon Carden will play third and catch. Wilburn, Miller and Ryan Bixler are middle infielders. Miller can also play in the outfield and Kyle Dwiggins is another option in the outfield.

“We’ve got a lot of guys back and we’re excited about the upcoming season and ready to go,” Marschand said. “As with everything else, you’re only as good as your pitching and defense and hopefully that’s two of our strong points.”

Western, which has moved up to Class 4A due to the IHSAA’s success factor, again looks to be one of the top teams in the Mid-Indiana Conference and Marschand said the other schools are looking to field improved squads.

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