Prep Baseball

Missouri prep baseball preview capsules

Posted: Mar. 9, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Mar. 10, 2019 10:10 am

Canton

Coach: Clint Smith (106-27 at Canton, seventh season)

2018 record: 12-9

Returning starters: P/UT Carson Birck, Jr.; P/INF Brody Smith, Sr.; C Mason Wright, Sr.; OF Ethan Wingerter, Sr.

Other returners: None listed.

New faces: INF/P Trevor Logsdon, Soph.; INF Mason Fryer, Jr.; OF Sam Arnold, Soph.; UT Kegan Birck, Soph.; OF Trever Durst, Sr.

Key losses: INF/P Lance Logsdon; UT/P Koy Smith; INF/P Drake Serbin; UT Trey Metz.

Outlook: The Tigers fell one victory short of a third straight trip to the Class 2 state tournament. The work will be cut out for them to try and make a third trip in four seasons.

All-state pitcher Lance Logsdon has graduated and is playing at Quincy University, and key players like Koy Smith and Serbin also graduated.

That leaves pitching duties to Birck and Brody Smith. Birck threw 412/3 innings, going 4-2 with a 1.34 ERA last season. Smith threw just 62/3 frames last spring.

Offensively, Canton will have to make up for the loss of Logsdon and Koy Smith. Logsdon hit .492 with four homers and 27 RBIs, while Smith hit .242 with four homers and 24 RBIs.

Brody Smith returns as the team's leading hitter with a .328 batting average, one homer and 19 RBIs. Birck also drove in 16 runs.

"We have a lot of positions to fill without a lot of experience coming back," Smith said. "Our success this year will depend on how our younger guys step into roles and how many innings they can log."

Clark County

Coach: Jerry Jerome (43-51 at Clark County, sixth season)

2018 record: 10-13 (3-4 in Clarence Cannon Conference)

Returning starters: C Grant Plenge, Sr.; OF Caleb Lapsley, Jr.; P Vince Billings, Jr.; 1B Tanner Elam, Jr.; P Logan Gutting, Jr.

Other returners: None listed.

New faces: OF Henry Smith, Sr.; 2B Kegan Davis, Jr.; 1B Nick Davis, Soph.; C Aaron Day, Soph.; OF Brandon Kracht, Jr.

Key losses: P/1B Chandler Bevans; OF Zeb Riney; SS Evan Cameron; 3B Cole Kirchner.

Outlook: The Indians are coming off a record season after winning the program's first district championship. The plan is to continue that momentum this spring.

Though Clark County loses its main pieces that helped win a district title, there's still several starters back that supported the way. Lapsley returns after hitting .408 last season and swiping a team-high 22 bases, while Plenge hit .367 and stole 18 bags.

Billings, Elam and Gutting will be the top pitchers, and Billings has the most experience after going 4-6 with a 5.10 ERA in 45 innings last season.

Jerome hopes that pitching can lead the way.

"Hopefully pitching and defense will be our strengths," Jerome said. "It will be tough to replace all of our seniors."

Hannibal

Coach: Ian Hatton (16-7 at Hannibal, second season)

2018 record: 16-7 (8-4 in North Central Missouri Conference)

Returning starters: SS Gabe Worthington, Sr.; 3B Will Whitaker, Sr.; C Chase Kirby, Sr.; 2B Gary Culp, Jr.

Other returners: P Adam Baxter, Sr.

New faces: 2B/OF Drake Dudley, Soph.; 1B/P Mason Tharp, Jr.; OF Trevor Wade, Sr.; OF/DH Alec Mundle, Sr.; P/C Caleb Young, Soph.

Key losses: CF/P Wyatt Waelder; P/1B Colton Brown; LF Lucas Brown.

Outlook: The Pirates are coming off its best season in program history, and the hope is there's a strong foundation to have an even better year this spring.

That means capturing a district championship after falling in the semifinals to Troy last season.

Hannibal returns four starters, led by Worthington who hit .412 with a homer and 26 RBIs. Whittaker hit .397 and belted three homers with 22 RBIs, while Kirby also drove in 22 runs.

