Offense key to CGHS baseball?s regional title defense
During the 2008 regular season, the Canton-Galva High School baseball team outscored its opposition 247-109.
During the post-season, the Eagles aced Ell-Saline and clobbered league foe Inman to reach the Class 2A state tournament. Moscow stopped Canton-Galva?s run in the first round of the state tournament,
Returning five of their top seven hitters will make the Eagles? offense potent?and offense is the name of the game in 2A baseball.
So if the trio of sophomores-turned-juniors at the top of the lineup have made strides in the off-season, Canton-Galva might prove to be an even tougher out this year.
The Eagles posted a 17-6 overall record and graduated three seniors: ace starting pitcher and shortstop Ted Regehr, all-league outfielder Andrew Westbrook, and Stephen Loemker.
But another year of experience for two pitchers will likely provide Canton-Galva with the only stimulus package it seeks from the hill?and if they throw strikes and eliminate walks, the defense behind them will prosper.
Innings-eater Cody Johnson, who posted a 2.33 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 63 innings last year, will no doubt find his place in the rotation?as will Taylor Myers, Eric Larson and Bret Williams, who totaled 31 innings between them.
Exactly how Regehr?s innings will be divided is not yet clear.
When not pitching, Johnson projects as starting shortstop in coach Joe Rierson?s lineup, and will bat second in the order.
Center fielder Bryant Baldwin will lead off with a .545 on-base percentage and the wheels to steal bases when called upon.
Second baseman Logan Rierson led the Eagles in batting average and on-base percentage as a sophomore, and will likely hit third in the order.
Only catcher Bret Williams brings a higher slugging percentage than Rierson into the new season. Williams is also tops among returners with three home runs in 69 at bats. He will hit fourth.
Williams, Rierson and Baldwin are juniors. Senior first baseman Brett Middleton drove in 29 runs last year and will hit fifth.
When pitching, Myers, a sophomore, will hit sixth. Myers notched 13 hits in 16 games as a freshman.
Seniors Wes Fickes and Dustin Abrahams are slotted seventh and eighth in the batting order. Fickes plays third base and Abrahams plays left field. Junior John Shearer plays right field and bats ninth.
The Eagles? regional title defense begins Friday at Ell-Saline.
CGHS softball will be young but with playing experience
Canton-Galva High School softball letter-winners and returning players this spring are: front (from left), Kali Tector, Kris Larson, Kimmy Voth, Kara Paramore; back row, Taryn Nelson, Kaitlyn Bressie, Sabrina Brown, Brianna Scott, Samantha Wilhelm.
Even with two seniors returning, the Canton-Galva softball squad will be a young team this year?in no small part because coach Barry Fritz has freshmen entering the program who have been competing for playing time since the word ?Go.?
Less fortunate for Fritz, the weather and tight scheduling has limited practice time and thereby also limited his ability to assess the newcomers? skills.
?We?ve had weather and spring break and other activities affect the amount of time we?ve been able to spend on the field,? Fritz said. ?The other day, we had three show up for practice.?
But as the season gets into swing and Fritz gets a feel for what treasures the roster may contain, the Eagles could be headed for a strong season.
Senior shortstop Kaitlyn Bressie is a prime candidate for the leadoff job, as she ranked second in hitting last year. Fellow senior Sabrina Brown appears set to return to right field?in part because she ranked third in batting.
But the prospect that has Fritz truly excited about the coming season is the opportunity that comes with having?for practically the first time in his career at Canton-Galva?a couple of ?real pitchers.?
Freshmen Alyson Bressie and Destiny Hett will give Fritz something more than multiple options on the mound.
?They?ve been pitching for a few years, playing summer ball and going to state tournaments and stuff,? he said. ?They are legitimate pitchers.
?I?ve had throwers but never had real pitchers who can throw a fastball and keep it around the plate, and throw a decent change-up.?
Most often, Fritz has called on players he ?tried to make into pitchers because we didn?t have any,? he said. ?We had one when I first got here, but she graduated that year, and since then, I?ve been putting one of the better athletes out on the mound because pitching is so important.?
But beyond the rarity of having two genuine pitchers on the mound is the fact that Alyson Bressie, younger sister of Kaitlyn, throws right-handed while Hett brings the heat southpaw-style.
When Hett takes the mound, she will aim for a familiar target?the glove of freshman catcher Brittany Leffler.
?Destiny and Brittany played on the same summer team,? Fritz said. ?But it is also good because having freshman pitchers with a freshman catcher means I?ll have them for four years.?
With Brown in one corner of the outfield, junior left fielder Kali Tector in the other and sophomore Kimmy Voth in center, the Eagles? outfield will be experienced and stable.
Fritz will have several postilion battles to resolve.
?I have some pretty good freshmen in the infield,? he said. ?They?ll be fighting it out with sophomores and juniors.?
Weather permitting, at least some of the ambiguities will have been sorted out on the practice field before Canton-Galva?s first game. The Eagles open Friday against Ell-Saline.
New coach brings new feel to Canton-Galva track team
Canton-Galva High School track letter-winners and returning athletes this spring are: (from left) Bo Moddelmog, Allie Enns, Marc Jowers, Brooke Berg.
With three seniors in his first year leading the Canton-Galva High School track-and-field program, coach Dave Smith has a team with several strengths.
Two of his most experienced athletes are hurdlers Allie Enns and junior Marc Jowers, both of whom also race distances up to 400 meters.
?Allie is our most experienced runner and should do well in the hurdles,? Smith said. ?I?m not going to put a goal on her yet, but I?ve got an idea in the back of my mind of what she can do. I think she does too.?
Enns will join the relays along With a group that includes sophomore Cayla Sommers and freshmen Melissa Boca, Darci Enns, Amber Harper and Victoria Rausch.
It may eventually include junior Brooke Berg, who is out of uniform following surgery, but may be able to participate later in the season.
Angel Little will throw the discus and shot put, and has earned Smith?s praise in the early going: ?Angel is a bona fide thrower as a freshman, and she?ll do a good job,? he said.
For the boys, senior Bo Moddlemog is ?in recovery mode.?
?He had his knee scoped but if he gets back, he should do real well in the shot, for sure, and do OK in the disc,? Smith said. ?But how his knee is going to respond is sort of an unknown.?
The injury leaves Jowers and senior Loren Kleinschmidt as the only healthy upperclassmen for the boys.
Smith said Jowers? strength is the hurdles, ?but he might find another event that he does equally well in, too.?
Loren Kleinschmidt is a sprinter and relays runner. Chris Klein?schmidt, a freshman, throws in addition to running with the relays.
Smith said freshman Justin Hiller will give the Eagles an entrant in the distance races, specializing in the 1,600 and 3,200, but also a possibility to run the 800 and jump into the 4×400 ?every now and then.?
Freshman Blake Slife might steal the show; he is set to run with the relays, but also hit the high jump, triple jump and long jump, as well as the throws.
?I told him he?s a natural decathlete in college, with the right body style and a lot of talent,? Smith said. ?He can jump, has some upper-body strength, and can run.?
As for a team goals, it may be too early to be specific.
?Our basic goals are to work hard to improve and see where we can get,? Smith said. ?I think we?ve got good attitudes, and I don?t think we need to put limits on what we can accomplish this year if we improve on a consistent basis.?