Add to that group a freshman with better-than-average skills and a senior with the athleticism required to anchor the shortstop position, and the Eagles might just have what it takes to return to the tournament.
Canton-Galva leads off with Bryant Baldwin, a speedy sophomore with an all-league resume. A capable baserunner, Baldwin scored 21 runs in 15 games during his freshman season—the highest any returning Eagle.
That speed will certainly be a boon in center field.
Logan Rierson, another all-league sophomore speedster, hit .389 last year and will help to fuel the Eagle offense at the top of the order.
At second base, Rierson forms one half of the Eagles’ middle infield, with senior Ted Regehr slated to step in at shortstop after a season away from the program.
Coach Rierson said Regehr’s athleticism will be an asset, as will his pitching ability.
“We have six guys who can pitch, probably three of whom will see around 30 inning apiece,” Rierson said, noting that the battery tandem is a potential weakness.
“But it all begins with hitting at this level. If we hit the ball, we’ll do just fine,” he added.
At the heart of what Rierson believes will be a heavy-hitting lineup is junior slugger Brett Middleton, who earned all-league honors for putting up 13 hits, including one of four CGHS home runs.
Middleton will play at first base.
Andrew Westbrook—a senior who banged out two doubles and two triples among 14 hits as a junior—earned all-league honors and will anchor left field for the Eagles.
Eric Larson will play third base and hit in the middle of the order. Larson, along with Regehr and Codey Johnson, will spend significant time on the mound.
“We’ve got to throw strikes and eliminate walks,” Rierson said.
Johnson posted a 2.33 earned run average last year—the team’s second-best mark behind graduated ace Travis Myers.
Canton-Galva was bounced out of the playoffs by eventual champion St. Mary’s-Colgan in 10 innings and will again have to contend with the likes of Moundridge and Inman in league play.
The Eagles were scheduled to open their season with a doubleheader at home against Little River on Tuesday, March 25. Their next games will be next Tuesday, April 1, when they entertain Inman at home.