Where Hannibal is hurt the most by graduations is pitching, where Waelder went 6-1 with a 2.51 ERA in 39 innings, and Brown was 5-3 with a 3.84 ERA in 342/3 innings. Baxter has the most experience for the Pirates on the bump after going 3-2 with a 4.86 ERA in 312/3 innings last season.

If the pitching can be figured out, the Pirates could be NCMC and district contenders.

"We are going to be inexperienced on the mound in regards to varsity-level experience," Hatton said. "However, underclassmen are prepared to take on roles as part of a talented pitching staff."

Highland

Coach: Jeff Oenning (10-26 at Highland, third season)

2018 record: 15-6 (7-0 in CCC)

Returning starters: OF Tucker Olson, Sr.; 3B/C Hunter Florea, Sr.; OF Colton Bliven, Sr.

Other returners: None listed.

New faces: 2B/SS/P Noah Parrish, Sr.; 1B/3B/C Elijah Mead, Jr.; 1B/3B/DH Bryan Smith, Sr.; SS/P Braedyn Hetzler, Soph.; OF/DH Steven Chillion, Sr.

Key losses: SS/P Tommy Harvey; 1B/C/P Chad Smith; C Derek Howes; 2B Cole Schutte.

Outlook: The Cougars shocked many on the way to going unbeaten in CCC play and capturing the school's first-ever league title. What they do for an encore will be key.

Highland lost several players that made that run possible, including top pitchers Smith and Harvey. The duo combined to go 9-4 and log more than 73 innings and 112 strikeouts. At the plate, Smith hit a team-high .469 with two homers and 27 RBIs, while Harvey hit .465 with six homers and 33 RBIs.

Replacing those will be the challenge for Oenning, who is in his third season after taking a couple years off. Olson is Highland's returning leading hitter after a .305 campaign and driving in 14 runs. Florea is the only other everyday starter back, and he hit .270 with 15 RBIs.

"The Cougars are hoping to defend their conference championship and win a district championship," Oenning said. "But we will be relying on the development of several sophomores and freshmen to provide depth to a team that lost six hitters that hit over .300."

Knox County

Coach: Michael O'Haver (47-73 at Knox County, eighth season)

2018 record: 5-10 (0-2 Lewis and Clark Conference)

Returning starters: Zane Hubble; Trent Klocke.

Other returners: None listed.

New faces: None listed.

Key losses: None listed.

Outlook: The Eagles struggled and weather only allowed them to get two conference games played before districts started. There, Knox County lost in the opening round to Schuyler County.

The Eagles are ready to put that season behind them.

To do that, O'Haver will look upon Hubble and Klocke to provide leadership and experience to a young team.

That means there will be growing pains for the Eagles this spring.

"We will be building a lot and getting a lot of experience this year," O'Haver said. "We are a very young team."

Louisiana

Coach: Ryan Griffin (71-140 at Louisiana, 11th season)

2018 record: 2-18 (2-5 in CCC)

Returning starters: OF/C/P Cody Love, Jr.; 2B Tyler Pederson, Jr.; INF/OF Damien Burse, Jr.; P/INF/OF Remi Feldewerth, Jr.; C/P Jordan Luck, Soph.

Other returners: None listed.

New faces: OF Lane Presson, Soph.; OF Kellen Dewey, Jr.; INF/OF/P Will Sheppard, Fr.; 1B/P Ryan Capps, Fr.; INF Tyler Hopkins, Sr.

Key losses: OF Zac Ellsworth.

Outlook: The Bulldogs will be playing in their first season in the Eastern Missouri Conference, and hope to find success there. That will depend on the group of juniors Louisiana has, as most of them have been playing since their freshman year.

Love returns as the top hitter after hitting .306 with eight RBIs, and Feldewerth hit .255. No other Bulldog hit better than .200 last season.

Those two will be the top arms, too. Feldewerth logged 301/3 innings and went 1-4 with a 3.69 ERA. Love went 0-1 with a 9.28 ERA in 141/3 innings.

"We will rely very heavily on our juniors that have been playing a good amount of varsity innings," Griffin said. "We do not have a deep bench, and will rely heavily on about 10 or 11 players to get the job done."

