The potential is there for another stellar season on the diamond for the Pratt High School baseball team. Losing just one player to graduation from a team that went undefeated in the regular season, the Greenbacks have a lot of talent and experience returning.
With many of the players logging additional innings together playing Junior Legion ball last summer, they should know one another pretty well even before the season starts.
Head coach Pat Stivers and assistants Bill Patterson and Ron Hill will not have many holes to plug as the scholastic season approaches. Returning are Skylar Dean, Easton Herring, Garret Smith, Brandon Ruckle, Will Fellhoelter, Mitchell Baird, Shane McEachern and Brett Forshee. In addition, Chase Hageman returns after sitting out last season with injury.
Youngsters Drake Evert and Dakota Venard will be added to the mix, both players emerging in Legion ball last summer. Chance Henke joins the team, having moved to town last summer and playing Legion as well. Southpaw hurler Jarod Gilmore is recuperating from an injury, and when he's ready to go, that will add to the Greenbacks' pitching depth.
Coach Stivers expects several pitchers to log innings this year, with Dean, Smith, Ruckle, Hageman and Forshee among those expected to toe the slab. "We will piece games together early," Stivers said, "getting some innings out of a number of guys."
Stivers expects hitting and senior leadership to be strengths of this year's squad. "If we can get our whole squad healthy," he said, "we should have a pretty good year."
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