With first-year coach Kelly Nelson at the helm, a young Canton-Galva baseball team will look to improve on last year’s 1-21 season.
Nelson said overcoming a history of losing may prove challenging, but he has already seen positive strides.
“The juniors have shown good leadership, and the boys are buying in to what we are coaching,” he said. “Their attitudes have been positive despite losing as many games as they did last year.”
Expected to contribute this season are sophomores Tanner Klingensmith (catcher), Nick Bray (first), Ryan Grant (second) and Connor Farnham (shortstop) and juniors Jacob Struber (third), Jacob Dailey (outfield) and Kaden Littrell (outfield).
Also key will be freshmen Ethan Loyd, Caleb Sovde and Chris Miller, all expected to contribute in the outfield.
Nelson expects Miller to see time at catcher, Dailey at first and third, and Loyd and Sovde to contribute as middle infielders, depending on who is pitching.
The Eagles have depth on the mound, Nelson said, with Klingensmith, Bray, Grant, Farnham, Struber and Dailey handling those responsibilities.
“While we don’t have a real great senior pitcher to come out and win every time he pitches, we do have a lot of quality arms that I will not be afraid to use in any situation, and we will rely on that depth as the year goes on,” Nelson said.
One of the challenges the Eagles may face, in addition to a young squad, is depth.
“We only have a roster of 12 boys, so we have to make sure we don’t have anyone ineligible and have to hope we don’t get anyone injured,” Nelson said.
Looking ahead to league competition, Nelson is not projecting a potential placement.
“I’m just trying to get the boys to focus on our own play and not the other team,” he said. “We want to improve every day, learn to compete, handle adversity and learn how to win.”
The Eagles are scheduled to open their season with a home doubleheader against Ell-Saline Thursday.