Marion County

Coach: Henry Whetstone (first season at Marion County)

2018 record: 0-5

Returning starters: P/INF Sheldon Whetstone, Sr.; INF Morgen Oles, Soph.; INF/OF Hunter Bates, Soph.; OF Matthew Wellman, Sr.; INF Nathan Wellman, Soph.; P/OF Matthew Gerding, Soph.; OF Landen Holt, Soph.

Other returners: None listed.

New faces: OF Isaiah Powers, Soph.; P/INF Cooper Stotts, Fr.; P/OF Spencer Whetstone, Fr.

Key losses: P/OF Ty Bowdish.

Outlook: Weather and injuries hampered the Mustangs, who played just five games all of last season. Marion County hopes there will be better luck this season.

The Mustangs lose Bowdish and his leadership, but return several starters, and a lot of them saw time as freshmen.

Sheldon Whetstone hit .700 with four homers and 12 RBIs as the Mustangs' top hitter. Oles is the only other to hit better than .200 last spring.

That means there will be growing pains this spring for Marion County, but Whetstone hopes it plays off down the road once the players have more experience.

"This is a young team," Whetstone said. "Which makes it a rebuilding year and we hope to be fundamental."

Mark Twain

Coach: Karl Asbury (3-16 at Mark Twain, second season)

2018 record: 3-16 (1-9 in Eastern Missouri Conference)

Returning starters: 1B Casey Williams, Sr.; 3B Evan Johnson, Sr.; CF Caleb Peters, Jr.

Other returners: None listed.

New faces: SS Jackson Jung, Fr.; C/IF/OF Chase Haner, Fr.

Key losses: None listed.

Outlook: The Tigers return three starters from last season's club, which makes for a young team this season. That has Asbury looking for improvements as the season progresses.

Williams returns after hitting .286 and driving in 14 runs, while Peters hit a homer and drove in five runs last season.

Both players will be Mark Twain's top pitchers after combining for more than 33 innings last season.

"We will be young," Asbury said. "We will look to improve each week and getting stronger as the season goes along."

Monroe City

Coach: Derek Vanlandingham (7-23 at Monroe City, third season)

2018 record: 3-12 (1-6 CCC)

Returning starters: C/P/OF Lance Williams, Sr.; OF/IF/P Gatlin Bichsel, Sr.; OF/P Konnor Bridgewater, Jr.; INF Jon Saxbury, Sr.

Other returners: None listed.

New faces: INF/P Ian Tarvin, Sr.; INF/P Bo Patterson, Fr.; OF Zach Osborn, Sr.

Key losses: None listed.

Outlook: For Monroe City to be successful, it will need the seniors to be productive. The Panthers have three returning in Williams, Bichsel and Saxbury, along with some newcomers in Tarvin and Osborn.

William hit .250 with six RBIs last season, while Bichsel and Saxbury combined for eight RBIs. There will need to be more offensive production for Monroe City to compete.

Williams, Bichsel, Bridgewater, Tarvin and Patterson will carry the pitching duties, while Osborn will use his speed to be a threat in the outfield.

"We must limit the mental mistakes on the diamond," Vanlandingham said. "We must make the routine plays and put the ball in play to make the defense work."

North Shelby

Coach: Scott Gaines (71-89 at North Shelby, 13th season)

2018 record: 10-7

Returning starters: P/SS/C Mason Uhlmeyer, Sr.; 1B/3B Kirby Latimer, Sr.; CF Dayton Mettes, Jr.; C/OF Si Presson, Soph.

Other returners: None listed.

New faces: OF Rowdy Vanskike, Jr.; INF/P Robert Uhlmeyer, Fr.; 3B/P Kyle Smith, Fr.; OF/P Cale Stoneburner, Fr.; INF/P LAndon Bender, Fr.

Key losses: P/1B/3B Chas Shockley; C/3B Caleb Miller; SS/3B Adam Shively; LF Kyle Drebenstedt.

Outlook: Losing five starters from a team that made a district title game appearance is tough to overcome. However, Gaines is confident the experience he has coming back is up to the challenge.

The leaders of those returning are Uhlmeyer, Latimer and Mettes, who will be at the top of the batting order for the Raiders. Latimer hit .488 with 12 RBIs, while Uhlmeyer hit .358 with a homer and six RBIs. Mettes hit two homers and drove in 12 runs.

