Senior leadership and young talent will be key to the success of the Pioneer baseball team this season.
Seniors John Creal (C), Eric Steinhauer (CF/P), and Justin Lee (P/1B) are captains and will be looked to for guidance on the field. Additionally, the team will lean on juniors Noah Kotre (IF/P) and Ben Stidham (LHP) for upper-classmen leadership.
Coach Mike Bess will need five underclassmen to step up on this squad, and with a gifted group, that shouldn’t be hard to do.
“The sophomore and freshmen classes are loaded with talent, so things look good for the future,” he says.
Bess is still deciding which youngsters to bring up and will use spring training in Florida to figure out who’s ready.
The Pioneers are heading down to the historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL, this week for an intense week of training.
“We will have three practices a day. Michigan does not allow you to play games in Florida, but we will have some intersquad scrimmages. It’s a great facility down there and a great experience.”
Coach Bess says that every year the team’s biggest goal is to play the way they are capable of playing.
“The only goal we talk about a lot is to play to our potential,” he says.
Of course, the team is also vying for both a conference championship and a district title.
Pioneer baseball kicks off on Tuesday, April 3, against Milan, followed by a doubleheader against Brighton on the 7th.
Throughout the season, the Pioneers will also travel to the west side of the state to play in a tournament in Hudsonville and to East Lansing for the second year of a U of M versus MSU-type series.
Locally, they are scheduled to play in a tournament at Farmington High School and will face off against defending state champs, Saline, on Monday, May 7.