Baseball Preview: Pioneer looks to reverse course on all those close games

 

Bob Sullivan takes over as the head coach of the Pioneer baseball team in what will be his second year with the program after serving as the pitching coach a year ago. Sullivan hopes to improve a team that went 8-20 last year and has some key players back from last year to help accomplish that.

The 2018 Pioneers had six sophomores and two freshman playing significant roles on varsity for a team that lost eight one-run games including six that were of the walk-off variety.

“With a year of experience the underclassmen got last season on varsity we are optimistic heading into the 2019 season the players will be better prepared to compete in those tight games,” says Sullivan.

The Pioneers headed to DodgerTown again this year for Spring Training practicing two to three times per day with four inter-squad scrimmages.

“We expect to learn a lot about our team that week,” Sullivan said prior to the trip.

“The goal this season is to challenge ourselves and be the best team we can be with a very competitive schedule including 11 games against six of the pre-season top 20 ranked teams.”

Top returning players include seniors Noah Kotre (captain, catcher) and Ben Stidham (captain, pitcher, first base). Stidham was All-Conference Honorable Mention last year. Also returning is junior shortstop Brendan Karsch.

Top new players include junior Dan Olson (P, INF) and sophomores Sean Knorr (P, 2B), Matt Grier (P, OF) and Donnie Thompson (P, 1B).

“We have some depth, good senior leadership and a good work ethic,” Sullivan said. “We need to get these guys experience as they move into starting roles.”

Pioneer opens the season with a doubleheader on Monday, April 1 at Westland John Glenn (4 p.m. first pitch). Their home opener is a DH on Thursday, April 4 against Chelsea (4 p.m.).

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