By Staff

            CANTON – In just his second season, Canton/Galva head baseball coach Seth Moddelmog looks to continue building the program up from the ashes with the goal being a state tournament bid.

            After two seasons where the Eagle baseball team either did not play due to the pandemic or were forced to stop playing after going 2-2 due to lack of players, Moddelmog took advantage of a co-op agreement with Elyria Christian to put together a team that finished 7-7 on the back half of the season and getting a win at sub-state after starting the season losing sis straight games.

            “You could tell the players had two years off from baseball at the beginning of the season,” noted Eagle head coach Seth Moddelmog. “There were definitely some growing pains and working on getting that consistency you need to win games. By the end of the season though, you could see that the culture that we expect started to show along with the work ethic needed to be consistent at this level.”

The Eagles will have to replace a pair key players as Xavier Westbrook and Ben Unruh have graduated.

For Moddelmog the field will not be empty though as he returns six of his top players as well as one who did not play due to injuries.

Among the returnees will be senior infielder Garrett Maltbie who scored a second-team All-State honor in 2022 after hitting .479 on 35 hits that included six doubles, three triples, 17 runs batted in to go with 17 stolen bases. Maltbie also proved effective on the mound, throwing 46.2 innings with a 2.55 ERA and a record of 5-2.

Ryder Norstrom also returns for his senior season after hitting .271 with 16 hits and 22 stolen bases while being a top utility player. Junior infielder Dylan Cherry is also back after hitting .314 on 22 hits last season while knocking in 14 runs.

A few of co-op players from Elyria Christian will be back with Ross Burrill, a junior infielder who hit .310 on 22 hits with 25 runs batted in while throwing 27.2 innings and recording a save and an ERA of 3.03 along with sophomores Andrew Huxman and Gavin Robertson. Huxman hit for .264 with 19 runs batted in and 17 stolen bases while Robertson batted .295.

Top of the ‘worth watching’ list for coach Moddelmog and his assistants, Taylor Myers and Bryant Baldwin, stands Braison Alcala, a senior for 2023 who the coaches realize is not exactly a newcomer but yet is due to having missed the entire 2022 season recovering from an injury. Moddelmog made a point of mentioning Alcala as being back with 100% health and wanting to be very productive.

Three others ‘worth watching’ will be seniors John Burrill and Ethan Unruh along with sophomore Noah Collins.

Regarding the outlook for the upcoming season, coach Moddelmog said, “Our strength will be the overall experience of our starters, how athletic the team seems to be and the amount of pitching depth we appear to have. We will focus a lot on consistency for 2023 as we struggled with that last year.”

The coaches stressed that Marion, Sedgwick, Remington, and Inman, plus newcomer Little River will give the games making up the Heart of America League bit of the schedule as ones the Eagles will have to show up for and be ready to go day in and day out.

 Concluding his pre-season reflections for the 2023 Eagles, Moddelmog finished by adding, “You can tell the entire team has a different energy going into this upcoming season. The goal is to continue to grow and build on that culture and hopefully at the end of the season, we can end up where we want to be.”

(The Staff covering events for the MAC AREA SPORTS NEW can be reached by email at crossdovewriter@gmail.com)