By William / www.mcpherson-county-ks.com
LITTLE RIVER – For the Little River baseball team, returning five starters from a 2021 team that went 20-4 before losing in the state regionals bodes well for the 2022 season.
The Redskins will be directed by head coach Terry Renken who begins his 13th season and holds a career record of 168-108.
Little River will look to these five starters to help overcome the poor taste left by not only losing in the state regional semifinals, but losing to area rival Inman, the same team they will be opening the season against on Tuesday, March 29.
Seniors Ty Herzog and Kade Schafer will be asked to lead the 2022 Redskin team when they hit the competitive diamond as the pair returns to man the two corners of the infield with Herzog at third base and Schafer at first base.
Three juniors who had solid sophomore seasons will be back to as Braden Young returns as at shortstop, Grant Stephens will fill the center field position and Dalton Mantz continues to cover home plate at catcher while also be a solid utility player.
As for the pitching for 2022, all five returning starters will help with the rotation at pitcher.
Among the newcomers that coach Renken will be looking to fill positions, juniors Ryan Loder and Corbin Herbst appear to have the inside track to fill the outfield on either side of Stephens in center. Two sophomores, Treygan Birdsong who is expected to push for innings on the mound while supply fill in needs as a utility player and Carter Stansbury in the outfield as well as first base and pitcher, look to get some valuable playing time.
Coach Renken also has three talented freshmen joining the 2022 Redskins including Logan Renken and Spencer Strecker who both have strong skills pitching and playing the infield, along with Chandler Spearman who will battle for gametime innings in the outfield.
“We have some good returning players with lots of experience that will help lead our younger and inexperienced guys,” noted Coach Renken during his brief pre-season reflections. “The schedule is tough but should help us for regional play.”
After hosting Inman to open the season, the Redskins will also have a home date with Canton/Galva on Thursday, March 31.
(William is a free-lance writer covering McPherson County Activities – he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)