Uhlmeyer will also be the ace for the young pitching staff. He went 4-1 with a 0.80 ERA in 35 innings with 47 strikeouts and just 10 walks.

"Our batting lineup, despite its youth, should be as deep as it has ever been since I have been at North Shelby," Gaines said. "In order for us to be successful, we nee our young players to contribute in all facets of the game."

Palmyra

Coach: Mark Loman (253-99 at Palmyra, 17th season)

2018 record: 15-7 (second in CCC)

Returning starters: IF Nolan Wosman, Sr.; IF Peyton Abbott, Sr.; C Brady Barnett, Sr.; IF Caden Power, Sr.; IF Corder Lehenbauer, Jr.

Other returners: None listed.

New faces: OF Cooper Hinkle, Jr.; P Garrett Stone, Jr.; IF Dakota Compton, Jr.; OF Kaden Malone, Jr.; OF Mason Scholl, Jr.

Key losses: 1B Gabe Goodwin; P Peyton Plunkett; IF Noah Mencer; OF Drew Begley; P Hayden Hoerr; P Jacob Kroeger.

Outlook: The Panthers return a deep and talented lineup that should compete for a CCC and district championship once again.

Wosman, a University of Arkansas signee, is back after hitting .479 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs. Abbott hit .318 and 12 RBIs and Lehenbauer hit .310 with 14 RBIs for the Panthers last season.

Power also drove in 20 runs in a high-powered Palmyra offense.

The pitching, however, took a hit with graduations of Plunkett and Hoerr, who combined for six victories and 78 strikeouts. It took an even bigger hit when left-hander Kroeger suffered a knee injury during football season.

If Palmyra can get the pitching figured out, the Panthers will be ready for another run.

"We will need to have solid pitching and defense in order to have a successful season and to have a shot at a district championship," Loman said.

Scotland County

Coach: Rod Sears (10-6 at Scotland County, second season)

2018 record: 10-6 (4-0 in Lewis and Clark Conference)

Returning starters: SS Will Fromm, Sr.; 3B Branton Burrus, Jr.; C Parker Triplett, Jr.; 1B Jacob McDaniel, Sr.; C Anthony Whitaker, Sr.; INF Brady Curry, Soph.; RF Kaden Anders, Soph.

Other returners: None listed.

New faces: OF Carson Harrison, Soph.; OF Hunter Frederick, Sr.

Key losses: SS Gage Dodge; C Lane Pence.

Outlook: The Tigers lost two starters in Dodge and Pence, but Sears believes the heart of the team will be Fromm this spring.

Fromm was the team's top pitcher a year ago, going 4-0 with a 0.65 ERA in 32 innings. He also hit .346 with a team-high five homers and 20 RBIs.

Scotland County has six other starters returning, highlighted by Burrus, who hit .327 and drove in 17 runs.

"We are not as deep in years past, but we do have talent," Sears said. "For us to be successful, we will need those returners to play to the capacity I know they have."

South Shelby

Coach: Brian Fohey (fourth season at South Shelby)

2018 record: 2-15 (0-7 in CCC)

Returning starters: LF/P Parker Pfannenstiel, Sr.; SS/P C.J. Glover, Sr.; 2B Heath Besowshek, Sr.; C Daniel Burke, Jr.; 3B Luke Woutzke, Jr.

Other returners: None listed.

New faces: OF/P Levi Blevins, Fr.; INF/P Keaton Pantaleo, Fr.; OF/P Wyatt Owens, Fr.; OF/P Garrett Blaise, Fr.; OF David Fenton, Soph.

Key losses: P/1B Luke Farrell

Outlook: The Cardinals will rely on the three seniors in Pfannenstiel, Glover and Besowshek to bring success to a team that struggled last season.

Pfannenstiel and Glover will be the top two pitchers for South Shelby, while Burke will pitch when he isn't catching.

The Cardinals will benefit from a number of incoming freshmen that have pitching abilities and will be scattered around the field.

"Our goal is to be competitive in every game we play, and continue to build," Fohey said. "A .500 record would be a great season and a great improvement over the last few years."