Marion’s baseball team brings a lot of experience to the plate this season with a roster heavy with returning players.
“I’m very excited,” said coach Roger Schroeder, who is back for his second year. “We have a lot of guys who saw significant time (last season).
“We lost a catcher from last year who was an every-day guy, but other than that we have everybody coming back.”
Anchoring the squad is senior Cole Lewman, a first team all-league fielder in the Heart of America. Lewman led the team in almost every offensive category.
“He’s going to get a shot to really build on that year,” Schroeder said. “He’s going to have some opportunities, possibly, to go on and play at some smaller schools, so for him to have a good year is big. As he goes, we’re going to go.”
Senior David Helmer returns at first base, Schroeder said. Helmer will be fine on defense, but they’re looking to him to contribute more offensively.
Key to the offense will be Taylor?Heidebrecht at the top of the batting order.
“He’s probably going to be our lead-off guy,” Schroeder said. “He can play outfield, he can play first base, he might even pitch a little bit for us.”
Dylan Seacat returns at shortstop and Austin Pederson, whom Schroeder called a “fantastic centerfielder,” is also back for the Warriors.
Schroeder said the team isn’t confined to proven players, however.
“We’re looking for guys coming in who can provide a spark,” Schroeder said. “We have some freshmen, and some kids in that sophomore class who didn’t get a whole lot of time last year, who are a year older with a little experience under their belts.
“It’s going to be tough to make a lineup on opening day.”
The Warriors will bring back a strong foursome on the mound in Ethan Hett, Grif Case, Jacob Harper and Austin Pederson.
“Grif and Ethan led our team in innings last year—they were just an inning apart, and Austin and Jacob were right behind them,” Schroeder said. “We’re in good shape on the mound. Those guys are a year stronger, so they should be good.”
The Warriors are still young, with three juniors and sophomore (Case), so Schroeder said their future is looking bright.
Coming in as freshmen are Nathan Cyr as outfielder, Bret Voth as utility player and Jacob Baldwin as a combination outfielder, first baseman and pitcher.
They may not see action right away, Schroeder said, but he expects the trio will get playing time as the season progresses.
“I just want to build on what we did last year,” Schroeder said of his expectations this year. “We’re running more of a structured and disciplined program, as far as doing little things right on defense and on offense.”
The Warriors hope excelling in the details will give them the edge in a tough league with lots of players returning.
Sedgwick and Moundridge both bring back most of their players, Schroeder said, and Ell-Saline should be young but also talented.
“It should be a competitive league,” he said. “I know our first doubleheader with Moundridge is going to set the tone. That’s going to be a big deal. To get them early in the year—it’s going to be important for us to play well.”
Schroeder said he continues to see improvement in his team and a better understanding of what he expects.
“They’re starting to learn what needs to be done, and how it needs to be done,” he said. “If we can continue doing that, we’re going to be competitive.”
The Warriors were scheduled to travel to Herington March 27 to start their season, before returning for their home opener against Moundridge Friday.